US envoy to Pak visited Mingora last week

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Mingora (Swat, Pakistan), Sep.15 (ANI): U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson, visited Mingora, the biggest town in Swat, last week, becoming the first senior American official to visit the region since the army took over.

The visit assumes significance in view of the fact that the Pakistan Army is being accused of extra-judicial killings and running much of the Swat region with an iron hand.

The army has acknowledged that bodies have turned up, but its spokesmen assert that the killings are the result of civilians settling scores.

"There are no extra-judicial killings in our system," said ISPR spokesman Major General Athtar Abbas.

"If something happens, we have a foolproof accountability system," the New York Times quoted him, as saying.

Pakistan's military operations against the Taliban in Swat, begun in May under public pressure from the United States, has been hailed by Washington as a showcase effort of the army's newfound resolve to defeat the militants.

Now, concerns over the army's methods in the area threaten to further taint Washington's association with the military, cooperation that has been questioned in Congress and has been politically unpopular in Pakistan.

The number of killings suggests that the military is seeking to silence any enthusiasm for the Taliban and to settle accounts for heavy army casualties, said a senior provincial official who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprimand by the army. (ANI)

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