NAWAIWAQT GROUP
 
 
 
Civilians caught in Swat fighting
 
 
 
MINGORA - Amidst continuing operation by the security forces against the alleged militants, as many as 26 persons , mostly civilians and 10 Taliban, were killed and 27 others received injuries while some 32 houses were damaged on Thursday in different parts of Kabal and Matta Tehsils of Swat.

The security forces used gunship helicopters besides tanks in the operation.

In the locality of Kabal, a mortar shell hit a house of Misalur-Rahman where seven persons of a family were killed. The deceased were identified as Faseehulasan, Mohammad Tahir, Zainul Abideen, Mst Khalida, Abbas Khan and two sons of Abbas Khan. In another locality of Kabal Tehsil some 4 citizens were killed due to gunship helicopter firing. The four deceased were identified as Salih Rahman, his two children and a female of the same house.

Similarly in area of Shah Dehrai some 6 persons including 2 children were killed during the operation, whereas two children Sanaullah and Abdul Karim died in Shahangoti area who were injured on Wednesday.

The forces' shell hit a house of a school teacher in Matta wounding Ahmad Saeed teacher and his wife.  Meanwhile, in the Shahangoti area of Tehsil Matta an unknown person killed a citizen, who was identified as Ali Rahman son of Gul Rahman from Mardan area. His dead body was recovered from an orchard.

The security forces have so far hit some 32 houses in village Deulay, New Colony, of Kabal Tehsil, and Bara Pamakhela, Sarbanda, Peochar areas of Matta. The injured were being treated locally because of the curfew in the area.

The sources said that 10 Taliban were amongst the killed in Matta area. The local Taliban set on fire another 3 girls schools in village Kishwara of Malamjabba, and thus so far some 65 schools have been razed or destroyed all over Swat. In Qandeel area of Maidan the Taliban fired at security post resulting in injuries to security personnel. The security forces  arrested a suspected Taliban in the area and shifted him somewhere for investigation.

The Taliban blew up Kharery bridge which connects Matta with nearby villages. The Taliban also attacked the Matta police station, however the security forces resisted the attack.

AFP adds: Officials said Thursday that troops were vacating a key fort in South Waziristan, identified by the United States as a haven for militants.

The British-era fort in South Waziristan is being turned into a hospital for local tribesmen and some 300 troops have begun leaving, said Major General Mohammad Alam Khattak, head of the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

The fort in the town of Ladha is in an area dominated by Baitullah Mehsud, top Taliban commander and the man accused by the last government of masterminding the slaying of former premier Benazir Bhutto. Khattak denied that pressure from the militants was behind the decision to vacate the fort, where more than a dozen troops were killed in a series of militant offensives in January.

"The decision has been taken to provide health facilities to local tribesmen," Khattak told reporters in Peshawar.

"The fort had no strategic value for us. It was located in a depression surrounded by populated area," he said, adding that the troops would be moving to Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.

He said the fort, built in 1932, had faced at least 18 major attacks in recent years.

"There have been heroic battles around the fort and our troops defended the fort with bravery and courage," he said.

 
 
 
 
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