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Pakistan Taliban Says It Will Stop Fighting in Swat Valley


The Taliban says it will stop attacking security forces in the main city of Pakistan's northwestern Swat Valley.

Taliban Spokesman Muslim Khan says militants will stop their resistance in Swat's main town of Mingora out of concern for the safety of civilians and their property.

Khan did not describe the fighting as a cease-fire. He says the Taliban will not create any obstacles for civilians wishing to return to the area.

Pakistan's army said Monday that it has captured several key sites around Mingora including Maalam Jabba, a nearby ski resort which militants converted into a training center.

A military statement says at least four suspected militants were killed and several arrested during operations over the past 24 hours.

Military Spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said that it may take up to seven days to clear militants from the town.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency says 2.38 million people have been displaced by the fighting. The U.N. has appealed for more than $543 million in aid.

The army launched the offensive earlier this month after militants violated a peace deal and advanced within 100 kilometers of the capital, Islamabad.

The Pakistani army says about 1,100 militants and at least 63 soldiers have been killed in the offensive.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.

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