Accessibility links

Pakistani Army Continues Offensive in Restive Swat Valley; Residents Evacuate

The Pakistani army is continuing its offensive against pro-Taliban militants in the restive northern Swat Valley region, as residents evacuate the area ahead of a major operation.

An army spokesman says at least 15 militants were killed Tuesday in the latest clashes near the Shangla district.

Meanwhile, residents in some areas of Swat are leaving their homes, ahead of a major military operation against militants. The army has asked people to evacuate so there will be no civilian casualties.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry says so far more than 130 pro-Taliban militants have died in Swat Valley in the last week, with military helicopters and artillery pounding insurgents.

Unrest erupted in the Swat Valley last month when pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah declared a holy war against the government, spreading his message through a pirate FM radio station.

Since the unrest began, fighters loyal to Fazlullah have seized control of several towns and police stations in northern Pakistan without much resistance from the army.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf justified imposing emergency rule to curb rising extremism in the country.

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