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Taliban Completes Withdraw From Key Pakistan District

Officials in northwest Pakistan say all of the Taliban fighters who infiltrated a district 100 kilometers from the capital have returned to their stronghold in Swat Valley.

A local administrator, Syed Mohammed Javed, said all the Taliban militants had left Buner district by Saturday, and that government troops were deployed in the area.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told VOA Friday that the Swat Taliban fighters decided to abandon Buner because they worried that staying could jeopardize a recent peace deal imposing Islamic law - Sharia - in parts of the region.

U.S. officials have sharply criticized the deal as a capitulation to extremists.

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, held a meeting Friday to discuss a military operation in Buner and Swat. In a statement, he said the army "will not allow the militants to dictate terms to the government or impose their way of life on the civil society of Pakistan."

The peace deal between the government and hard-line cleric Sufi Mohammed calls for militants to lay down their weapons. That has not happened yet.

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