Pakistani Military Takes Strategic Hilltop Overlooking Swat

The Pakistani military has announced that it has taken the strategic hilltop of Biny Baba Ziarat that overlooks the Swat Valley. Some 150 Taliban were said to be killed in the hard fighting, in which they put up strong resistance even though the Pakistani military deployed helicopter gunships and much heavier firepower than the Taliban could muster.

Perhaps stung by charges that it has exaggerated its conquests in Swat and nearby areas, the Pakistani military invited Aljazeera English to film the now-subdued hilltop.

In Biny Baba Ziarat and elsewhere on Friday, the Pakistani military claimed to have killed 17 militants, while suffering 10 injuries among its security forces.

The US military says it has seen signs of Afghan guerrillas heading for Pakistan, likely to join up with Mawlana Fazlullah and the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan and fight the Pakistani army.

Meanwhile, in Taliban fighters are said to have withdrawn from 75% of Lower Dir near Swat as a result of an agreement reached with a local tribal council.

Tom Engelhardt’s essay on the six ways the US war in AfPak is being expanded is not to be missed. See other recent essays at Tomdispatch, always essential reading.

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