Pakistani Military Developments/feb-june 09

Pintu

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LF Sir, I don't think PA has any intention to fight Taliban off, what I think that this operation (if any operation going on) is only an effort get donor money from The USA, as Pak PM about to visit The USA, in coming days, in my opinion it is a 'show business' at the expense of the unarmed civilians of the country.

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Vinod2070

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Pakistan's army: as inept as it is corrupt!

Pakistan's army: as inept as it is corrupt

The answer to why Pakistan's mighty army seems impotent against Taliban insurgents is that it is more mafia than military

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No institution dominates Pakistan like its army. The armed forces account for 20% of Pakistan's national budget, totalling $5bn last year according to official statistics. But the actual figure, already staggering for a country with high levels of illiteracy and malnutrition, is likely to be much higher. The army has been practically unaccountable since the very foundation of the country – last year's figures were the first it has publicly released since 1965.


Those aren't the only imposing figures. It has some 650,000 active soldiers and another half million in reserve, and internal discipline – strict loyalty to the high command among the rank and file – is very high.


Every one of Pakistan's democratically-elected civilian leaders has been forced to abdicate by the army. A general has directly ruled the country for 34 of its 62 years of existence.
With this vice-like grip on power, many are wondering how a rural insurgency armed with basic weapons has managed to overrun so much of the country. The answers have much to do with the Pakistan army itself.


Part of the problem is that the army is equipped for a conventional war against its historical adversary to the east, India, and not the type of insurgency being waged by the Taliban on the frontier to the west. Its operations in the tribal areas have been imprecise, leading to the destruction of many thousands of civilian lives and livelihood. Up to a million are believed to have been displaced by the conflict.


"Collateral damage always strengthens the Taliban, it helps them get more public support," says Abdul Hakim (not his real name), a journalist from Dir, a tribal agency, next to the Swat valley, in which the Taliban are slowly moving.


But there have been only limited, poorly-coordinated attempts to re-engage with communities devastated by armed operations against the Taliban. As a result the Army and government authorities have sheepishly ended up signing peace deals with the Taliban over the past four years. They have all consistently broken down, the Taliban using the lull in hostilities to regroup and rearm.


The most recent peace deal, over the Swat valley, is on the verge of collapse owing to continued Taliban operations in neighbouring areas.


There are lingering doubts about the Army's resolve to combat the Taliban too, as has been suggested when it initially sent up a lightly armed squad of paramilitaries to fight the Taliban in the Buner valley, just below Swat, even though the region is close to the nation's capital.


Another factor is the fact that many of the army's soldiers involved in operations are Pashtun like the Taliban. This has left the high command nervous about tackling the insurgents head-on for fear of causing rifts within the ranks. Although far from a mutiny, many soldiers have refused to fight their fellow tribesman or have surrendered and deserted.


But that has not prevented the army from engaging in operations that have been highly destabilising for tribal Pashtun communities in the affected areas. People fleeing the conflict in Swat and Bajaur, a tribal agency to the west on the border with Afghanistna, told me they felt that the army was, in fact, targeting them and not the Taliban. Some argued this was because the army feared Taliban reprisals. Others insisted they were being targeted because of their support for the Pashtun nationalist Awami National party, which runs the North West Frontier province government.


The truth of rumours such as these, common in Pakistan, are difficult to quantify. But one need not look to rumours to understand why the Pakistan army has failed to defeat the Taliban.

The army has a long history of strategic incompetence stretching back to the very first war the country fought with India in 1948. On that occasion, tribal militants from the regions now in open insurrection against Pakistan flooded into Indian-controlled Kashmir. After overwhelming Indian soldiers there, they promptly went on a binge of rape and looting while the army looked on.

Again at war with India, in 1965, the better-equipped Pakistan army lost more ground, and tanks, than its adversary. But perhaps the army's darkest moment was the 1971 war that lead to the creation of Bangladesh. That conflict saw Pakistan troops involved in widespread acts of extermination against the indigenous Bengali population of what was, at the time, known as East Pakistan.


The Hamoodur Rahman Commission held in Pakistan following that war found large swathes of the high command to be deeply negligent – the commander of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, the report revealed, was involved in sexual misconduct even as his troops were killing, and being killed, on the battlefield.


In 1999, an ambitious Pakistani general by the name of Pervez Musharraf devised the tactically brilliant, but strategically near-suicidal, plan to invade Kargil, an Indian mountain post in Kashmir. That gamble nearly led to nuclear war, and almost certainly led to a military coup later that year.


How does one explain these failures? There can be no one explanation. But if there is an overriding message from these debacles, it is that the army is ill-equipped to defend the state because it has captured much of the bedrock of the state to which it is totally unaccountable.

According to Ayesha Siddiqua, in her seminal study, "Military Inc", the army's private business assets are worth around £10bn and it owns a handsome share of the country's business and land. The generals, as a result, appear to be more interested in leveraging control over businesses, properties and politics.


Yet, the army's power is such that although Pakistan's private media have a commendable record of criticising the country's civilian politicians, criticism of the men in uniform is rare – save during periods of crisis under direct military rule, like the dismissal of the chief justice in 2007.
It would be unfair, however, to criticise the army without acknowledging the pivotal role played by its greatest patrons – the United States, and, to a lesser extent, China. Since the 1950s, both countries have lavished military and political support on the Pakistan army.


"Nobody has occupied the White House who is friendlier to Pakistan than me," is what US President Richard Nixon told Pakistan's then military dictator, Yahya Khan, at a 1970 dinner in Washington, on the eve of the murderous war in East Pakistan. More recently, former President George Bush's praise for Pervez Musharraf has become the stuff of folklore.

The army has been rewarded by its foreign patrons despite its incompetence and unaccountability. In the process, civilian political life has been grotesquely stunted, leading the democratic process to be replaced by a crude kleptocracy where non-military leaders represent personal dynasties and not the people.

Is it any wonder, then, that the army struggles to find a concerted strategy for defeating the Taliban?
Pakistan's army: as inept as it is corrupt | Mustafa Qadri | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
 

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Well, it may be a bit alarmist. Pakistani army may have shown gross incompetence at times but it is still a good fighting force, especially against India.

It may still fail the nation, by being obsessed with India. Also it has a long history of strategic overreach and costly miscalculations.

The current one may be it's last!
 

Vinod2070

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Book shines light on Pakistan military's '£10bn empire'

· Business interests range from cement to cornflakes
· Little transparency into officer-led conglomerates



  • Declan Walsh in Islamabad
  • The Guardian, Thursday 31 May 2007
  • Article history
The Pakistani military's private business empire could be worth as much as £10bn, according to a ground-breaking study. Retired and serving officers run secretive industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything from cement to cornflakes, and own 12m acres [4.8m hectares] of public land, says Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy.
The book tackles a previously taboo subject - the range and depth of the military's business interests - considered a major factor in the ambitions of the generals who have ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 60-year history. "It feeds directly into the military's political power; it's an expression of their personal and organisation strength," said Ms Siddiqa, a former director of research at the Pakistan navy.


Five giant conglomerates, known as "welfare foundations", run thousands of businesses, ranging from street corner petrol pumps to sprawling industrial plants. The main street of any Pakistani town bears testament to their economic power, with military-owned bakeries, banks, insurance companies and universities, usually fronted by civilian employees. Ms Siddiqa estimates that the military controls one-third of all heavy manufacturing and up to 7% of private assets.

Profits are supposed to be pumped back into schools, hospitals and other welfare facilities - the military claims it has 9 million beneficiaries - but there is little transparency. "There is little evidence that pensioners are benefiting from these welfare facilities," she said.


Of the 96 businesses run by the four largest foundations, only nine file public accounts. The generals spurn demands by parliament to account for public monies they spend.


The military's penetration into society has accelerated under President Pervez Musharraf, who has also parachuted 1,200 officers into key positions in public organisations such as universities and training colleges.



The military boasts that it can run such organisations better than incompetent and corrupt civilians.
In a 2004 speech to open a new industry owned by the Fauji ("Soldier") Foundation, General Musharraf boasted of "exceptional" military-owned banks, cement and fertiliser plants. "Why is anyone jealous if the retired military officers or the civilians with them are doing a good job contributing to the economy?" he said.

But Ms Siddiqa says the military businesses thrive, thanks to invisible state subsidies in the form of free land, the use of military assets, and loans to bail them out when they run into trouble. "There are gross inefficiencies and the military is mired in crony capitalism. The primary purpose of a trained military is war fighting. They are not designed for the corporate sector."

Her £10bn estimate of military wealth is a "rough figure", she says, split between £6bn in land and private military assets.


"Military Inc." comes at a sensitive time for Gen Musharraf, who is struggling to rebuild his popularity after the botched dismissal of the chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, in March. The move sparked nationwide demonstrations that have snowballed into a powerful protest movement. The furore has offered an insight into the raw power wielded by the generals. This week, Justice Chaudhry told the supreme court how military intelligence chiefs spent hours trying to pressure him to quit on March 9, before placing him under effective house arrest.
Ms Siddiqa fears her book, which names names and pours cold water on boastful claims, may step on some powerful toes. "Over the past three years a lot of my friends have advised me not to publish this book. They think I have suicidal tendencies."


But Talat Hussain, a retired general and political analyst, said Ms Siddiqa was a "courageous" researcher. "This area has always been considered a sacred cow in our society," he said.

The book will be launched in Islamabad today. The main military spokesman, Major General Waheed Arshad, said he had not yet obtained a copy. "Let me read it and then I'll get back to you," he said.

Backstory
The 650,000-strong military has been at the heart of power since Pakistan was carved from northern India in 1947. Generals seized power in 1958 and have ruled intermittently since. The main intelligence service, the ISI, has consistently meddled in politics. Three-quarters of all army recruits come from Punjab, reflecting a similar imbalance in the country's power structures. The army's reputation for professionalism stretches back to colonial days, but has been eroded by business-related corruption allegations and three wars with India, including the loss of its eastern half, with the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
Book shines light on Pakistan military's '£10bn empire' | World news | The Guardian
 

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"
Another factor is the fact that many of the army's soldiers involved in operations are Pashtun like the Taliban. This has left the high command nervous about tackling the insurgents head-on for fear of causing rifts within the ranks. Although far from a mutiny, many soldiers have refused to fight their fellow tribesman or have surrendered and deserted."
I dont understand why they dont send the Punjabis to fight there? They are not great friends of the Pashtuns are they?

It may still fail the nation, by being obsessed with India. Also it has a long history of strategic overreach and costly miscalculations.
They will fail not because they are obsessed with India, but because they are not obsessed with the extremists who want to take over the country.
 

Vinod2070

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"

I dont understand why they dont send the Punjabis to fight there? They are not great friends of the Pashtuns are they?
I guess they fear that it would make it a Punjabi Vs. Pushtun affair. I don't think that is necessarily wrong either.

Also I don't think the units sent to fight the Taliban are exclusively Pushtun. Their officers would be mostly Punjabi too.

They will fail not because they are obsessed with India, but because they are not obsessed with the extremists who want to take over the country.
I think the latter follows from the former.
 

Pintu

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A great article Vinodji, regards and kudos for it , the time came for the world to see the face of the Pakistan Army .

However , there are two very vital points in the article author was wrong in mentioning :

1. It was the princely state force of Jammu and Kashmir that was overwhelmed by the invaders, not Indian soldiers, as Jammu and Kashmir was an Independent Princely state on that time 22 -28 Oct. 1947.

2. Pakistan was curved out of not only Northern India but also Eastern India in 1947. Eastern Part liberated and named as Bangladesh.

Regards
 

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I think the latter follows from the former.
Its a grave mistake on their part to overlook the extremists on their land and be obsessed with the ones across the border.
I wonder if its their some kind of (misplaced) thinking that if they dont take action against the extremists and keep playing the India card, then the US will try to broker some kind of a solution on Kashmir. So far US has refused.
 

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A great article Vinodji, regards and kudos for it , the time came for the world to see the face of the Pakistan Army .

However , there are two very vital points in the article author was wrong in mentioning :

1. It was the princely state force of Jammu and Kashmir that was overwhelmed by the invaders, not Indian soldiers, as Jammu and Kashmir was an Independent Princely state on that time 22 -28 Oct. 1947.

2. Pakistan was curved out of not only Northern India but also Eastern India in 1947. Eastern Part liberated and named as Bangladesh.

Regards
You are totally right on both counts. There is a tendency among many Pakistanis to find all kinds of excuses for that debacle including that the original Lahore declaration of 1940 wanted them to be two separate countries anyway!
 

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I dont understand why they dont send the Punjabis to fight there? They are not great friends of the Pashtuns are they?
I think it's because the Pakjabis have a deferential regard for the Pathans. They consider them to be some sort of rugged wild west warriors of Islam, maybe due to the fact that most Islamic invaders into the Punjab have historically been from Afghanistan. A Pakistani once told me that what was wrong with the Indian army was that it recruited from all strata of society, leading to a deterioration of its fighting character. On the other hand, he said, Pathans formed the backbone of the PA. Our Pathans are like your Sikhs, he said, me being quite unsure of what exactly he meant.
 

Vinod2070

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Its a grave mistake on their part to overlook the extremists on their land and be obsessed with the ones across the border.
I wonder if its their some kind of (misplaced) thinking that if they dont take action against the extremists and keep playing the India card, then the US will try to broker some kind of a solution on Kashmir. So far US has refused.
That and the habit of negotiating with a gun on their head.

They think the world will not let them fail and always save it from themselves. That's why the desire to push the envelope so to speak, take one more action more stupid than the last one, going to the brink and then saying "save us or else..."!

I think there is one brinkmanship too many this time. It just had to happen one day.
 

Vinod2070

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I think it's because the Pakjabis have a deferential regard for the Pathans. They consider them to be some sort of rugged wild west warriors of Islam, maybe due to the fact that most Islamic invaders into the Punjab have historically been from Afghanistan. A Pakistani once told me that what was wrong with the Indian army was that it recruited from all strata of society, leading to a deterioration of its fighting character. On the other hand, he said, Pathans formed the backbone of the PA. Our Pathans are like your Sikhs, he said, me being quite unsure of what exactly he meant.
I think they loath each other. The Punjabis only want to use them in a war with India but otherwise think of them as no better than chowkidars! Look at all the Pathan jokes.

The Pushtuns have nothing but contempt for the Punjabis. They consider them inferior "Hindustanis".

But you are right, the Pathan does make for a good warrior.
 

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The Pathans may not may not loath the Pakjabis, I dunno, the Pakistani I was talking too was a Pakjabi, from Lahore no less. I haven't heard any Pathan jokes, but there are also Gurkha and Sardarji jokes in India, but no one loathes those communities here.

Although most Iranians and Afghans I have met online think Pakistan is an artificial state and Pakistani muslims are somehow inferior to them.
 

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Although most Iranians and Afghans I have met online think Pakistan is an artificial state and Pakistani muslims are somehow inferior to them.
hence the need to name their missiles in Arabic, or after some great Muslim leader. To show all that they too are equal to the Arabs and Afghans.

But honestly, i dunno how the Arabs and Afghans think they are superior than others. Arabs got rich on oil, but have no innovation. Take away the natural resources, ie the oil, and they are screwed worse than a gypsy whore.

As for the Afghans, just look at Afghanistan. Its worse than a trash heap. millions of them still live in Pakistan as refugees, and they still think they are better thank the Pakistanis. Pathetic.
 

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I think it's to do with some sort of purity. The Arabs think of Pakistani Muslims as dark, impure, converted subcontinental Muslims. Since they're from the land of Mohammad, they consider themselves to be the most superior. The Iranians consider themselves to be the inheritors of an ancient and great civilization, and consider Pakistan to be an artificial state which broke off from the Indian civilization. Likewise, the Afghans have a clear national identity, and every tribe there has some warrior or another as their hero, whether it be Mahmud of Gazni or Ghori, or Ahmed Shah Durrani, Abdali etc. The ancestors of the Pakistanis are the people who were repeatedly pillaged, raped and forcibly converted to Islam by the Afghans. So Afghans think they're naturally superior.

I need to stress though, that these are views I've heard on Afghan and Iranian forums. Not necessarily representative of Afghanis and Iranians as a whole. Maybe only representative of their internet populations.
 

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3 soldiers dead, 5 hurt as Taliban attack army convoy

4 May 2009, 1755 hrs IST, AFP


PESHAWAR: A peace deal in Pakistan appeared close to unravelling Monday as deadly fighting raged between soldiers and militants in the northwest, sparking Taliban threats of fierce resistance.

Tensions are soaring between the government, which is under US pressure to extend an offensive to crush militants, and Taliban hardliners, who rejected a new Islamic appeals court created in a bid to pacify their brutal uprising.

Analysts said the shaky three-month-old deal — establishing sharia courts in a northwest region home to three million in the hope that the Taliban would stop fighting and disarm — was now hanging by a thread.

Three soldiers died and five were wounded in fighting in northwest Pakistan Monday, including an officer killed when militants ambushed an army convoy in the former ski resort of Swat, the army said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

"We vow to carry out similar attacks in future if security forces try to enter Swat," spokesman Muslim Khan said.

"We will give a fitting reply to security forces if Sufi Mohammad decides to revoke the deal with the government," he added, referring to the cleric who negotiated a peace deal between the two sides in February.

The military said it killed seven militants, including a man they identified as "an important militant commander" named Afsar Hameed, in its latest offensive in Swat's neighbouring district of Buner.

The government's decision to sign the February pact, ratified by President Asif Ali Zardari last month, was heavily criticised at home and abroad, with opponents arguing it would merely embolden the Taliban.

For 10 days, military helicopter gunships and ground troops have fought hundreds of armed Taliban who thrust further south and east into the districts of Lower Dir and Buner where the deal also theoretically holds sway.

The army claims to have killed scores of militants in the two districts, although their tolls are impossible to verify. Thousands of civilians are believed to have fled the army bombardment.

On Sunday, the authorities slapped a curfew on Swat's main town Mingora for the first time since the agreement in an edict defied by armed Taliban who openly patrolled the streets.

On the same day, local authorities found two beheaded soldiers in Swat's Taliban bastion Khwaza Khela.

"Once again fear is gripping the entire town," a Mingora resident said, describing militants pacing the streets with guns. "Do not give my name because the Taliban will find me and kill me."

Pakistan's army confirmed armed militants marching in Mingora, which they said was a "gross violation" but said security forces were "exercising restraint to honour the peace agreement".

But a provincial cabinet minister from Swat threatened the Taliban with further military offensives after they rejected the Islamic appeals court announced by the government late Saturday.

"We will try to resolve issues through negotiation, but if they refuse to abide by the peace agreement, the government will have no option but launch an operation against them," said forestry minister Wajid Ali Khan.

Ameer Izzat Khan, spokesman for Sufi Mohammad, said peace depended on whether sharia law was implemented correctly — which critics have argued is too subjective.

"The peace agreement is almost finished now, because the military operation has been launched and the Taliban have also renewed their attacks," northwest affairs expert Rahimullah Yousafzai said.

Zardari, who is hoping to secure a massive US aid package, will discuss the deteriorating situation with President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

Obama has called Zardari's government "very fragile" and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Pakistan of "basically abdicating" to the Taliban in the northwest, which they have branded the biggest terror threat to the West.

According to the New York Times, the US government is increasingly worried about the vulnerability of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and is less willing to accept blanket assurances from Islamabad that the weapons are safe.


3 soldiers dead, 5 hurt as Taliban attack army convoy - Pakistan - World - The Times of India
 

Vinod2070

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I think it's to do with some sort of purity. The Arabs think of Pakistani Muslims as dark, impure, converted subcontinental Muslims. Since they're from the land of Mohammad, they consider themselves to be the most superior. The Iranians consider themselves to be the inheritors of an ancient and great civilization, and consider Pakistan to be an artificial state which broke off from the Indian civilization. Likewise, the Afghans have a clear national identity, and every tribe there has some warrior or another as their hero, whether it be Mahmud of Gazni or Ghori, or Ahmed Shah Durrani, Abdali etc. The ancestors of the Pakistanis are the people who were repeatedly pillaged, raped and forcibly converted to Islam by the Afghans. So Afghans think they're naturally superior.

I need to stress though, that these are views I've heard on Afghan and Iranian forums. Not necessarily representative of Afghanis and Iranians as a whole. Maybe only representative of their internet populations.
You are mostly right. Racism is not a monopoly of any culture, almost all of us are guilty of that.

However, these guys claim to represent an egalitarian religion and still are some of the worst racists around! The same goes for Pakistanis.
 

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7 including 6 security men killed in Khyber checkpoint attack

Updated at: 1045 PST, Tuesday, May 05, 2009



PESHAWAR: Seven people including six security personnel killed in a suicide attack in Khyber Agency on Tuesday.

According to police sources, six security personnel were killed in an attack on Bara Qadeem checkpoint.

Police sources said a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a vehicle carrying security officials. Ten people including FC personnel and some schoolchildren were also wounded. The injured were shifted to different hospitals in Peshawar where some of them reported in a critical condition. The blast severely damaged the nearby houses.


7 including 6 security men killed in Khyber checkpoint attack

x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x


Seven killed, 48 injured in Bara suicide car blast


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


PESHAWAR: At least seven persons were killed and another 48 injured on Tuesday when a suicide bomber rammed his car into Bara Qadeem checkpost in Sarband police station precincts. The dead include two schoolchildren and a Frontier Corps (FC) personnel.

The Bara Qadeem checkpost is situated on Peshawar-Bara Road, around 12 kilometres west of Peshawar Cantonment, close to Khyber Agency. manzoor ali shah


Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
 

Rage

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Militants besiege 46 security men in Mingora

Tuesday, 05 May, 2009 | 04:54 AM PST |


Militants takes control of Mingora after attacking the
headquarters of security forces and the police station.—AP



MINGORA: The Taliban took control of the city of Mingora on Monday and reportedly laid siege to a place which housed 46 security personnel.

‘This is a clear violation of the Swat peace agreement,’ an official who did not want to be identified said. He said militants were patrolling the streets and holding positions at key points and on important buildings.

According to sources, militants attacked the headquarters of security forces located in the circuit house and a police station in Mingora, but attacks were repulsed.

The local administration imposed a curfew for an indefinite period after the attacks. Earlier, the curfew was in force from 7pm to 6am.Clashes between security forces and militants were reported from Shamozai, Matta and Bahrain.

However, no casualty was reported till late night. Police have confined their activities to police stations.

A group of armed Taliban stormed the Rahimabad police station in Mingora on Monday night and blew it up. Local people said policemen had vacated the station just before the attack.

Security forces have also established checkposts and started searching vehicles in the area. Shops and markets in the main Mingora bazaar remained closed for the second day because of fear and tension.

According to a handout issued by the NWFP information department, the Taliban continued their activities despite the peace accord they had signed with the government.

Over the past 16 days, five people were killed and 21 kidnapped by the militants. Three incidents of blasts and several cases of car-snatching, looting and firing, erecting road blockades and armed patrolling by militants had been reported from different parts of the district, the handout said.

Militants blew up a government high school for boys in Tindodag area of Swat on Monday. It was the second government school blown up after the February 16 peace accord. On Sunday, a government high school for boys had been blown up in Nengolai.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the attack on a convoy in Swat on Monday in which one soldier was killed and three others suffered injuries.

He said the attack was a reaction to what he called movement of military forces to positions in violation of the February 16 peace deal. He said the Taliban would carry out such attacks if security forces continued their activities in the valley.


DAWN.COM | Provinces | Militants besiege 46 security men in Mingora
 

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