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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistani Taliban disallow army convey to enter Swat valley: spokesman

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 26, IRNA -- Pakistani Taliban militants Saturday did not allow a convoy of security forces to enter their stronghold Swat valley, fearing that they may launch fresh offensive, the Taliban spokesman said.

A convoy of seven army trucks was stopped by armed Taliban at Qamabr, a small town from Mingora, the main city in Swat valley, witnesses and Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said.

Khan told reporters that deployment of troops in Swat is against a deal signed in February to introduce Islamic laws in Swat and others areas in the northwest.

Taliban and the security forces had declared ceasefire after the agreement, but Taliban militants are still occupying more areas in Swat, according to locals.

There was no official reaction to the Taliban action to stop the army convoy from entering Swat.

Sources say that the local authorities are in consultations with the Taliban leaders to convince them to allow the convoy.

Taliban Spokesman Muslim Khan said that the militants can not allow the troops to be deployed after the peace agreement. But official sources said that the agreement had allowed free movement of the forces.

The Taliban action may worsen the situation as the army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said in a tough statement the army is determined to root out the menace of terrorism and would not allow the militants to dictate terms to the government or impose their way of life.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said yesterday that the government can revisit the peace deal with the Taliban if they did not stop interference in the government affairs.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik has also warned that Taliban have to vacate all villages in Swat.

But locals said that Taliban now control over 80 per cent areas in Swat and are patrolling on all main roads. They say Taliban have also set their own courts despite the agreement that allow Islamic courts or Qazi courts to function in Swat.

Witnesses said that convoy of army withdrew returned from Qambar after Taliban forced them to go back, avoiding any clash.

A group of around 100 Taliban, who had entered Buner district, some 100 kilometers from capital Islamabad, withdrew yesterday in the wake of possible action from the forces.

There is no report of Taliban withdrawal from another area called Shangla, only 10 kilometers away from Karakoram highway, which connects Pakistan with China.

In Buner, Taliban had closed down all regular courts and asked the judges to leave. They had also stopped NGOs to stop work and leave.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and U.S chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen expressed concern over the growing Taliban threat and had asked Pakistan to take action against Taliban.

End News / IRNA / News Code 453675

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