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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2701

21 killed in militants-police clashes as Taliban enter Buner district in northwest Pakistan

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

Buner, 08 April, (Asiantribune.com): As many as 12 people including three police officials, two lashkar (militia) men and sixteen militants were killed in overnight clash between Taliban and Qaumi Lashkar (a tribal force) in Buner district in northwest Pakistan, police and residents said on Tuesday.

The fierce fighting erupted on Monday night when the local tribal force (Qaumi Lashkar) and local police force made efforts to enter Gokand valley via Rajagaly Kandow from Pir Baba area side to flush out Taliban militants who had sneaked in to the district on Saturday from neighbouring Swat.

According to sources Taliban militants had dispatched sixteen bodies and shifted thirteen wounded colleagues to Swat via Kalil Kandow area early Tuesday morning after the shootout.

There are also reports that Taliban took possession of the bodies of two Lashkar men and three police constables.

Malakand commissioner Mohammad Javed Khan, Taliban commander Mehmood Khan, TNSM vice chief Maulana Mohammad Alam, district chief Maulana Salar and others visited Dara Gokand on Tuesday and held several rounds of talks with the Taliban commander Rizwan Bacha of Puechar Swat.

The dialogue continued till Tuesday evening after which Taliban commander allowed the handover of bodies of the Qaumi Lashkar men and police personnel to a third party.

The bodies of the police personnel were dispatched to their hometowns after funeral prayers at Police Line Buner.

Earlier Taliban after entering Buner District from Swat valley seized control of a mountain top and established their headquarters there in Buner district. They want to hold “peace march” in the district and to monitor the affairs in accordance with the Nizam-i –Adl Regulation.

The Taliban have claimed to have consolidated their position in whole of Dara Gokand, advanced to Kalabat in Batai Dara and near occupying Bagra post, a few kilometers from Pir Baba Bazaar and now eyeing Sultanwas area.

Earlier the local elders asked the militants to leave but the later refused and took positions in the Gokand valley. The local jirga elders and district administration officials held several rounds of talks with the Taliban through a reconciliatory committee which included leaders of Tehrik Nefaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) in a bid to convince Taliban to leave the area and also offered safe passage. But the militant commander said that Tehrik-e-Taliban high command had ordered their tashkeel (stay) in the area and they would leave after holding a peace march and visiting the families of six killed Taliban in Shalbandi area.

More bloody clashes are feared as reinforcement and heavy weaponry have been shifted to Taliban from Swat on Monday night and they are all set to attack the locals and local tribal force.

- Asian Tribune -

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