Pakistani jets attacked the Swat Valley village of Barthana today, acting on a tip-off regarding the presence of militants in the village. The overall death toll in the attack is not yet clear, but 30 have been confirmed killed to this point, and over 100, many of them civilians, are reported to have been killed overall. Scores of others were reported wounded.
The military has officially said they killed two Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders and 25 other militants in the attack, which targeted the headquarters of cleric Maulana Fazlullah. Reports have villagers pulling dozens of civilians from destroyed homes. TTP spokesman Muslim Khan said they had recovered 30 civilian bodies 35 houses destroyed in the strike, with many more feared trapped in the rubble. He also denied that any TTP were killed in the attack, confirming only two injured.
It is the second major bombardment in the valley in the past few days, with a Friday attack on another “Taliban training camp” killing at least 60 militants. That attack also reportedly destroyed several houses, though there were no reports of civilian deaths.
The Swat Valley has long been a popular tourist destination, but violence and kidnappings in the region in recent years is replacing the reputation of a sleepy, picturesque mountain region with a militant stronghold teeming with heavily armed extremists.