At Least 15 Pakistani Troops Killed in Swat Valley Battle

Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) forces used a roadside bomb to ambush a Pakistani military convoy in northwestern Swat Valley. The ensuing multi-hour firefight left 5 militants and 15 Pakistani soldiers confirmed dead, according to local police officer Noor Rehman. He also said six other Pakistani troops were still missing, so the toll may rise. The Pakistani military confirmed the attack and claimed the troops foiled a suicide attack and destroyed an explosive-laden vehicle in the process.

The attack may be retaliation for two major attacks launched by Pakistani forces against the TTP in the past week. An attack on Friday against a TTP training camp and hideout killed at least 60 militants, while an attack on the headquarters of cleric Maulana Fazlullah Sunday killed 27 more militants and scores of civilians.

The TTP offered unconditional talks last week prior to the attacks. Spokesman Maulvi Omar suggested that they would be willing to lay down arms if the government ended its offensives against them. No official response was ever reported from the Pakistani government but Afrasiab Khattak, president of the Awami National Party that presently controls the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) legislature, said he did not believe the offer was sincere.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.