« Elko reinstates police force | Main | Analysis: Computer-Assisted Reporting in story about Tracking Pharmaceuticals »

Pakistani military pushes back against Taliban

The Pakistani military began an offensive against the Taliban militants near the Swat Valley on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pakistan's military said that one soldier and several militants had been killed in the fighting in the Lower Dir district, the Journal reported. Militants had ambushed police on Sunday, provoking a violent response from the Pakistani military.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that the government has not broken the peace deal established in February with the Taliban in the Swat Valley, Al Jazeera reported.

The fighting came one day after the Taliban withdrew from the Buner district that they had entered last week, the Journal reported.

On a related note, the government removed administrator Syed Mohammed Javed from his responsibilities in the Malakand region that includes Swat, Buner and Dir, because of his suspected meetings with top Taliban and al Qaeda leaders, the Journal reported. Javed had been a key architect of the negotiated peace deal several weeks ago. Officials complained that Javed had appeased the Taliban too much, allowing them to increase their influence outside of the region of agreement.

U.S. Gen. David Petraeus said that the Taliban and other militants are the greatest threat to the existence of Pakistan, Al Jazeera reported.