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Pakistan Timeline - 2009

Date

Incidents

January 01

At least 13 people – 10 militants and three Security Force (SF) personnel – were killed in a clash between the SFs and militants in Balochistan. The gun-battle started when the militants – reportedly members of the Bugti tribe – attacked a patrol party in Dera Bugti District. The clash continued for the entire day in the Uch, Gandoi and Zan kho areas. At least five SF personnel were also injured in the gun-battle.

A suspected United States missile strike killed at least five Taliban militants in South Waziristan Agency of the FATA. A local security official said that a US drone fired three missiles in the Karikot area of Wana in the agency - the same spot where eight suspected militants were killed in a US drone strike 10 days ago. One of the missiles struck a vehicle, killing all five passengers, another security official said, adding those killed were known Taliban militants. The other two missiles hit a hilltop house that was a known Taliban hideout, but was empty at the time of the strike, the officials said. One militant was injured in the strike, they added.

Four civilians were killed in the Bajaur Agency of FATA when Taliban militants fired rockets at local Government offices. At least four rockets landed near a court and the Government complex in Khar, the main town in Bajaur, local administration chief Israr Khan said. "The attack left four civilians dead and 16 injured," Khan added.

Three Policemen were killed and six injured in two bomb blasts in Peshawar and Bannu districts of NWFP.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik said that the writ of the Government had already been established in four sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency, and Charmang and Mamoond sub-divisions would be under the complete control of the Government by the end of this month.

The Government has decided to set up a high-level body – the proposed National Commission for Counter-Terrorism – to coordinate efforts in countering the threat posed by the Taliban. A private TV channel reported that the commission – to be a constitutional body – would be headed by a ‘top-level professional’ to prepare and execute strategies, and the recently retired Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) chief Tariq Pervaiz is likely to be the first choice for the post.

Pakistan dismissed criticism that some elements in the ISI were involved in acts of terrorism and were not in control of the Government. "Pakistan’s Government and state institutions are committed to the war against terror. Therefore, vilifying Pakistan or for that matter any of its state institutions on this score is unwarranted and unacceptable. In Pakistan’s view, in the given situation, what is needed is more accurate alignment in the perception and interests of Afghanistan, Pakistan, US/NATO and countries in the region that have stakes in the struggle against terrorism," said the spokesman at the Foreign Office at an online media briefing.

According to India’s Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, less than two weeks after it was banned by the United Nations, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) front Jama’at-ud-Da’awa (JuD) is active, CNN-IBN reported. Menon said the JuD is now operating under a new name. He also said the JuD has a new website, which is being used to collect money to fund terrorist activities. Speaking to the All India Radio, Menon rejected Pakistan’s offer of joint investigation into the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26. He said India has shared evidence with Pakistan several times, but without any results. Menon added that even the Joint-Anti Terror mechanism set up by India and Pakistan has yielded no results so far. According to PTI, India sources, JuD may be planning to rename itself as ''Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool'' (Movement for defending the honour of the Prophet) to avoid restrictions which Pakistan could be forced to impose on it because of UNSC sanctions. The indication that JuD may be thinking of changing its name reportedly came as some senior cadres of the outfit recently organised a rally in Pakistan under the banner of Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, sources told PTI.

January 02

Seven persons, including an Awami National Party leader and two Frontier Constabulary personnel, were killed in different parts of the Swat District.

Four militants were killed and three others injured when a CIA-operated spy plane fired two Hellfire missiles at a Government-run girls’ school in the Ladha sub-division of South Waziristan Agency, the second attack in as many days. Tribal sources told that two pilotless spy planes were seen hovering over the Mehsud-inhabited areas before the air strikes on the school and a nearby-parked car. The drone reportedly fired two Hellfire missiles, one of them hitting the building of the Government Girls’ Primary School, Maidan Naray, and the other destroying the car owned by the militants.

Taliban announced the enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law) in the Shakai, Sheikhan and Mulakhel areas of Hangu District in the NWFP. The decision was made in a jirga (assembly of tribal elders) and announced in mosques during the Friday sermons, and comes days after a similar decree in the bordering Orakzai Agency.

Traffic on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Highway resumed after the political authorities relaxed the curfew on the fourth day of the military operation against the militants and criminals in Khyber Agency.

Leaders of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) have reportedly indicated that militants operating in Swat and Bajaur would quit militancy if the Government announced the enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law) in the Malakand region and Bajaur Agency.

The LeT rejected a report that one of its leaders had acknowledged the group’s involvement in the multiple terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed officials, reported on December 31 that Pakistani authorities had obtained a confession from a senior LeT member. The suspect, identified as Zarar Shah, allegedly told investigators he had played a key role in the planning of the November attacks. "Lashkar-e-Toiba rejects the Wall Street Journal report," its spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi said in an email statement. "India has failed to furnish any evidence of Lashkar-e-Toiba’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks and America is now trying to help it out," he claimed. No evidence could be found "on the scene of the crime, and now there is an effort to manufacture evidence thousands of miles away," he added.

January 04

Five persons, including two SF personnel, were killed in separate incidents of violence in the Swat District.

Ten persons, including four Policemen, were killed and 27 others injured in two bomb blasts near the Polytechnic College in Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP. Sources said an explosive device, planted by militants near the main gate of the Polytechnic College, went off at 7:07 pm, injuring four persons. Eyewitnesses said soon after the blast, Police personnel and people rushed to the spot. As a large number of Policemen and people gathered at the site, a 16-year-old suicide bomber forced his entry into the crowd and blew himself up, killing 10 persons, including four Policemen, and injuring 21 others.

A suicide bomber was killed while two people sustained injuries near a check-post in Officers’ Colony in Bannu in the NWFP. The suicide bomber blew himself up in an attempt to target a check-post but could not succeed as the bomb exploded before he could reach his target.

Three armed groups in Balochistan announced the formal end of a four-month-old unilateral cease-fire in response to the Security Forces’ continued military operation in the province. Declaring the end of the truce, the BLA spokesman Bibarg Baloch said the BLA, the Balochistan Republican Army and the Balochistan Liberation Front were disappointed by the Government’s ‘lacklustre’ response to the cease-fire. The three ‘pro-independent Balochistan’ groups announced the cease-fire in September 2008.

The Orakzai chapter of the proscribed TTP has established Sharia (Islamic law) courts and complaint centres in most parts of the agency, directing people to resolve their disputes in accordance with the Islamic laws.

A senior Taliban leader was arrested from Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. A senior Policeman confirmed Ustad Yasir was arrested, but declined to give details. Formerly a leader of Abdurrab Rasool Sayyaf’s Ittehad-e-Islami group in Afghanistan, Yasir joined the Taliban in 2001 after Sayyaf announced support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He was arrested from the NWFP in 2005 and released from Kabul’s Pul-e-Charkhi prison in exchange for kidnapped Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo.

January 5

Four persons, including two militants, were killed in separate incidents of violence in the Mingora city of Swat District in NWFP. Two persons, identified as Javed and Nisar, were killed in the Mingora city and their bodies thrown at the Green and Suhrab squares. The duo was identified as local militants. Meanwhile, unidentified assailants shot dead a former councillor, Muhammad Sahib, in the Aligram area of Charbagh. In another incident, some unidentified gunmen barged into a house at Watkay in Mingora and shot dead a woman.

Suspected Taliban militants in North Waziristan shot dead two Afghan nationals and a resident of the Bannu District of NWFP and hanged bodies of the Afghans from a tree on the Bannu-Miramshah Road at Naurak village. A hand-written Pashto language letter left with the bodies accused them of spying on ‘Mujahideen’ in North Waziristan for the US forces stationed in Afghanistan. The letter also termed the killing of the two Afghans and the Pakistani a "gift" to US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher.

Jihad will be mandatory for the Pakistani nation in case India attacks the country, said a joint communiqué issued in an All Parties’ Conference. The conference, held at Jamia Naeemia in Lahore, was attended by a number of noted religious scholars and heads of various religious and political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Tehreek-e-Insaaf, the Sunni Tehrik, the Mustafai Tehrik, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, the Minhajul Quran, the Nizam-e-Mustafa Party and the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat. The participants demanded the Government immediately convene an emergency session of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The participants also demanded the OIC issue a declaration condemning India and expressing solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Pakistan said it was reviewing a dossier India handed over regarding the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the Government remained committed to punishing Pakistani nationals accused of taking part in the Mumbai attacks if ‘credible’ evidence is given against them. Gilani made the comments during talks with Richard Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, who arrived in Islamabad early on January 5.

January 6

Six bullet-ridden bodies of Security Force (SF) personnel, who had been abducted by Taliban militants a few days ago, were found in the Mingora city of Swat District. The militants brought the six persons to the College Square in Mingora in the night of January 5 and shot them dead.

Suspected militants killed four more alleged US spies in North Waziristan on the night between January 5 and January 6 and threw their bodies on main roads in various parts of the tribal region. Two of the alleged US spies were said to be Afghan nationals and the other two were identified as local tribesmen. Tribal sources said bullet-riddled bodies of the two Afghans were found on the road in Sarobi village near Spalga. Body of one tribesman was recovered from Miranshah Bazaar and the other body was found from the Razmak Road.

The Government ‘emphatically rejected’ an allegation by Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh that Pakistan was involved in sponsoring terrorism in India. It said India had embarked on a ‘propaganda offensive’ and such allegations would jeopardise chances of co-operation against terrorism. According to sources, the Indian allegations were rejected during a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani held soon after Dr Singh’s statement on January 6. Zardari urged the Indian leadership to refrain from hurling allegations about involvement of official agencies in the Mumbai attacks, because this could only escalate tension. He said Pakistan would itself take action against ‘non-state actors’ involved in the Mumbai attacks and there was no question of their extradition to India.

January 7

The Government confirmed that Mohammad Ajmal Amir alias Ajmal Kasab – the lone Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant arrested during the Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 – is a Pakistani. "The initial investigations have confirmed that Ajmal Kasab, involved in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, is a Pakistani national. Further investigations are under way," Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said. Sources in the foreign ministry said security agencies analysed the information India had gathered and shared with Pakistan, and concluded in a preliminary probe that Kasab is a Pakistani. Pakistan had earlier said its National Database and Registration Authority had no record of the man. Sadiq confirmed that the Interior Ministry had given the information to the Foreign Office. But he denied Pakistan would provide official support to Ajmal Kasab. "Kasab has committed a heinous crime. He will not be provided any official support or consular access," the spokesman said.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman told Daily Times that "Ajmal Kasab is a Pakistani. Further investigations are under way." Earlier, a high-ranking Government official told Dawn that the preliminary investigation had provided enough information to conclude that the man at present in India’s custody was from a Punjab village, and perhaps belonged to a militant group that was bent upon destabilising the region by undermining the peace process.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani sacked his National Security Adviser Major General (retd) Mehmud Ali Durrani for giving a statement on Mohammad Ajmal Amir alias Ajmal Kasab, the lone Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant arrested during the Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008, without taking him into confidence. Before the formal announcement, Prime Minister Gilani told Geo News on telephone that Durrani had given a statement to an Indian news channel regarding Ajmal Kasab without taking him into confidence. Gilani said that Durrani’s statement had tarnished the country’s image. "So I decided to sack him," he told Geo News.

The Taliban in Hangu District of NWFP killed three Policemen and abducted three others when they stormed a Police check-post. Officials said the Taliban attacked the Police post in Dalan area of Tal tehsil (revenue division) using heavy weapons. Three Police personnel - Taimoor, Fazal Rahim and Daulat Shah - were killed, while Mohibullah, Tariq and Akhlaq were abducted by the militants, who also set ablaze the check-post.

Three Taliban militants were killed and six others sustained injuries as jet fighters targeted their hideouts in various areas of Bajaur Agency. Six trenches and some underground bunkers built by the Taliban had also been destroyed in the operation. Fighter jets targeted Taliban hideouts in Dama Dola and Khaza Pahar areas in Mamoond, Salarzai and Chargo Kandaw sub-divisions of Bajaur.

January 8

The head of al Qaeda in Pakistan and his lieutenant were killed in the past few days, a US counter-terrorism official told AFP. They were reportedly struck by a missile fired from an unmanned drone. The men are believed to be Kenyan national Usama al-Kini, described as al Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan and his lieutenant Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. "There is every reason to believe that these two top terrorist figures are dead," said an unnamed source, adding that the duo was killed "within the last week." The counterintelligence source did not say how the men died, but according to Washington Post, which first reported the story, the duo was killed in a January 1 missile attack near Karikot in South Waziristan. The militants died after being struck with 45 kilo Hellfire missile fired from a pilot-less Predator drone operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, Washington Post reported.

January 9

A Bugti tribal chief and his three bodyguards were killed in a landmine explosion in the Bekar area of Dera Bugti District in Balochistan. Wadera Nawaz Masoori Bugti was on his way to a village when his vehicle hit an anti-tank landmine planted by unidentified miscreants. Consequently, Wadera Nawaz, along with three of his bodyguards, was killed on the spot, while two other people sustained injuries.

Four people are reported to have died and dozens of others injured after clashes erupted in the Hangu town and its surrounding areas of NWFP. A mourning procession from Ustarzai, Ibarhimzai, Sherkot and Chakarkot villages was heading for the Hangu city despite a curfew. Sources said militants allegedly attacked the procession with rockets from the hilltops when it reached near Bahadur Banda, prompting an exchange of fire with the mourners. Consequently, four people were killed in the clashes.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that premier intelligence agencies of the United States and Pakistan had been working closely to investigate the multiple terrorist in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, and recently the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had provided a detailed response to questions and issues raised by US investigators on behalf of their Indian counterparts. "Our ISI has given its feedback, which has been forwarded to India," he told reporters after addressing a seminar in Islamabad. He gave no details of the contents of the dossier or the response formulated by a committee, but said Pakistan would co-operate if more information was required. He said India had provided a 52-page dossier to the CIA which was passed on to Pakistan. The dossier was also handed over directly by India to Pakistan. Gilani also said Pakistan was ready to share information sharing with the CIA.

January 10

At least 17 people were killed and 30 others injured in the ongoing sectarian clashes in Hangu in the NWFP. Officials said that fighting between the rival Shia and Sunni groups had been continuing since late January 9 while army helicopter gun ships were targeting the warring parties’ positions to control the situation. The clashes erupted when people from Kohat, who were protesting against the imposition of curfew in Hangu on the eve of Ashura, were attacked by the rival sect. The two groups started targeting each other with heavy and light weapons. According to officials, clashes occurred in the Khanbari, Singhar, Paskalay, Gungano Kalay, Malik Abad and Ibrahim Zay areas of Hangu city.

The house arrest of Jama’at-ud-Da’awa (a front for the Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT]) founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed has been extended for another 60 days, Punjab Additional Home Secretary Usman Anwar said. "His house has already been declared a sub-jail where he will spend the rest of the detention period," Anwar said, adding that the Punjab Government extended the detention on orders from the federal Government.

January 11

At least 49 Taliban militants were killed and an unspecified number of them wounded in Mohmand Agency as paramilitary troops repulsed a pre-dawn attack by about 600 militants coming from the Afghan border. The attackers – mostly foreigners, and supported by local Taliban – attacked Frontier Corps (FC) positions in Mamad Gatt at about 2am (PST). "Frontier Corps troops repulsed a massive attack by militants on one of its locations in the area," the military said in a statement, adding that "severe fighting continued through the night". Six soldiers were also killed and seven sustained injuries in the fighting.

A cease-fire between rival factions was reached in Hangu in the NWFP, after 30 persons were killed and 50 injured in sectarian clashes that broke out on January 9, according to Daily Times. However, The News put the death toll in the three days of sectarian clashes at 40. 20 houses – including that of the District Zakat committee chairman – were set ablaze in fresh clashes despite an earlier truce in the afternoon of January 11, as helicopter gunships targeted ‘miscreant’ hideouts. Sources said three local commanders, Maulvi Nadeem, Momin and Ihsanullah, were among the six militants killed in sectarian clashes in Saidan Banda and Pass Kellay.

January 12

The US State Department imposed sanctions against 13 people and three firms implicated in the nuclear proliferation network set up by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. "The Department of State announced that sanctions will be imposed on 13 individuals and three private companies for their involvement in the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network… We believe these sanctions will help prevent future proliferation-related activities," it said in a statement.

January 13

A mortar shell - allegedly fired by the SFs - hit a house in the Gulagai area of Matta sub-division in Swat District of NWFP, killing three children and injuring a woman.

January 14

Four persons, including three soldiers, were killed in a remote-controlled bomb blast in the Dera Bugti District. The Baloch Republican Army claimed responsibility for the incident. The bomb, planted in the Sui Colony main bazaar, targeted a van carrying paramilitary personnel. Three soldiers and a shopkeeper died instantly.

Unidentified assailants killed four Policemen, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, in a shootout in Quetta, capital of Balochistan. Motorcyclists ambushed a Police team on Sariab Road at around 11am, killing four Policemen. Three of the murdered Policemen belonged to Hazara community and were Shia. The outlawed Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the killings, which reportedly appear to be part of a recent series of target killing of Shias in the provincial capital that has claimed six lives in a month. "We claim the responsibility for today’s attack," Ali Haider, identifying himself as a spokesman for the group, said in telephone calls to local media, AFP reported. "It was a target killing and police officers belonging to the Hazara tribe were targeted," a senior police officer said.

January 15

The Government said that it had shut down five training camps of the outlawed Jama’at-ud-Da’awa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), banned their seven publications and blocked all their websites. The authorities have reportedly detained 124 people, several leaders and officials of the organisations among them. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik, assured India that Pakistan would do its utmost to bring the people involved in the Mumbai attacks to justice. Giving details of a crackdown, Malik said that training camps had been closed down in Punjab and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. He said members of the banned groups who had been detained included their founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, LeT ‘operations commander’ Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Mufti Abdur Rehman, Col (retd) Nazir Ahmed and Ameer Hamza. "We have arrested a total of 124 mid-level and top leaders of JuD in response to a UN resolution — 69 from Punjab, 21 from Sindh, eight from Balochistan and 25 from the NWFP — blocked six websites associated with the organisation and closed down its five relief camps," the adviser said. He said 20 offices, 87 schools, two libraries, seven seminaries and a handful of other organisations and websites linked to the JuD had also been shut. He also said authorities had closed several relief camps of the organisation after the UN Security Council had passed the resolution. The publications banned are Mujalatud Dawa, Zarb-i-Taiba, Voice of Islam, Nanhay Mujahid, Ghazwa and Al Rabta.

January 16

A press release of the Military-run Swat Media Cell in Swat District claimed that 12 militants were killed and many others injured in a clash in the Chamtalai area of Khwazakhela sub-division. The TTP Swat chapter leader Shah Dauran also claimed killing several SF personnel in the clash. "Several troops were killed and five vehicles were destroyed in the attack," he claimed on his illegal FM radio. The SFs subsequently clamped a curfew in Khwazakhela and started shelling suspected hideouts of the militants.

Two militants and a soldier were killed and another sustained injuries in a clash in the Sandokhel area of Mohmand Agency in the FATA. Sources said SFs, backed by artillery and tanks, continued demolishing houses of militants in the Habibzai area of Safi sub-division for the second consecutive day. However, the militants opened fire on the troops in Sandokhel, which triggered a clash, leaving two militants and a soldier dead.

Owais Ahmad Ghani, the Governor of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), is reported to have informed a delegation of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Peshawar that there are approximately 15,000 militants in the tribal belt, who have no dearth of ration, ammunition and equipment. The Governor said that a militant was normally given PKR 6,000 to PKR 8,000 per month while their leaders got PKR 20,000 to 30,000 per month.

January 17

A son of Osama bin Laden who spent years under Iranian house arrest has left Iran and is now probably operating inside Pakistan, said a senior American intelligence official, The News reported. Saad bin Laden is one of a number of senior al Qaeda operatives detained inside Iran in recent years. Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, told reporters that Saad bin Laden was probably in Pakistan. He gave no details about whether bin Laden had escaped from custody, whether his departure reflected a deal between Iran and al Qaeda or whether he was simply allowed to go by Iranian officials. McConnell’s announcement came as the Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on January 16 on Saad bin Laden and three other people believed to be al Qaeda operatives and thought to be in Iran.

January 18

At least 15 Taliban militants and a soldier were killed when clashes broke out between the Taliban and SFs in Mohmand Agency. The clashes, which broke out late on January 17, occurred as the SFs cleared a road linking Bajaur Agency with Peshawar, an unnamed official said. "Fifteen militants were killed in a successful raid by security forces on their stronghold in Darwazgai area of Mohmand Agency… One security force personnel embraced martyrdom in the encounter," he stated.

January 20

Troops backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships killed at least 38 Taliban militants in an ongoing military operation in the Mohmand Agency - raising the Taliban death toll to 60 over 24 hours. A statement said the FC had advanced and secured Darwazgai-Lakaro-Mamad Ghat Road in the operation and "militant strongholds of Habibzai and Mulakhel were destroyed." It also said that ‘leading commanders’, Umar Khitab, Qari Mumtaz, Haroon Rashid, Bilal, Yaqub, Yar Syed, Yousuf and Hamza, were among the dead. Troops have also "engaged Taliban strongholds of Krair and Chingai", it added. The Security Forces reportedly launched the crackdown in Mohmand Agency as early as the weekend, but a paramilitary official told that ‘hardcore militants’ were killed in the last 24 hours. A paramilitary official told that the FC and Mohmand Rifles, backed by warplanes, helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery, targeted suspected hideouts of militants in five villages of Lakaro and Pandyali sub-divisions, said to be stronghold of the Taliban’s Mohmand chapter. Three civilians, including the owner of a restaurant and his two sons, were killed in Danish Kol, residents said. 12 civilians were reportedly injured in the air strike and mortar attacks. According to a press release issued by the Frontier Corps headquarters in Peshawar late on January 20-night, 60 militants, including several key local commanders, were killed in the operation since the previous night. It said 22 militants had been killed on January 19 and 38 on January 20.

Taliban militants in the North Waziristan Agency shot dead six more people on charges of spying for the US forces stationed in Afghanistan. Tribal sources in agency headquarters Miranshah said that two of the six slain spies were Afghan nationals. One of them, whose bullet-riddled body was dumped near the Miranshah Bazaar, was identified as Guldar Ali, hailing from Afghanistan’s Khost province. Similarly, four more bodies were recovered from the Tehsil Road near Mirali. They were identified as Shah Madeen Khattak, a barber hailing from Karak district, 65-year-old electrician Shahi Haider Khan, teenager Nisar Ali and an Afghan citizen, whose name could not be ascertained. A handwritten letter placed near the bodies blamed all the four persons for spying for the US forces on the Mujahideen.

Four Policemen and four civilians were injured when a Police patrol van was hit by a roadside bomb on Ring Road in the Hazarkhwani area of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP.

The NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti offered dialogue to the Taliban to restore peace in the troubled areas. He said the dialogue offer was still intact, asking the Taliban to come to negotiate without weapons as problems could not be solved by force.

After proscribing female education in the Swat District, the militants reportedly issued another decree, asking the local people to wear caps and stop shaving beards after January 25. The militants set January 25 as deadline for keeping beards in the Matta sub-division and also asked people to wear caps in order to implement Sharia (Islamic law) in the area. They had already stopped barbers from shaving and trimming beards in the valley while following their fresh decree all barbers reportedly displayed "shave is banned" posters at their shops.

Six Pakistanis have been arrested on suspicion of a tax fraud and are being investigated for diverting funds to terrorist groups, said the Spanish Police. Police said the six men were arrested in Barcelona on orders from Judge Baltasar Garzon, who often investigates terrorism. The Civil Guard said in a statement that the alleged fraud was carried out through telecommunications companies and officials were investigating whether any money went to ‘armed groups’. The six along with five others arrested by the Spanish Police, were suspected of financing terrorist activities by carrying out thefts and sending the money they raised from their criminal activities to Pakistan.

January 21

Several militants, including top commanders of the banned TTP, Mohmand chapter, were killed, as the military intensified its operation against the militants in Mohmand Agency. Sources said SFs targeted the hideouts of the militants in the Lakaro and Pindyali sub-divisions and elsewhere in the tribal agency with gunship helicopters, killing several militants and destroying their hideouts. Sources said the house of Omar Khalid, the TTP Mohmand Agency chief, was also destroyed in the aerial raids. More than 15 militants, including some important commanders, are reported to have died in the attack, while approximately 40 shops in the Qayyumabad and Askarabad bazaars on the Peshawar-Bajaur Road and 33 houses were also destroyed. Sources added that the SFs occupied the militant hideout after killing six militants in Ghaziabad area. Severe fighting and shelling was also reported from the Kamardin, Amarai Kor, Karair, Chingai, Palosai and Habibzai areas.

Seven suspected militants were arrested in a pre-dawn operation in the Bara Qadeem area of Khyber Agency in the FATA. A senior al Qaeda operative alleged to be involved in the 2005 bombings of London transport system was among the seven arrested men. Officials said the arrested men were al Qaeda militants believed to have planned attacks on trucks taking supplies to US-led forces in Afghanistan. An unnamed security official said the arrested militants included a senior al Qaeda operative allegedly wanted in connection with the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings in London. He identified the man as Zabi ul Taifi, an Arab.

The new US administration will increase non-military aid to Pakistan, but hold Islamabad accountable for security along the border region with Afghanistan, according to a US foreign policy document released soon after President Barack Obama assumed office. The document– available on the White House website – says, "Obama and [Vice President Joe] Biden will increase non-military aid to Pakistan and hold them accountable for security in the border region with Afghanistan."

January 22

21 persons, including 11 militants, were killed and an unspecified number of them injured in the ongoing military operation and fresh incidents of violence in the Swat District of NWFP. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)-run Swat Media Centre (SMC), 11 militants were killed and nine injured in Qamber and Koza Drushkhela. The SMC spokesman claimed that a militants’ hideout was destroyed in shelling at Qamber and four militants, identified as Abu Hamza, Ismail, Abdul Rauf and Qari Ghaffar, were killed. Sources added that SFs also carried out a ground assault in the Koza Drushkhela area of Matta sub-division, the stronghold of Maulana Fazlullah-led militants, and killed seven militants besides injuring three others.

The gunship helicopters attacked several suspected Taliban positions, killing seven persons, including four women and two children, in the Mohmand Agency. According to local people, a bomb hit the house of tribesman Zain Khan in Shekhan area, killing two women. Two more houses were hit in Ghunget Choher village of Lakaro sub-division, killing two women, two children and a man.

January 23

20 people, majority of them local tribesmen, were killed and several others were wounded in two different missile strikes by US drones in North and South Waziristan agencies. In the first incident, 10 persons were killed and several others injured when a US drone fired three Hellfire missiles on a Hujra (male guest house) of Khalil Dawar in Zyaraki village of North Waziristan. Sources close to the militants told The News the drone fired missiles after some guests, probably foreign militants, entered the Hujra of Khalil Dawar. They said besides Khalil, his two sons, brother Mansoor, a nephew and six other people were killed in the attack. However, a senior Government official in Miranshah said six among the dead were hardcore militants, including four Arabs and a Punjabi Taliban militant. It was the first missile attack by US spy planes in North Waziristan in 2009.

In the second incident, 10 more persons were killed in the adjoining South Waziristan Agency when a US drone fired two Hellfire missiles on the house of a local tribesman, Dil Faraz Gangikhel Wazir, in Gangikhel village, near Wana. Official and tribal sources said all those killed were local tribesmen. A Wana-based official of the political administration said the drone had probably missed the target and killed only innocent people. He said four children also lost their lives in the attack. It was the third attack by the US drones in South Waziristan in January 2009 and the first after Barack Obama became the US President.

Five members of a family, including three children, were killed when a mortar shell hit a house in the Manpetai village of Khwazakhela sub-division. A couple and their three children died and their house was destroyed in the incident.

In an IED attack in the Takhtaband area of Mingora town in Swat District, three civilians, including a woman, were killed and a soldier sustained injuries. The militants reportedly intended to target a convoy of the Security Forces but failed in their bid. The Taliban claimed responsibility and warned of more attacks.

Two SF personnel were killed in a suicide attack near Mingora town. According to a press release issued by the Swat Media Centre, a car laden with explosives blew up near the Fizagat check-post, killing two SF personnel and injuring 22 others. Troops had signaled the suspicious vehicle to stop and also fired on it, but it accelerated and hit the post.

January 24

Eight Taliban militants, including commander Noor Bakhtiar, were killed by the SFs during clashes in the Nangolai area of Kabal tehsil (revenue division) in Swat in the NWFP. The SFs also recovered a large cache of arms from the Taliban’s hideout after the operation. Troops also took control of schools in Swat following Taliban militant’s threats against their reopening. The decision was made to protect educational institutions in the district, where, according to official figures, 174 schools have been destroyed by Taliban militants during the past one and a half year.

January 25

The Taliban in Swat released a list of 43 people – including former and incumbent ministers – who they have declared ‘wanted’ and liable to punishment under the Sharia (Islamic law). The ‘wanted’ men also include former and current members of the national and provincial assemblies, District and local nazims (chief elected official of local government), officials of political parties, local elders and other influential residents of the valley. The announcement that the leaders were liable to punishment and must appear in Taliban courts was made by rebel cleric Mullah Fazlullah on his FM radio channel, locals said.

January 26

Nine people, including two children and two women, were killed and 17 others sustained injuries in different incidents of violence in various parts of the Swat District.

Six people were killed and 22 others sustained injuries when a bomb rigged to a bicycle exploded in a populated area in Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP. Three of the victims were in a car while the other three were walking past the bicycle parked in front of the main gate of the town hall.

More than 200 protesters demonstrated against Pakistan’s appointment of an administrator to oversee the headquarters of JuD, (LeT front),. "Death to America", "Death to Israel and Jews", shouted the protesters, carrying banners and placards that read: "Cancel administrator’s appointment," "Remove the ban on the JuD" and "We condemn the UN resolution." Abu Ehsan, a former JuD administrator, while criticizing the January 25-takeover said, "This is a wrong step. First the government, under American and Indian pressure, placed a ban through the UN and now the Punjab government has... We strongly condemn this action and ask the government to review its decision." The provincial Government of Punjab has taken over the Muridke headquarters of the JuD, appointing an administrator to run the schools and medical facilities on the premises, and renaming it Punjab Welfare Institute.

The banned TTP has asked its members to stop attacks on Government installations, kidnapping for ransom, bank dacoities and car snatching across the country. A statement purportedly issued by the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud said, "All organizers and workers are directed that Mujahideen will not damage government property, commit highway robbery, bank dacoity, kidnap people for ransom or snatch vehicles from today… All such activities would be prohibited. No excuse that an activist had permission from the Ameer (Chief) to carry out such acts would be accepted... From now on, all previous permits meant for attacks on government installations and other activities would stand cancelled."

January 27

SFs killed more than 16 militants in Darra Adamkhel in the NWFP. The SFs claimed that they had besieged a large number of militants after a fierce battle which claimed the life of an army officer and injured five soldiers in Tor Chappar. The troops had reportedly been attacking the militants’ hideout in the area with artillery fire and shelling for the last four days. The Inter-Services Public Relations said in a press release from provincial capital Peshawar on January 26 that 16 militants were killed in a gun battle in Tor Chapper on January 25. However, a Taliban spokesman denied the report of the death of 16 people and said that all of them were safe and alive.

Hundreds of students protested as a Government official took over administrative control of the JuD headquarters in Muridke. The protest, organised for the second day, came as a senior official from the Punjab Government, Khaqan Babar, started his job running the schools and hospital at the JuD headquarters. About 500 students from a school in the sprawling JuD compound in Muridke gathered outside the main office and chanted slogans against the Government.

The United States will continue to carry out missile strikes against al Qaeda in Pakistan, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said. He was responding to questions on the issue and Pakistan’s complaints at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Both president Bush and President Obama have made clear that we will go after al Qaeda wherever it is and we will continue to pursue that," Gates said.

Five American CIA-operated spy planes intruded into the North Waziristan Agency and flew over various villages of the border area. Official and tribal sources said five drones, three white and two of black colour, intruded into the tribal region from across the border in Afghanistan. In the evening, the spy planes were seen hovering over various villages at a low altitude.

January 28

16 more people, including seven militants, were killed and 23 others injured in the Swat District, even as Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani vowed to establish the writ of the Government.

Around 25 projects operated by USAID in the FATA and settled areas of the NWFP have been temporarily closed over security concerns. The staff members working on several projects in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, and North and South Waziristan agencies have been called back due to worsening security in those areas. USAID was working on a comprehensive programme to support short, medium and long-term objectives of the government of Pakistan’s FATA Sustainable Development Plan (FSDP) 2006-2015.

January 29

Four militants were killed and several others, including a Policeman, sustained injuries when suspected militants attacked a police post near Baran Bridge in Bannu in the NWFP with rockets and heavy arms.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik told the Senate that a new strategy had been worked out to combat militancy in Swat. He said the groups behind the insurgency in Swat included al Qaeda, TTP led by Maulana Fazlullah, Tanzeem-i-Islami, Tora Bora group and Qari Mushtaq group. He said that a Taliban ‘commander’, Qari Hussain Ahmed, ran a training camp for suicide bombers in Waziristan and Maulana Naamdaar had a role in bringing suicide bombers from Waziristan to Swat. He told the Senate that around 1,200 civilians had been killed and 2,000 injured in violence, while 189 military personnel had lost their lives. He said 123 Government schools and 10 private schools had been destroyed and many CD shops and barbers’ salons set ablaze.

The Darra Adamkhel unit of the TTP issued a one-week deadline to the NWFP Government to accept their demands and in case of non-compliance they would kill the kidnapped Polish geologist. A Taliban spokesman told that : "We cannot wait more as the government has taken acceptance of our demands (in return) for the release of Polish geologist Peter (Stanczak) very light. So, our Shura has decided to wait till Feb 4 evening for a positive reply from the government and in case of refusal we will kill him." The spokesman, who identified himself as Mohammad, said they had demanded from the Government complete withdrawal of SFs from tribal areas and release of their captured associates. The Polish geologist working for the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) was kidnapped from an OGDCL facility near the Jand town of Attock district in Punjab province four months ago.

January 30

Six persons were killed as the military operation in Swat continued on the sixth day. The SFs continued targeting Taliban hideouts in several areas of the Chaharbagh sub-division, including Coat and Darul Uloom. Troops reportedly advanced into the valley and consolidated their positions in Matta and Manglawar areas of the District.

Four soldiers were killed and eight injured when an Army convoy was attacked with a remote-controlled bomb in Malakand in the NWFP. Official sources told that a military convoy of the Sindh Regiment was on its way to provincial capital Peshawar from the militancy-hit Swat valley when a remote-controlled explosive device, planted by militants near a school building on Ghat Koto Road, went off, killing four soldiers and injuring eight others.

The Taliban distributed leaflets in Miranshah and Mir Ali in the North Waziristan Agency warning the Pakistan Army not to set up medical camps, open schools or hospitals in the area. The Taliban warned the army and the NGOs to stop their activities in the agency as ‘through these activities they were misleading the tribal people’. "We warn the army and NGOs to refrain from mischief and carrying out such work otherwise they will be responsible for any losses," said the leaflet in Urdu, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

A Pakistani investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008 has shown they were not planned in Pakistan, the Pakistani High Commissioner to Britain told an Indian television news channel. "Pakistani territory was not used so far as the investigators have made their conclusions," Wajid Shamsul Hassan told NDTV in an interview.

January 31

10 persons were killed in fresh incidents of violence in the Swat District of NWFP. Locals said three people were killed in a clash between SF personnel and the Taliban militants in the Dherai area of Kabal revenue division. Three people were killed as helicopter gun ships targeted Taliban positions in Kabal. In the Aligrama area of Kabal, the Taliban militants attacked a SF’s convoy killing three SF personnel while another was injured in the attack.

February 1

32 persons, including three soldiers, were killed and 22 others sustained injures as the SFs intensified the operation in the Charbagh, Matta and Sangota areas of the Swat District. Locals said most of the people killed in Charbagh and Sangota during shelling were civilians, who were finding it difficult to move to safer places due to the perpetual curfew and escalating clashes.

The ISPR-run Swat Media Centre in Mingora claimed that the SFs have killed 16 militants during the last 24 hours.

February 2

The military claimed it had killed 70 Taliban militants and injured several others during its assault on a village in the Chaharbagh sub-division of Swat District. Officials said residents had already vacated the village on February 1 before troops launched the operation. They said the SFs targeted Taliban hideouts in the Alamganj and Waliabad areas of Chaharbagh, killing approximately 70 militants.

The Swat Police recovered eight bullet-ridden bodies from the region. "The bullet-ridden bodies of eight local residents were found in various areas of Swat," said an unnamed Police official. He blamed the killings on the Taliban militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah.

Trapped amidst clashes between the Taliban and SFs, residents in Swat have begun a mass exodus from the area. Thousands of civilians were fleeing the fighting in the valley. The people leaving Swat are joining thousands of villagers who have fled fighting in other restive areas, particularly Bajaur Agency. Government officials have blamed the militants for using villagers as human shields. "Thousands of people are migrating from the areas of fighting because of the military operations and the militants’ use of civilians as human shields," the Swat valley’s top administrator, Shaukat Khan Yousafzai told.

At least five militants were killed in a gun-battle with SFs in the Dasht-e-Goran area of Dera Bugti District in Balochistan. According to the local Police, a group of armed assailants opened indiscriminate fire at a vehicle of the SFs and in retaliation, at least five militants were killed by the troops.

A top United Nations (UN) official was kidnapped and his driver was killed after his vehicle was ambushed in Quetta, capital of Balochistan. John Solecki, head of the UN High Commission for Refugees office in Quetta, was going to office from his nearby residence in the Chaman Housing Society when the gunmen in a car opened fire on his vehicle. Even as the driver was seriously wounded as their vehicle crashed into a wall, the gunmen abducted Solecki, who is an American national, at gunpoint. The driver, Syed Hashim Hazara, later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

In Bara, headquarters of Khyber Agency, leader of the outlawed LI, Mangal Bagh, has banned shaving of beards and asked women to wear proper veils. Addressing on his private FM radio station, Mangal Bagh said: "From now on, the men are warned to grow breads according to Islam’s teachings and women should be properly veiled while leaving homes". Last week, the LI enforced Sharia (Islamic law) in the Bara tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency.

February 3

Over 70 militants were killed by SFs during clashes in the Swat District in the night of February 2 and February 3. A group of Taliban militants were attacked and dispersed by troops in the Alam Ganj Waliabad area of Charbagh on February 2-night. In the evening of February 3, the militants gathered again and were reported to be planning an attack when the SFs cornered them. At least 64 militants were killed and several others were injured.

The militants surrounded the Shamozai Police post manned by about 30 personnel. Six militants and three SF personnel were killed and 10 persons, including five militants, were injured in an exchange of fire.

Suspected militants attacked a military convoy on the Mingora bypass in Swat. Troops subsequently cordoned off the area and launched an operation, killing four militants.

The BRA admitted to having killed five Punjabis in the Noshki and Mastung Districts of Balochistan, saying it was retaliation for the alleged firing by SFs on a wedding ceremony in Dera Bugti. Unidentified people riding on a motorcycle opened indiscriminate fire on a welding shop owned by a Punjabi, Muhammad Asif, on Aminuddin Road in Noshki District at around 7pm. Consequently, four people, including the brother of the shop owner, Muhammad Farooq, were killed on the spot. Several people were injured in the attack. According to sources, the shop had been attacked many times in the past because of its Punjabi link. Another man of Punjabi origin, identified as Haji Muhammad Jamil, was killed at the Quetta Bus Stop in Mastung District.

Supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan were halted temporarily when militants blew up a 110-year-old bridge on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Highway in the Katakashta area of Khyber Agency. Sources said explosives were planted beneath the bridge that went off early in the day, damaging the bridge partially. However, the structure collapsed later in the day when the driver of a cement-laden truck tried to cross it, the sources added.

The Spanish Police arrested 13 people on suspicion of links to organised crime and terrorism groups. A Police statement said the detainees - 11 Pakistanis, a Nigerian and an Indian - were suspected of belonging to an international crime gang involved in passport forgery, drug trafficking and people-smuggling. Police said they were investigating whether the group might also have supplied forged documents to international terror groups.

Over 70 militants were killed by SFs during clashes in the Swat District in the night of February 2 and February 3. A group of Taliban militants were attacked and dispersed by troops in the Alam Ganj Waliabad area of Charbagh on February 2-night. In the evening of February 3, the militants gathered again and were reported to be planning an attack when the SFs cornered them. At least 64 militants were killed and several others were injured. The militants surrounded the Shamozai Police post manned by about 30 personnel. Six militants and three SF personnel were killed and 10 persons, including five militants, were injured in an exchange of fire. Suspected militants attacked a military convoy on the Mingora bypass in Swat. Troops subsequently cordoned off the area and launched an operation, killing four militants. The BRA admitted to having killed five Punjabis in the Noshki and Mastung Districts of Balochistan, saying it was retaliation for the alleged firing by SFs on a wedding ceremony in Dera Bugti. Unidentified people riding on a motorcycle opened indiscriminate fire on a welding shop owned by a Punjabi, Muhammad Asif, on Aminuddin Road in Noshki District at around 7pm. Consequently, four people, including the brother of the shop owner, Muhammad Farooq, were killed on the spot. Several people were injured in the attack. According to sources, the shop had been attacked many times in the past because of its Punjabi link. Another man of Punjabi origin, identified as Haji Muhammad Jamil, was killed at the Quetta Bus Stop in Mastung District. Supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan were halted temporarily when militants blew up a 110-year-old bridge on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Highway in the Katakashta area of Khyber Agency. Sources said explosives were planted beneath the bridge that went off early in the day, damaging the bridge partially. However, the structure collapsed later in the day when the driver of a cement-laden truck tried to cross it, the sources added. The Spanish Police arrested 13 people on suspicion of links to organised crime and terrorism groups. A Police statement said the detainees - 11 Pakistanis, a Nigerian and an Indian - were suspected of belonging to an international crime gang involved in passport forgery, drug trafficking and people-smuggling. Police said they were investigating whether the group might also have supplied forged documents to international terror groups. The Jama'at-ud-Da'awa (JuD, the LeT front) released the appeal it had made to the United Nations pleading its innocence and claiming that it has no link with al Qaeda, Taliban or the Mumbai terrorist attacks. The appeal signed by JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was released on the eve of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's visit to Pakistan. The UN imposed a ban on the JuD on the request of India for its involvement in Mumbai attacks in November 2008 that claimed about 170 lives. The appeal said the UN had taken a hasty decision in proscribing the JuD, its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and others members and termed the UN decision detrimental to the interests of Pakistan. It said that millions across the country were directly or indirectly benefiting from JuD's services particularly in the areas of health, education, water, sanitation, rehabilitation and particularly the provision of food and shelter to the homeless. Saeed requested the UN Secretary General to mobilize his good offices for the lifting of sanctions and delisting of all JuD entities. "We categorically make it clear and declare that Jamaat ud Dawa is neither an associate of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden nor the Taliban, hence the embargo imposed is materially in contradiction to that set out in their rules and highly unjustified under the international law of human dignity and freedom," Saeed said.

February 4

Nine members of the Bara-based Lashkar-e-Islam group were killed in an encounter with the Police and the Qaumi Lashkar (militia) comprising armed villagers when they allegedly attempted to kidnap the chief official of Bazidkhel union council near Peshawar, the NWFP capital. Three Policemen sustained injuries in the first incident of its kind in which the Police and villagers jointly countered the militants operating in Peshawar.

The Taliban in Swat set free 30 SF personnel in the presence of journalists in the Kotli Dadhara area of Kabal sub-division in Swat District, after securing written promise from them that they would quit their Government jobs. "The hostages have been released on humanitarian grounds, but with a condition that they will quit their jobs and never fight against the Taliban," local Taliban leaders told journalists after a meeting of the Taliban Shura (executive council). The SF personnel were abducted on February 3 when the militants overran a Police checkpoint in Shamozai area adjacent to the Lower Dir district.

A private TV channel reported that a French aid agency has suspended its operations in Swat after two of its Pakistani workers were killed.

Eight local Taliban militants were killed in a clash between two rival factions in the Orakzai Agency of FATA. Sources in the political administration said the militants were killed in fighting between Taliban commanders Gul Bahadar and Tariq's factions in Shan Khel area. They said that all of the casualties were from Bahadar's faction. The sources also claimed that a power struggle between Taliban factions was underway in Orakzai.

In Landikotal, suspected Taliban militants doused with petrol 10 containers they thought were carrying NATO supplies, and set them ablaze. With most of the containers reportedly empty and only two loaded - four were completely destroyed and the remaining was partially damaged.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of an independent commission to probe the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. "I intend to establish an independent commission of inquiry to be headed by a distinguished person who will be appointed very shortly," he said while speaking at a dinner reception hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad. Chile's UN Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz would head the three-member commission. It said Indonesia's Marzuki Dar Usman will be a member of the commission, but no decision has been made on its third member, likely to belong to Sweden or Norway.

Supporting India's assessment that the Pakistan-based LeT is a security risk for the international community, the US Central Intelligence Agency believes that the terrorist group is among the top security threats for the US, Economic Times reported. The outgoing CIA chief Michael Hayden concluded that the LeT was among the top security challenges for the US. Hayden said in a television interview that al Qaeda has been increasing its links with terror organisations around the world and this was pushing the LeT to expand its scope of operation from India to Israel and America. "There was a migration in LeT thinking over the past 6, 12, 18 months, in which it began to identify the United States and Israel as much as being the main enemy as it has historically identified India… That is a troubling development. And this migration of LeT to a merge point (with al Qaeda) is probably taking place," he said.

February 5

32 persons were killed and 48 others wounded when a suspected suicide bomber blew himself amidst a crowd of Shia worshippers outside a mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan in the Punjab province. Police said the blast targeted dozens of people converging on the Al Hussainia Mosque after dark, shortly before a religious gathering. Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Police blamed sectarian extremists for the incident. "Ninety-nine percent it looks like a suicide attack… The explosion occurred just 50 feet short of the mosque. It is a terrorist attack aimed at Shias to create unrest," said Shaukat Javed, the Inspector General of Punjab Police.

Three women were killed in Swat District as Taliban continued their attack on people they consider to be pro-government. The women, Zarmina, Zarbibi and Farzana, were killed and three men were kidnapped when militants stormed their house in Dagai village and accused them of supporting security personnel manning the nearby Wenai bridge post.

A suicide attacker detonated an explosive-laden car near a Police station in the Mingora town in Swat District, injuring a dozen officers and destroying part of the building, said Dilawar Khan Bangash, the Police chief. Bangash said militants also fired three rockets before the attack and one damaged a nearby hotel.

Several banned militant groups met in Muzaffarabad, the Pakistan occupied Kashmir capital, and pledged to continue the jihad to "liberate" Kashmir from India. The meeting was organised by a previously unknown group, Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu and Kashmir, on the eve of "Kashmir Solidarity Day". Groups affiliated to the United Jihad Council (UJC), the umbrella organisation of more than a dozen militant outfits, were in attendance including the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). The meeting took place at Chattar, a neighbourhood that reportedly houses Government offices, top Government functionaries and political VIPs.

February 6

Army helicopter gunships killed 52 Taliban militants when they targeted hideouts in the Chapri and Feroz Khel areas along the border of Orakzai and Khyber Agencies. "Fifty-two militants were killed and a huge ammunition depot and eight vehicles were destroyed in an attack by army helicopters," Khyber Agency Political Agent Tariq Hayat told Reuters.

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a trailer carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan and injured seven persons in the Tedi Bazaar area of Jamrud sub-division. Eyewitnesses said the bomber was heading for Landikotal when the troops signaled him to stop. They said that he rammed his car into the trailer instead of stopping. Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar claimed responsibility for the attack. "It was our man who martyred himself in Jamrud… We warned the government to stop military operations in Khyber, Swat and other tribal areas, otherwise we will completely shut down the NATO supply line… We have shown that we can do that," said Omar.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared the detained nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan 'a free citizen', and disposed of his writ petition following a 'mutual agreement' between him and the federal Government which - according to the court - cannot be made public in line with a request by the petitioner and the respondent. During an in-chamber hearing, Syed Ali Zafar - representing AQ Khan - argued before the IHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam that his client's detention was unjustified, as "he was not involved in nuclear proliferation." He asked the court to declare his client a free citizen 'with due state protection' in line with the terms of the mutual agreement between AQ Khan and the Government. According to the court's one-page verdict, Dr Khan's counsel voluntarily accepted the terms and conditions offered by the Government in exchange for ending the detention of the scientist.

February 7

Eight Taliban militants were killed as shelling by helicopter gun ships continued in the Bajaur Agency. The troops were targeting Taliban hideouts in the Dama Dola, Mataro Sha, Umrai and Shinkot areas of Mamoond revenue division. Residents said the troops advanced from the agency headquarters in Khar and gained control of Siddiqabad, Rehmanabad and Anayat Qalay. They said the Taliban posed no resistance during the army deployment.

Suspected terrorists shot dead two Policemen and blew up a check post, killing five more, in an attack in the Mianwali District of Punjab. The attackers first killed the two Police guards and then blew up the check post with explosives in the town bordering the restive NWFP. "Seven of our men have died in the attack that appears to be part of terrorist activity being carried out by militants across the country," Malik Tasaddaq Hayat, a senior Police official in Minawali District said.

A previously unknown separatist group claimed responsibility for abducting an American working for the UN refugee agency in Balochistan. John Solecki, head of the UNHCR office in provincial capital Quetta, was abducted on February 2, after gunmen ambushed his car and shot dead his driver. A spokesman for a group called Balochistan Liberation United Front told a local news agency they had kidnapped the man to make the United Nations pay attention to the 'plight' of the Baluchi people. "We have three demands, and if our demands are not met, then John Solecki will lose his life," a spokesman, identifying himself as Shahak Baloch, told. "We want the United Nations to secure the release of 141 women in Pakistani torture cells, provide information about more than 6,000 missing persons, and resolve the issue of Baluch independence under the Geneva Convention."

February 8

SFs killed 22 Taliban militants during a military operation in the Inayat Qilay area of Khar sub-division in Bajaur Agency.

11 civilians and three SF personnel were killed in fierce clashes between the SFs and militants in different areas of the Swat District. A group of militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah ambushed a vehicle of the SFs in the Aligrama area of Kabal sub-division and killed three soldiers on the spot. Troops subsequently targeted suspected militant hideouts with artillery fire. Four persons were killed in heavy shelling and fire between the SFs and militants in Takhtaband area in the outskirts of Mingora city. Helicopter gunships were reportedly used to target militant positions. Three people were been killed and ten injured as mortar shells hit houses in the Shewar area of Matta sub-division. Further, a father and his son were killed and a woman was injured as mortar shell hit their house in the Sekhbanr area of Matta sub-division. In addition, the decapitated body of Habibullah was recovered in the Alam Ganj area of Khwazakhela sub-division. A motorcyclist was killed in firing in the Dherai area of Kabal.

Intelligence agencies have detained three men in Karachi over their alleged involvement with Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman alias Ajmal Kasab, the lone LeT militant arrested during the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. A source disclosed that intelligence agencies had taken the men into custody from different areas of Karachi in connection with their alleged affiliation with Kasab.

The CIA has reportedly told President Barack Obama that British-born Pakistani terrorists, who have extensive contacts with the LeT, are the biggest threat to the US. American intelligence chiefs have told the president that the CIA has launched a vast spying operation in Britain to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks being launched from Britain, the paper said. It said intelligence chiefs believe that a British-born Pakistani extremist entering the US under a current visa waiver program for all Britons is the most likely source of another terrorist attack on the American soil. A former CIA officer who had advised Obama told that the CIA had stepped up its British operations after the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai by the LeT, which has an extensive web of supporters in Britain, and is now as big a threat to the US and Britain as al Qaeda.

Taliban militants released a videotape showing the beheading of Polish geologist Poitr Stancza and warned other kidnapped foreigners would meet the same fate if their demands were not met. Before he was killed, the seven-minute video shows the blindfolded geologist making an appeal to the Polish Government not send troops to Afghanistan. He asked the Polish Government to sever diplomatic relations with Pakistan if it did not try to seek his release. The video includes a statement by the Taliban, claiming they had other foreign nationals in their custody, including a Chinese, who would be beheaded if the Government of Pakistan did not accept their demands. Stancza was kidnapped in September 2008 when he was on a visit to his company's site in Attock in the Punjab province.

February 9

26 persons, including 11 children and a soldier, were killed while 38 others sustained injuries when mortar shells hit some houses during ongoing clashes between SFs and militants in the Qasimkhel area of Darra Adamkhel in NWFP. Sources said militants fired three rockets at the Babozai check-post, killing a soldier, Mirdad, and injuring two others. SFs also retaliated and an exchange of fire continued for sometime, during which heavy weapons were reportedly used. Reports said several shells fell at the main gate of the Government Girls Primary School Qasimkhel and nearby houses on the outskirts of Darra Adamkhel.

Nine persons, including five militants, were killed and 11 others sustained injuries in artillery shelling and incidents of violence in the Swat District. Sources told that five militants and two civilians were killed and five others sustained injuries when gunship helicopters shelled the Engaro Dherai, Takhta Band and Ogaday areas near Mingora city. An artillery shell fired by the SFs hit the house of one Fazlullah in Chuprial area, killing his two children and injuring his wife and a child.

18 FC personnel were injured in a suicide attack on the Baran Pul check-post of the Frontier Reserve Police (FRP) in the jurisdiction of Bakkakhel police station in Bannu District. Sources said a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden mini truck hit the building of the FRP check-post at Baran Pul, injuring 18 FC soldiers.

10 people were killed while an unspecified number of them were wounded during clashes between two rival religious groups in the Terra valley of Khyber Agency. The groups, Ansar-ul-Islam and Lashkar-e-Islam, were reportedly using mortar guns, small missiles, rockets and other arms in the clashes.

SFs targeted suspected hideouts of the Taliban, killing six suspected militants and injuring several others, including women, in different parts of the Bajaur Agency. Military gunship helicopters targeted suspected hideouts in the Inayat Killay, Bade Samo, Bhai Cheena and Omari villages of the Khar sub-division. An official said six militants were killed in the shelling and several others sustained injuries.

The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) has said that a dossier of information given by India to Islamabad is 'insufficient' to make headway in a conclusive investigation into the Mumbai attacks, and called on India to provide substantial evidence. The committee met in Islamabad under Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to deliberate on the findings of an inquiry - conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) - into the Mumbai attacks. After a briefing on the progress of the inquiry based on the information provided by India, the DCC decided that a case should be registered and further investigations carried out. Sources told that the committee was of the unanimous view that the information provided by India was insufficient for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

December 10

SFs backed by helicopter gunships, killed 11 Taliban militants and destroyed many of their hideouts in the Bajaur Agency of FATA. The operation was launched on February 9 in the Inayat Qillay town, a suspected stronghold of the Taliban and al Qaeda-linked terrorists, after a rocket attack by the militants, military official Mustaqim Shah told. The rocket attack destroyed a shop but caused no casualties, he said. "Troops backed by helicopters retaliated with artillery and mortar fire, and destroyed several suspected locations. At least seven militants were killed," the official said. In addition, four militants were killed in an encounter with the SFs in Inayat Qilay town.

Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar said they had killed five security officials in a multi-pronged attack on Inayat Qillay. One tank was also destroyed in the attack, he claimed. Security officials, however, denied the claims.

Two US spy planes violated the Pakistani airspace and entered the limits of Landikotal sub-division of Khyber Agency. Eyewitnesses said two drones were seen hovering over Landikotal at about 7 pm, which continued flying for about half an hour.

The Swat-based Taliban leader Maulana Muhammad Alam alias Khalil has asked the people of Malakand division not to pay electricity bills. Announcing this on FM radio, Khalil said his militants would teach a lesson to those who tried to disconnect the power supply in the area. "We are demanding our rights but these are being denied. Therefore, the people of Malakand must not pay utility bills to the Government… We would either implement the Sharia [Islamic law] in Swat or embrace martyrdom," he said. He vowed to continue efforts for the Sharia enforcement and claimed that the uprising from Swat would spill over to the whole country.

US President Barack Obama asserted that his administration would not allow 'safe havens' for al Qaeda and the Taliban operating with 'impunity' in the Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan. "My bottom line is that we cannot allow al Qaeda to operate. We cannot have those safe havens in that region," said Obama at his first press conference after assuming office. "You've got the Taliban and Al Qaeda operating in the FATA and these border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan… What we haven't seen is the kind of concerted effort to root out those safe havens that would ultimately make our mission successful," he added. The President also noted that "It's not acceptable for Pakistan or for us to have folks who, with impunity, will kill innocent men, women and children. And you know, I believe that the new government of Pakistan ... cares deeply about getting control of this situation, and we want to be effective partners with them on that issue."

The fighting in the Tribal Areas can drive more than 600,000 people from their homes, the UNHCR said. Spokesman Ron Redmond said the UNHCR would ramp up its relief work in the county's northwest, where security has deteriorated sharply since 2008. "Latest estimates put the number of displaced people in the region at around 450,000, but the UN believes more than 600,000 could be displaced within weeks," he told a press briefing in Geneva. "UNHCR is encouraged by the safe arrival and return of the first UN convoy of supplies to this dangerous region of Pakistan where curfews and general insecurity hamper relief efforts," Redmond said.

February 11

Five suspected militants and a soldier were killed and several persons sustained injuries in clashes and bombing by the Pakistan Air Force fighter planes in Bajaur Agency. Military sources said warplanes targeted positions of militants in Inayat Killay, Bhai Cheena and Mamond subdivision, a stronghold of the militants led by TTP deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad. Sources said the troops had also cleared major parts of Inayat Killay and Bhai Cheena towns of militants. Independent sources reported fierce fighting between the militants and SFs around Inayat Killay in which officials said five militants and a soldier were killed.

The chief of the banned outfit Ansar-ul-Islam (AI), Qazi Mehboobul Haq, claimed to have taken complete control of Bar Qambar Khel after burning several houses of the opponents at the remote Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency. Addressing on his private FM radio, he said the flag of AI was hoisted on Tortoot in the Bara sub-division, as the area of Qambarkhel came under the control of his group.

Alamzeb Khan, a Member of Provincial Assembly from the ruling Awami National Party (ANP), was killed in a remote-controlled bomb blast in Momin Town in Peshawar, the NWFP capital. The blast, which also injured seven others, including the driver, the gunman and personal assistant of the legislator, occurred on the day the newly-appointed special US envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, was paying a visit to the city and the adjacent Khyber Agency.

Three soldiers were killed and several others were injured during clashes between SFs and militants in the Charbagh area of Swat District.

Five attackers who targeted the Afghan Justice Ministry building amid a wave of coordinated suicide attacks had contacted Pakistan shortly before being shot dead, the Afghan intelligence chief said. Mobile phones found at the scene showed the attackers had "sent three messages to Pakistan calling for the blessings of their mastermind" as they entered the building, Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh said. All five attackers were shot dead, the Defence Ministry said. The five attackers were aged between 20 and 25, Saleh added. Taliban militants wearing suicide vests stormed the Justice Ministry and another Government building in Afghanistan's capital, killing 26 persons. Eight attackers also died in the assaults, including an attacker outside a third Government building, Defence Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.

The TTP threatened to destroy all educational institutions in Bajaur Agency if the Government did not withdraw SFs stationed in Government schools in the region within three days.

Austria's interior ministry said it had no evidence that the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008 might have been planned in Austria, as reported in the media. "We have nothing that would justify our launching an investigation," ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said. "We have not been informed (of these claims) by either Pakistan or India and moreover, we have not received any requests for an investigation," he added. An Austrian newspaper quoted Indian media reports according to which Pakistan's investigation into the attacks had found that they were planned in Austria and Dubai. An Austrian link to the attacks was also mentioned in December 2008 following reports that the militants had used an Austrian telephone number.

February 12

Pakistan acknowledged for the first time that the Mumbai terrorist attacks were partly planned in Pakistan and that it has arrested six suspects, including the "main operator". In its first detailed response to the dossier provided by India, Pakistan said criminal cases had been registered against nine suspects on charges of "abetting, conspiracy and facilitation" of a terrorist act. However, it said more evidence is required from India, including DNA samples of Ajmal Kasab, the lone LeT militant arrested during the attack, to establish his identity. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told the media that FIR No: 01/009 had been lodged with the Special Investigation Group in the Federal Investigation Agency against nine suspects. The Pakistani investigators have identified Hammad Amin Sadiq as the alleged 'mastermind' of the whole conspiracy. Malik said the cases against nine persons had been registered under the Anti-Terror Act and the Cyber Crime Act and they would be tried under these two sets of laws. He said six of the nine accused named in the FIR have already been arrested and being interrogated, two have been identified but not arrested so far while investigations are still under way into the possible involvement of the ninth accused. He identified those arrested as Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a LeT 'commander' who was arrested from Muzaffarabad soon after the Indian Government alleged that the LeT was responsible for the Mumbai attacks, Javed Iqbal, who was arrested from Barcelona in Spain, Hammad Amin Sadiq, believed to be the main operator belonging to southern Punjab, Zarar Shah, Mohammad Ashfaq and Abu Hamza. The name of Ajmal Kasab is reportedly not included in the FIR. He also said some of those arrested by the security agencies of Pakistan for possible involvement in the Mumbai attacks belong to the LeT.

Five persons were killed and 12 others sustained injuries during the ongoing military operation in Swat District.

The SFs claimed to have killed four militants during a clash following an attack on a check-post in the Shandai Mor area of Bajaur Agency. Military sources said the militants attacked the check-post with rocket launchers and other heavy weapons. The SFs deployed at the check-post repulsed the attack and the ensuing clashes between Taliban militants and troops left four militants dead.

Interior Adviser Rehman Malik has said that a money exchange company in Islamabad was involved in transferring money to a suspect of the Mumbai attacks in Spain. The money was transferred through Paracha International Exchange's Euro 2005 branch in Islamabad to Javed Iqbal in Barcelona. The branch was later found sealed.

A UN official expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by Pakistan in compliance with the UN's sanctions on JuD. Security Council Coordinator Richard Barrett said he had discussed the implementation of the Security Council's decision to sanction the JuD with Pakistani officials. He said he would visit Islamabad soon to make an assessment of Pakistan's actions. Earlier, he told reporters at a press conference that it was difficult to implement the sanctions completely, adding that the group was involved in charitable activities and running schools and clinics.

The banned LeT is reported to have condemned the Government for filing a case against some of the group's top operatives. "We strongly condemn the lodging of the FIR [First Information Report] against LeT," Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi told over the telephone. The case was brought to 'win appreciation' from India and the US and to "implement India's agenda of suppressing the people's struggle for freedom in Kashmir", said Ghaznavi. The Government has lodged a FIR against eight suspects, including the presumed mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

A close aide of Baitullah Mehsud and senior commander of the banned TTP claimed responsibility for the February 11 suicide attack on the Awami National Party (ANP) Member of Provincial Assembly, Alam Zeb Khan, in Peshawar. "We carried out this attack and will continue such attacks on ANP leaders in future," Hakeemullah Mehsud, who heads the TTP in Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber tribal regions, said in telephone calls to media offices in Peshawar.

February 13

Five persons, including a security official, were killed and several others sustained injuries in the Swat District.

The Taliban, who killed Polish national Piotr Stanczak last week, are now demanding US$200,000 for return of the body. According to sources in the Interior Ministry, the Taliban have not directly contacted the Government but conveyed to Poland through a private negotiator that they will not hand over the body until they are paid the amount. The official confirmation of the Polish engineer's killing came late on February 13-night from the Foreign Ministry after the authorities were able to verify through a number of independent sources that he was beheaded by his captors last week.

Kidnappers of an American working for the UNHCR in Pakistan released a video in which he pleaded for the UN to help secure his release. John Solecki, head of the office of the UNHCR in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, was abducted on February 2, after gunmen ambushed his car and shot dead his driver. Solecki appeared blindfolded and said his message was to the UN. "I am not feeling well. I am sick. I am in trouble. Please help to resolve the problem soon so I can gain my release," he said. The video was delivered by mail to the office of a local news agency and seen by a Reuter's reporter.

The Government has no alternative except to use force against the Taliban to end militancy in the country, President Asif Ali Zardari said while vowing to eliminate the insurgents. He was addressing a meeting jointly presided over by the president and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to review the situation in FATA and Swat. Zardari said the Taliban wanted to impose their political agenda on the people of Pakistan through use of force, adding that the Government and the people would never allow a handful of insurgents to do so.

The CIA's unmanned Predator aircraft striking terrorist targets in the FATA are flown from an airbase inside Pakistan, a senior US lawmaker said. The disclosure by Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, marked the first time a US official had publicly commented on where the Predator aircraft patrolling Pakistan take off and land. At a hearing during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee by US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, she said, "As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base." The CIA, however, declined to comment. A spokesman for Feinstein said her comment was based solely on previous news reports that Predators were operated from bases near Islamabad.

February 14

Two missiles fired by the suspected US drones killed 28 Taliban militants, including foreign nationals, at South Waziristan. "We lost 28 mujahideen in the missile attack… The drone fired two missiles and several 'guests' are among the dead," Taliban sources in Ladah said. Two Arab nationals, some local Taliban militants and a number of Uzbek nationals were reportedly killed in the strike.

Militants have set free a Chinese engineer they had kidnapped six months ago from Lower Dir District. Long Xiaowei, who worked for a Chinese mobile phone company, was handed over to officials in the Shamozai area of Bari Kot subdivision of Swat District in the evening of February 14 and he was immediately taken to Islamabad where the Chinese Embassy confirmed his release. Sources told in Peshawar that Xiaowei had been released on payment of a huge amount of money as ransom, but the militants' spokesman Muslim Khan said in Swat that the engineer had been freed as a goodwill gesture.

February 15

Eight persons, including six Taliban militants, were killed and four injured during an operation launched by the SFs in the Mamond sub-division of Bajaur Agency. The SFs bombed the Taliban hideouts with jet fighters and destroyed several hideouts during the operation.

The Bajaur chapter of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) demanded immediate implementation of the Sharia (Islamic law) in the Agency and in return assured the Government of its co-operation to establish a complete writ of the state, demanding the Army to stay in the region till reconstruction work was completed.

Four members of a family, including a minor, were killed in the Swat District. Sources said a shell fired by the SFs hit a house in the Hazara area of Kabal sub-division, killing four members and wounding 10 others of a family.

The Taliban of Swat announced a 10-day cease-fire after the Government and the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) reached an understanding about promulgating Sharia (Islamic law), termed 'Nizam-i-Adl Regulation', in Malakand region. "Taliban have declared a unilateral cease-fire for 10 days as a goodwill gesture. Our fighters will not attack security personnel and Government installations," Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said. However, he said, the militants would hold their positions and defend themselves if attacked. He welcomed the move to enforce Sharia regulations in Malakand, but added: "We will see how sincere the Government is in their enforcement."

February 16

The NWFP Government formally announced the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) known as the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009 in Malakand Division and Kohistan District. "The provincial Government in consultation with all political parties, Sufi Muhammad and Ulema with the approval of Federal Government introduced changes in the 1999 Nizam-e-Adl Regulation. Today I announce promulgation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (Amended) 2009… The regulations will be implemented in Malakand following the return of peace and restoration of writ of the Government," NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti told a press conference after chairing a jirga (council of elders) in Peshawar. The jirga was attended by a 29-member Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) delegation from Dir, leaders and representatives of political and religious parties, members of the NWFP cabinet and senior bureaucrats. He said the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 had been approved by President Asif Zardari following consultation with TNSM representatives.

"We will reciprocate the militants' 10-day armistice with a cease-fire for good," the Chief Minister said. Hoti also said troops would remain in "reactive mode" instead of "proactive mode" and would not target anyone unless threatened. He said the army should be removed only after peace has been restored. Troops would play their role in reconstruction and rehabilitation, he added. He said the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009 were in line with the Constitution of Pakistan as it was the amended form of the regulations proposed for Malakand in 1994 and 1999. He said the new system had been devised to provide easy and speedy justice for the people. He said both the Qazi and the police department would be held accountable for any delay. He announced that all civil cases would be resolved within six months and all criminal cases would be decided within a maximum of four months. For its implementation, Hoti said, a task force comprising the federal secretary interior, the NWFP chief secretary, the provincial presidents of the ANP and the PPP, the law and home secretaries, would be established. Sources told that the TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad would head a jirga to Swat in the next two days to discuss the restoration of peace with the residents and Taliban.

30 suspected militants were killed and three others sustained injuries in a missile strike on a refugee camp in the Kurram Agency. The three missiles believed to have been fired from a US unmanned aircraft destroyed a house used by a local Taliban commander. It was the first known drone strike in Kurram. However, political authorities have only confirmed 18 deaths from four missiles fired by two unmanned aircraft, while the local Taliban have claimed a death toll of 12. "Afghan Taliban were holding an important meeting there when the missiles were fired," an intelligence official in the area told Reuters.

SFs are reported to have killed five militants and injured several others during shelling by jetfighters in various parts of the Bajaur Agency. Five suspected militants were killed and several others injured when jetfighters of the Pakistan Air Force targeted hideouts in the Khar and Mamond sub-divisions. Several underground bunkers of the militants were also destroyed in the attack.

The BLUF, which claims to have kidnapped American UN official John Solecki, said, it had extended a 72-hour deadline for the Government to meet demands for his release. "We have decided to extend the deadline on the appeal of our honourable Baloch leaders," a BLUF spokesman told via telephone at the Quetta Press Club. "A new deadline will be announced later."

President Asif Ali Zardari will not sign documents of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 until peace is restored in Swat, Malakand, and other troubled areas, Federal Information Minister Sherry Rehman said. "The Government will monitor the situation, as security and well-being of Swat is top priority," Sherry said in a statement following an agreement between the NWFP Government and the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM).

The centre has released PKR 623 million to the NWFP and FATA administration to provide compensation to the victims of militancy, an official announcement said. President Asif Zardari is reported to have termed the victims of militancy as national heroes and advised the NWFP Government to immediately undertake payment of compensation to their families. PKR 283 million have been released for the FATA and another PKR 340 million for the NWFP Government to compensate the families of the victims of suicide bombings and acts of terror. Under the compensation programme, PKR 300,000 will be paid for every fatality and PKR 100,000 for the injured.

February 17

SFs killed six Taliban militants during their ongoing operation to target suspected hideouts in Bajaur Agency. "Six militants were killed and scores injured during shelling by gunship helicopters in Inayat Qilay, Bhaicheena and Umerey areas in Mamoond tehsil," an unnamed official said.

Five people were killed and 17 injured in a car bomb blast outside the Hujra (male guest house) of the union council chief in Bazidkhel village of Peshawar. Faheemur Rahman, the union council chief of Bazidkhel, eight kilometres south of Peshawar on Kohat Road, alleged that the Mangal Bagh-led LI was involved in this "cheap act" of terrorism. Eyewitnesses said the blast occurred in a car parked on a street near the Hujra of Rahman. The blast also destroyed two cars and damaged six buildings.

The implementation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009 in Malakand Division will not affect the Government’s policy on the war against terror, President Asif Ali Zardari said. During a meeting with the visiting Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, he said the agreement between the Taliban and the NWFP Government was one part of an overall strategy for peace, a private TV channel reported.

February 18

SFs claimed killing nine Taliban militants by bombing their suspected hideouts in the Mamoond sub-division of Bajaur Agency.

A North Waziristan Agency Taliban ‘commander’ ordered the Taliban to halt sabotage activities in the settled districts of the NWFP to facilitate a religious congregation in the Bannu District of the province. Taliban commander Gul Bahadar’s spokesman, Ahmedullah Ahmadi, announced the directive in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan. "All Taliban have been directed to stop attacks on Government installations to facilitate the congregation in Bannu District," Ahmadi said in a press statement. According to the Taliban spokesman, a unilateral cease-fire would be in place until March 5.

A TV and print media journalist was found dead hours after he was abducted in Swat. Musa Khankhel, correspondent for The News and a private TV channel, Geo News, was covering a ‘peace march’ led by Maulana Sufi Mohammed, chief of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in Matta when he was kidnapped and later found dead, said Mingora-based journalists.

The TNSM chief Sufi Mohammed led hundreds of supporters and activists in a march to plead peace with the leadership of the Swat-based Taliban. Before leaving for the Matta sub-division of Swat District, Sufi and his activists staged a peace rally in Mingora town. Police and witnesses estimated that 15,000 people marched in the crowd, waving black and white flags as they paraded through the town. The TNSM spokesman said Sufi Mohammad would stay in Swat District till the complete restoration of peace in the valley and surrender by the Taliban.

More than 300,000 people in the northwest region of the country have been displaced over the last six months because of fighting between Taliban and SF, officials said. A total of 55,729 displaced families, or 337,772 individuals, have been registered by the authorities, Shaukat Tahir, a senior official from the National Disaster Management Authority, told a press conference in Islamabad. Around 70 per cent of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) were from the FATA on the border with Afghanistan, Tahir said, stressing that people were now beginning to return. He said people had left their homes because of an "ongoing operation in tribal areas". They were now returning "because roads have mostly been reopened and the military authorities have cleared the mines," he said.

The JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar and gangster Dawood Ibrahim are not in Pakistan, the Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said. Pakistan will not provide protection and refuge to any criminal, including Ibrahim, Malik told reporters on the sidelines of an official function in Lahore.

The CIA is using the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan to launch the Predator drones that attack al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan, the London-based The Times has claimed. The CIA has been using the airfield - originally built by Arab sheikhs for falconry expeditions - for at least a year. In its investigation, the newspaper is reported to have focused on the unexplained delivery of 730,000 gallons of F34 aviation fuel to Shamsi in 2008. The Defence Energy Support Centre Website reportedly shows that a civilian company was contracted to deliver the fuel, worth $3.2 million, from Pakistan Refineries near Karachi. However, the CIA and Pentagon declined to comment on the issue. Major General Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman of Pakistan, confirmed that US forces were using Shamsi. "The airfield is being used only for logistics," he said.

February 19

14 militants were killed and several others injured when SFs shelled suspected hideouts of militants in different areas of the Bajaur Agency. Official sources said that SFs targeted hideouts of militants in the Inayat Killay, Bhai Cheena and Shinkot areas of Khar sub-division with gunship helicopters and artillery.

The Swat Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah discussed with the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad the Swat peace deal in a meeting at an undisclosed location in the Matta sub-division of the Swat District. TNSM spokesman Izzat Khan Sufi and his delegation tried to convince Fazlullah and other Taliban leaders to disarm. He also said the TNSM chief told the Taliban that he too had given up his protest after the announcement that Sharia (Islamic law) would be implemented in the Malakand Division.

The militants involved in 9/11, the Mumbai attacks and unrest in Swat have common roots, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke told a meeting in Washington. In the meeting to review the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation, he said the US was troubled and confused about the development in the Swat valley. According to a TV channel, Holbrook said in an interview that progress in the Swat valley was not an encouraging trend and that the US would not like militants to get hold of any territory in Pakistan. According to another news channel, Holbrooke also said victory in Afghanistan was not achievable in purely military terms. Reducing tensions between India and Pakistan was imperative to get Pakistan more focused on the terrorism war along the border with Afghanistan, Holbrooke reportedly told a US TV channel.

The US State Department said the US was interested in seeing results of anti-terrorism efforts in Pakistan and will continue to stay in touch with Pakistani officials over the Swat peace arrangement. Deputy spokesman Gordon Duguid said: "These types of deals have happened before and (in that context) the direction of events in Swat valley are not in going in a positive way. What we do want to see is results."

February 20

32 persons were killed and 145 others injured when a suicide bomber exploded himself in the funeral procession of a slain employee of the Tehsil Municipal Administration near the busy Shubra Square in Dera Ismail Khan. Sources said the funeral procession of local Shia community leader Sher Zaman alias Shera, who was killed in firing by unidentified persons on February 19, was heading towards Kotly Imam Hussain for his Namaz-e-Janaza (funeral prayer) and burial when a suicide bomber ran into the mourners and blew himself up. "We cannot immediately say who could be behind the bombing but it appeared to be linked with the ongoing sectarian attacks," said Saadullah Khan, the local police station chief. Riots broke out in the city following the blast, and Police confirmed that two people were killed in the firing that followed the suicide bombing.

SFs fired mortar shells at suspected hideouts of the Taliban in various areas of the Mamoond and Khar sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency, killing four Taliban militants, including a commander, and injuring several others.

The US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan said he called President Asif Ali Zardari expressed US concern over the Swat peace deal, which he said was ‘hard to understand’. Richard Holbrooke said in an interview with CNN that Zardari assured him the pact was an "interim arrangement" to stabilise the restive region. "He (Zardari) does not disagree that the people who are running Swat now are murderous thugs and militants and they pose a danger not only to Pakistan but to the United States," said Holbrooke. "I am concerned, and I know that Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton is and the president is, that this deal which is portrayed in the press as a truce does not turn into a surrender… President Zardari has assured us this is not the case," said Holbrooke.

The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that Washington could accept a political agreement between the Afghan Government and the Taliban militants along the lines of a truce in neighbouring Pakistan. When asked if Pakistan succeeds in pacifying the militant activity in Swat, the United States would allow Afghans to make a similar type of agreement, Gates replied: "If there is a reconciliation, if insurgents are willing to put down their arms, if the reconciliation is essentially on the terms being offered by the government, then I think we would be very open to that. We have said all along that ultimately some sort of political reconciliation has to be part of the long-term solution in Afghanistan."

Top Taliban leaders from North and South Waziristan met to forge an alliance. Sources said that the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and Taliban leaders Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar met at an undisclosed location in Waziristan and agreed to form an alliance. The three Taliban leaders have reportedly formed a 13-member committee and authorised it to make ‘all decisions’. They also agreed that they would jointly defend attacks against them, and make plans in consultation with the committee.

A breakthrough is reported to have occurred during talks between the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Mohammed and Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, Dawn quoted a TNSM spokesman as saying. Separately, the Taliban said they would probably extend the cease-fire in Swat. Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said "Hopefully, you’ll hear good news in one or two days."

February 21

Eight suspected Taliban militants were killed in firing by helicopter gunships and artillery shelling by the SFs in the Bajaur Agency of FATA.

Two suicide bombers were killed when their explosives-laden car blew up before hitting its intended target in the Lakki town of Bannu District in the NWFP.

February 22

Four militants were killed and three others sustained injuries in the ongoing military operation in different areas of Khar and Mamond sub-divisions of the Bajaur Agency. Sources said SFs shelled suspected hideouts of militants in the Inayat Kellay, Bad-e-Samor, Bhai Cheena and Shinkot areas of Khar sub-division and some areas of Mamond subdivision with gunship helicopters, artillery and mortar guns. At least four militants were killed and three others injured in the latest military action, the sources said.

The Swat Private School Management Association Chairman Ahmed Shah said all the private educational institutions would be opened on February 23, but girls would go to schools in veil.

Taliban have formed a new alliance, Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen, in the North and South Waziristan as formal announcement to this effect came. Sources told that the new alliance would comprise the groups led by central chief of banned TTP, Baitullah Mahsud, and the two reportedly pro-government commanders Maulvi Nazir of South Waziristan and Hafiz Gul Bahadur of North Waziristan. The three, according to sources, met at an undisclosed location and decided to resolve their differences to foil the external forces’ designs for dividing the multiple Taliban groups based in Pakistan. They formed a 13-member Shura (executive council) to run the affairs of the new alliance.

The Taliban said they would decide within days whether to call a permanent cease-fire in Swat after the Government agreed to allow Sharia (Islamic law) in the valley. Muslim Khan, spokesman for Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah, said they would review their current 10-day truce in the Swat valley when it expires. "We declared a 10-day cease-fire just after the agreement was signed and you will see an exemplary peace prevail in the valley once Sharia is enforced… In the next five or six days, our Shura [executive council] is meeting and it will decide about a permanent ceasefire," said Khan. Fazlullah said the cease-fire would be made permanent provided the militants were confident about the Government’s intentions. He was speaking after talks with the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Mohammed, who signed the deal with the Government. Sufi held a meeting with close aides in Mingora to review the situation, his spokesman Ameer Izzat said. Fazlullah indicated that he would give up fighting in Swat but would not surrender. Fazlullah also stated that he would continue his struggle at the international level and the fight against the US till Washington was defeated. Commissioner of the Malakand Division, Syed Muhammad Javed, told the media that the cease-fire would now be permanent. "Yes, both sides will observe a permanent cease-fire," Javed said. Fazlullah also reportedly made the same announcement on the truce in his address.

February 23

The Taliban in Bajaur Agency announced a unilateral cease-fire and secretly signed a peace accord with the Government, pledging to remain peaceful. Following the signing of the accord, in which the Government reportedly announced amnesty for the Taliban, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, Taliban commander in Bajaur and deputy leader of the Baitullah Mehsud-led TTP, announced a unilateral cease-fire through his FM radio. He directed his cadres to stop fighting the Security Forces and help restore peace in Bajaur as an understanding had been reached with the Government. However, the military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said they had heard about the militants’ announcement of a truce but the Government had not yet reciprocated.

Maulana Sufi Muhammad, chief of the banned TNSM, announced a 10-point peace plan for Swat in a press conference in Mingora. Sufi asked the Taliban to remove all their check-posts and not to display arms in the Swat valley. He asked the Government to withdraw troops from schools and other buildings and stop all military operations immediately. He also called on the Taliban and Government to release each others prisoners. The TNSM chief asked employees of the District administration to resume their duties, and the Government to reinstate such Frontier Corps, Police and Government officials who had been dismissed during the past few years. He also demanded immediate compensation for the people of Swat, inviting the NWFP Chief Minister to visit the valley to make an announcement in this regard.

Schools reopened in Mingora and other areas of Swat, but girls’ attendance at both the Government and private schools remained thin. The Swat District Coordination Officer Khushhal Khan said arrangements would soon be made to rebuild the schools that had been destroyed.

The military operation in Swat has been stopped and the Pakistan Army fully supports the peace deal as an instrument to find a non-military solution to the problem, the Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General Major General Athar Abbas said while addressing a seminar. "Pakistan Army ... has backed the Swat peace deal to strengthen the hands of the political government," he said, adding that the security of the state was the military’s top priority.

February 24

A Shia trader and three of his sons were shot dead in an apparent sectarian attack in Quetta, capital of Balochistan. Ghulab Shah, a hardware trader of Afghan origin, was returning home with his six sons at about 8pm when four gunmen ambushed his car on the high-security Sariab Road. Shah and three of his sons died instantly, while two of them were injured.

The Taliban in Swat declared an indefinite cease-fire in the valley. The decision was made in a meeting of the Taliban shura (executive council), Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said. Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah announced the decision in a speech that was reportedly cut short when the SFs blocked the transmission of his FM radio channel. Fazlullah asked his men to stop displaying weapons, end their armed patrols and not to attack security convoys or abduct Government officials, according to copies of the speech sent to the media. He urged the Government to restore all officials removed during the unrest in Swat. Fazlullah ordered his commanders to disband their checkpoints, which he said created "unnecessary problems" for residents. The Taliban chief also stopped all non-government organisations (NGOs) from operating in the valley until the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law). "All NGOs should leave Swat because they are creating problems for peace," Fazlullah said in the speech. But he added that emergency medical crews were exempt from the order. Fazlullah called on soldiers deployed in Swat to remain at their bases, vowing to retaliate against any troop increases.

The SFs suspended their operations in Bajaur Agency and agreed to hold fire for four days. "Security forces have decided to observe a four-day ceasefire across Bajaur," Political Agent Safirullah Khan told reporters. He described the decision as a "goodwill gesture" made at the request of tribal elders. A source said tribal leaders wanted to hold talks with Taliban in order to negotiate a permanent peace in the area. "The security forces reserve the right to retaliate if they come under attack," Khan said. The TTP leader Maulvi Faqir Muhammad had declared a unilateral truce in Bajaur late on February 23. He said in a radio broadcast that his men had vacated Inayat Killay, a Taliban stronghold outside Bajaur’s main town of Khar.

The chief of the US FBI has said that the ‘main threat of global terrorism’ is coming from the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to a Voice of America programme, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on February 23 that another threat could come from militants recruited on US soil. He said the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 had raised concern about whether a similar attack could be carried out elsewhere. "This type of an attack reminds us that terrorists with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons to maximise their impact," said Mueller at the Council on Foreign Relations. He said the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan posed the ‘greatest threat’ of terror attacks.

February 25

Taliban disbanded checkpoints and stopped carrying weapons in public a day after announcing an indefinite cease-fire in the Swat valley. Taliban commander Mullah Fazlullah ordered his followers to disband checkpoints in a speech on his illegal FM radio station late on February 24 and asked them not to carry weapons in public. "The Taliban have removed their checkpoints in and around Mingora," Irfan Ahmad, a resident of Swat, said. Another Swat resident, Mushtaq Khan, said checkpoints have been removed from Matta, Charbagh and Kabal, all Taliban strongholds. "We adhere to the announcement made by Mullah Fazlullah on Tuesday night… We will completely remove all checkpoints after army troops withdraw from the area," said Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan. Fazlullah announced that the Taliban would not attack army vehicles carrying rations or moving between bases. Khan also said girls could go to schools if they are properly veiled.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan announced full support to the Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) if the SFs started an operation against the LI in Khyber Agency. The Bara-based TTP leader Hamza Afridi told reporters by telephone from an undisclosed location that they would support the LI in the agency if the SFs launched an operation against it. He also said the Taliban would not abandon LI chief Mangal Bagh.

The Taliban in Swat valley received PKR 480 million ($6 million) in compensation from the Government after agreeing to a cease-fire with the Security Forces. The amount was paid from a special fund of President Asif Ali Zardari, a senior security official said. "It is compensation for those who were killed during military operations and compensation for the properties destroyed by the security forces", he added. "The amount has been paid through a backchannel," he added.

February 26

SFs have vacated all checkpoints in the Swat valley as part of the ongoing efforts to restore peace and stopped checking vehicles forthwith. TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad had asked the troops to demolish all the checkpoints to ensure free movement of the people. He had also asked the Taliban to direct their fighters to stop their activities and display of weapons at public places. However, the sources said militants were still blocking the movement of SFs in Qamber and Takhtaband.

February 27

Naval Chief of Staff Admiral Nauman Bashir said he had no proof that Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman alias Kasab - the lone LeT militant arrested after the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008 - used Pakistani waters to reach India. "I do not have any proof, so I cannot confirm that claim," said Nauman while addressing a press conference in Karachi. "The Indian navy is much larger than ours, and if Ajmal Kasab had gone from here, then what were their coastguards doing and why they did not stop the terrorists?" the naval commander was quoted. Nauman declined further comment on the Mumbai attacks.

The Government of India, however, rejected the Pakistan Navy chief's claim. "The dossier handed over to Pakistan was irrefutable and solid on facts," Home Minister P. Chidambaram was quoted as saying at a press conference. The Union Minister of External Affairs, Anand Sharma, also rejected the naval chief's claim, and said Pakistan was engaging in 'multiple speak, duplicity and denial' and had 'created this confusion'.

March 1

Two missiles, fired by a US spy plane, killed 12 people and injured three others in the South Waziristan Agency. Sources said two missiles were fired by a drone at around 4:00 pm (PST) that hit a house in Ganra Haibatkhel village of Sararogha sub-division, a stronghold of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. The house was destroyed in the attack, leaving 12 people dead and three injured. The compound had underground bunkers and was in the area controlled by Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud's tribe, an unnamed official said. "It was a Taliban sanctuary," he said. Citing field informants, other intelligence officials told the Associated Press the compound was a training facility. At least four of the dead were foreigners, they said. This was the fourth missile strike by unmanned US aircraft since President Barack Obama came to power.

The SFs claimed to have forced militants out of Bajaur Agency and advanced towards strongholds of the Taliban in the region. "We think that we have secured this agency," said Major General Tariq Khan, the commander of forces fighting in Bajaur. "They have lost. They have lost their cohesion out here," Khan told reporters flown by helicopters from Islamabad.

SFs killed seven militants in an encounter in the Ghurzandi area of Lachi sub-division in Kohat District of NWFP. Sources said SFs cordoned off the Ghurzandi, Hoti Banda and Chashmi Miangan areas in an attempt to arrest the militants, who were allegedly involved in incidents of kidnapping for ransom and murder. The militants allegedly opened fire on the troops, injuring a soldier identified as Irfan Sajjad. In retaliatory action by the SFs, seven militants were killed and five others wounded.

The Taliban network can strike the financial and shipping hub of Karachi, according to a report prepared by the city''s CID Special Branch. The Taliban "could take the city hostage at any point", according to Police in the report submitted to the Sindh Government and provincial police chief. The Taliban, which has already attacked Islamabad and Rawalpindi, has established hideouts in Karachi, the report said. It said Taliban militants have "huge caches" of weapons and ammunition and could strike, possibly in a manner similar to the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008. Police said that the Taliban had systematically infiltrated Karachi. The Police report provides details about secret Taliban hideouts and their presence in areas like Sohrab Goth and Quaidabad. Besides living in small motels in these areas, the militants are hiding in the hills of Manghopir and Orangi town and in other low-income areas and slums, the Daily Times quoted the Police report as saying. It also quoted sources as saying that the deputy chief of the banned TTP, Hasan Mahmood, was hiding in Karachi.

The TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Mohammed warned he wanted Islamic courts set up in two weeks. He said he was not happy over the fact that there had been no tangible progress since February 16 when the NWFP Government agreed to implement the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations 2009. "The Government announced enforcement of Sharia [Islamic law] but so far no practical step has been taken and we are not satisfied… I'm not seeing any practical steps for the implementation of the peace agreement, except for ministers visiting Swat and uttering words," Sufi told reporters in Swat's main town Mingora. The cleric said he was also unhappy over a delay in an exchange of prisoners and urged both the Taliban and the Government to release people they were holding by March 10. "If the Government does not appoint Qazis [Islamic judges] by March 15, and the two sides do not release prisoners in their custody, we will set up protest camps," he said. He also said armed patrol by either side would not be allowed after March 1, and anybody who violated the truce would be charged and punished in line with the Sharia.

March 2

Six people were killed and several others, mostly students, sustained injuries in a suicide attack on a madrassa (seminary) in Kili Karbala in the Pishin District. The Jamaat-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazlur Rehman faction JUI-F) provincial chief Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani, the Balochistan Assembly Deputy Speaker Syed Matiullah Agha and provincial ministers belonging to the party were attending a ceremony at the seminary when a 15-year-old boy blew himself up in front of the stage. However, all the JUI-F leadership escaped unhurt. District Police Officer Akbar Raisani confirmed the incident saying that the blast had occurred at a girls’ madrassa in Kili Karbala, where Shirani was scheduled to address the school’s convocation. According to eyewitnesses, two men had come to the seminary for the bombing but one of them escaped immediately after the first explosion.

Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the Marriott blast that took place in Islamabad on September 20, 2008, and threatened to attack the Saudi Airlines’ offices, and important installations in Pakistan. An Interior Ministry source said that the Saudi embassy had received a message through an email in which al Qaeda had threatened to target Saudi Airlines’ offices and other important installations. According to the channel, immediately after al Qaeda’s threat, the federal Government directed the Punjab Government to beef up security.

All major terrorist networks have a safe haven in Pakistan to operate creating a big "problem" to the US war against terror, Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said. "I think it''s the safe haven on the Pakistani side of the border, not just for Al-Qaeda but for the Taliban for the Hakani network, for Gulbaddin Hekmatyar and other affiliated groups that are all working together they''re separate groups, but they''re all working together, and I think as long as they have a safe haven to operate there, it’s going to be a problem for us," Gates told the MSNBC news channel in an interview. Gates, who met with Pakistani Army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani last week in Washington, said the Pakistan leadership now knows that what is going on in their tribal region is very dangerous for their country.

March 3

Sri Lankan cricketers narrowly escaped a terrorist attack when terrorists ambushed the bus carrying them to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third day’s play of the second Test. At least seven persons - six policemen escorting the Sri Lankans and the driver of another van in the convoy - were killed and 20 others wounded in the attack near the Liberty roundabout, 500 metres from the stadium. Seven Sri Lankan players were among the wounded. Two of them - Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana - were hospitalised for a few hours with bullet injuries. Doctors later reported they were out of danger. The other injured players were skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilina Thushara and Suranga Lokumal. All of them escaped with minor injuries. A British coach, Paul Farbrace, and a Pakistani umpire, Ahsan Raza, were also injured in the attack. Police claimed at least 12 terrorists, who appeared to be highly trained and used rocket launchers, hand-grenades and sophisticated automatic guns in the operation lasting about 30 minutes, were involved in the attack. The attackers subsequently escaped from the incident site after commandeering a car and rickshaw. Police found a large quantity of hand-grenades, rocket launchers, suicide jackets, plastic explosives, time devices, Kalashnikov rifles, pistols and walkie-talkies left at different places in a radius of a few furlongs by the attackers. Police also seized three hand-grenades, a time device and a Kalashnikov from the backyard of the house of a retired army officer and several other weapons from near the Alfatah Departmental Store in Makka Colony and other adjacent places. They also seized a car parked near the Liberty Park with a huge-quantity of grenades and Kalashnikovs.

Five Shias were killed in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, when unidentified assailants attacked members of a family in the city - taking the death toll from sectarian attacks in a single week to 12. According to Police, the assailants ambushed a van carrying the Shia family on the eastern bypass of Quetta – killing five people on the spot. The slain civilians were returning to Quetta from the Mach area when they were targeted. "It is a target killing," Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Wazir Khan Nasar said. Although no group claimed responsibility for the incident, the killings are reported to be part of a series of sectarian attacks that started in Quetta a couple of months ago. The banned Sunni terrorist group, LeJ, has accepted responsibility for most of the recent attacks.

Four unidentified bodies presumed to be of foreign militants were recovered in the Babu Khwar Muslimabad area of Nowshera. The Cantonment Police inspector Shakeel Khan told the media that all of them had been shot dead and the bullet shells were recovered from the spot. However, there was no sign of blood near the place where the bodies were abandoned, he added. Police in the initial investigation maintained that the deceased were killed at least 72 hours before their bodies were retrieved. About the identity of the deceased, the Police said two of them seemed to be Uzbeks or Tajiks while the remaining two were said to be Afghan nationals having long locks and beards. They were said to be 25 to 30-year-old. However, the reason behind their killing was yet to be ascertained.

March 4

The NWFP Government struck a 17-point deal with the banned TNSM in the Swat valley. "A 17-point understanding was reached with a TNSM delegation … music has been banned in Swat and it has been agreed to expel prostitutes and pimps from the district," said a senior official. The Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-led the provincial Government at the talks, while Maulana Safiullah and spokesman Amir Izzat Khan represented the TNSM – with Malakand Commissioner Syed Muhammad Javed also in attendance. The meeting came a day after suspected Taliban militants killed two army troops and continued taking Government officials hostage, despite having agreed to a cease-fire in the wake of the provincial Government’s February 16 accord on the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) in Swat.

"Music and vulgar CDs will be banned shops will remain closed during prayer times and the complete implementation of sharia laws in the region will come into effect from the 16th of this month… Vulgarity would be rooted out and profiteers dealt with under the law. An anti-crime campaign will be launched and Quran classes will be started for jail inmates in the region," according to the key points of the understanding. The Malakand Commissioner’s office released to the media the 17-point understanding – which does not say if the Taliban would stop abducting Government officials and attacking Government forces. The Commissioner told the TNSM delegation that he would forward the 17 points to the Chief Secretary in Peshawar for the Government’s approval, said the officials.

The army began vacating former headquarters of Swat Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah in Imamdheri, military sources told. In addition, witnesses said the Taliban had abandoned the Qambar check-post near Mingora on the main highway linking the district with Peshawar.

March 5

Suspected Taliban militants blew an ancient shrine of a 17th century Sufi poet - Rehman Baba - in the Akhund Baba graveyard of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. A letter delivered three days before the attack to the management of the mausoleum had warned against its promotion of ‘shrine culture’. The white-marble shrine was badly damaged when explosives planted along its pillars went off at around 5:10am. There were, however, no casualties.

 

The Government has accepted the demands of the BLUF in exchange for the recovery of John Solecki, head of the United Nations refugee agency in Quetta. However, no confirmation was made at the official level about the acceptance of the demands, a private TV channel quoted its sources as saying. According to the channel, seven of the 141 missing women had been identified and a high-powered committee would submit a report in a few days. Separately, according to another news channel, the Balochistan Government said in a statement that the list of 1,109 alleged missing persons provided by the BLUF was being ‘intensively’ scrutinised. According to the statement, 45 persons had already been traced, a few of whom were at their houses while a few were in judicial custody for their alleged involvement in criminal cases. The Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani has reportedly announced a top-level committee to investigate the captors’ demands. "We have set up a high-level committee, including high-ranking officials and politicians, to locate the whereabouts of the alleged missing persons listed by the BLUF," the provincial Government said in a statement.

Calling the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore an ‘eerie replica’ of the Mumbai attacks, the United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Pakistan is facing a serious internal security threat, a private TV channel reported. Speaking at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Clinton said a broad agreement had been reached on the basic elements of a strategic review on the way forward for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Clinton said the US wanted strong relations with the people and the Government of Pakistan and stressed the need for regional approach that included Pakistan and Afghanistan for the resolution of the issue of terrorism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The top US diplomat in Kabul warned that Pakistan posed a bigger security challenge to America and the world than Afghanistan. "From where I sit [Pakistan] sure looks like it’s going to be a bigger problem," said Christopher Dell, currently running the US embassy in Kabul. "Pakistan is a bigger place, has a larger population, its nuclear-armed… It has certainly made radical Islam a part of its political life, and it now seems to be a deeply ingrained element of its political culture. It makes things there very hard," he said in an interview. Dell also said there were signs the rate of infiltration of insurgents across the frontier from Pakistan’s Tribal Areas had increased, possibly as a result of cease-fire deals agreed by Taliban and the Pakistani Government.

March 6

The NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti said in Peshawar that only those Taliban prisoners that fall in the ‘white category’ will be released as part of the peace deal in Swat. Prisoners in the black and grey categories – who are a serious threat to national security according to police investigation manual – will not be freed, he told. "I have directed the home secretary to look into the cases of those prisoners who are in the white category. We will not free prisoners in black and grey categories," the chief minister said. Maulana Sufi Muhammad, chief of the banned TNSM, had demanded the release of all Taliban prisoners arrested during military operations in Swat.

The abductors of UNHCR official John Solecki, the BLUF, indefinitely extended the deadline set for the Government for the acceptance of their demands. A private TV channel quoted a BLUF spokesman as saying that the deadline for Solecki’s release had been extended for an indefinite period. He said Solecki was in good health and demanded the release of the missing Baloch people ‘without any further delay’.

The LeT rejected media reports that it was involved in an attack on a visiting Sri Lanka cricket squad in Lahore. "These media reports are false ... and baseless," said LeT spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi. "The attack on Sri Lanka’s team was an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and Kashmiris could never even think of that," said Ghaznavi. "The attack is the handiwork of Indian agencies to defame Pakistan and bring instability to the country," claimed Ghaznavi.

March 7

Eight persons, including five Policemen, two Frontier Corps personnel, and a civilian, were killed in a remote-controlled car bombing at Mashugagr village in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. Some villagers also sustained minor injuries. Muhammad Wali, a villager, said the car was unlocked and the villagers had found the body of an old man in it. "The blast occurred when police officials walked towards the vehicle," he said. Security officials said about 40 kilogrammes of explosives were packed in the vehicle.

Five persons were killed and eight others injured when a shop in the remote Tirah area of Khyber Agency in the FATA was bombed. The sources said that five cadres of the banned Ansarul Islam (AI) outfit were killed. An AI spokesman blamed rival militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Islam, for the bomb blast.

March 8

15 Taliban militants and 14 soldiers were killed during clashes between Taliban and SFs at Aisha Corona and Banglo areas of the Mohmand Agency. Bodies of seven SF personnel were recovered from Aisha Corona. The Taliban had reportedly killed several soldiers after ambushing their convoy in the Banglo area and abducted others. Bodies of some of the abducted troops were recovered from Aisha Corona. The sources said other soldiers were still in Taliban’s custody. Military sources said that around 15 militants were killed and three were arrested during clashes that erupted when Taliban surrounded the house of pro-government tribal elder Malik Noorzada in a bid to kidnap him. Locals said the attack was an apparent reaction to a visit by the Mohmand Agency’s Political Agent and the Mohmand Rifles Commandant to Noorzada’s house on March 2. The TTP Mohmand Agency chief Umer Khalid confirmed the attack on SFs and said that several soldiers were still in the custody of Taliban and put forward three conditions for talks with the troops - exchange of prisoners, end of military check-posts in the agency and compensation for the demolished houses of the Taliban leaders and the tribesmen who supported them.

Taliban militants claimed to have shot down a US drone in the Angoor Adda area of South Waziristan. Militants loyal to Taliban commander Maulvi Mohammad Nazir said the unmanned aircraft had crashed in a jungle after the attack and soldiers took away the wreckage. But the security officials and political authorities disputed the Taliban’s claim, saying that teams dispatched to the area after the claim found no wreckage. Unconfirmed reports also said the drone had gone missing in an area near the Afghan border.

The Taliban agreed to remove all check-posts across the Swat District following the successful completion of talks between the NWFP Government, the banned TNSM and TTP. The first phase of the talks concluded successfully in provincial capital Peshawar with the three parties agreeing to continue talks, a private TV channel reported. Sources said that following the release of 12 imprisoned Taliban militants, the parties concerned had achieved consensus on all matters. On the same day, SFs removed all check-posts from Takhtaband Road in Mingora and opened it to traffic. TNSM spokesman Ameer Izzat said both the SFs and the Taliban had removed their check-posts following the successful dialogue.

March 9

Taliban militants shot dead three men, including two brothers, in South Waziristan after filming them confessing to spying for the United States, officials said. "This is the first time in South Waziristan that Taliban have made confession videos. Earlier, they just used to put notes on the bodies of alleged spies," Allahbagh Khan, a local administration official told. The bullet-ridden body of local tribesman Tahir Khan was found dumped in a bazaar in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. "Khan, who was kidnapped 10 days ago, had multiple bullet wounds on his body," a security official told. A DVD found with the body showed Khan confessing to spying and passing on information that led to a series of US missile attacks in the region. A note found on the body said: "All those spying for the US will suffer the same fate," according to the official. Two more bodies of alleged US spies were found an hour later with similar notes and DVDs. One was a brother of Khan and the third man was identified as Shabbir Khan, residents and officials said.

Unidentified men on a motorbike killed two Shias in an apparent sectarian attack in Quetta. The victims were shot in their car on Kirani road, on the outskirts of the Balochistan capital. "Two men from the Shia community were shot dead by unknown gunmen riding a motorbike," a Police official said. No one claimed responsibility for the killings. The attack came a week after five Shias were killed in another drive-by shooting in Quetta.

A review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) extended the detention of the chief of the JuD (the LeT front), Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, and three other of its top leaders for 60 days while releasing two leaders. The board, comprising Justice Mian Najam-uz-Zaman, Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan and Justice Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, issued this order after the Home Department produced sufficient evidence against Hafiz Saeed and his associates and sought extension in their detention. The detention of Ameer Hamza, Col (retd) Nazir Ahmed, and Mufti Abdur Rehman Rehmani, has also been extended for 60 days. The board observed that the data produced before the board was sufficient for extending the period of their detention. The board further ordered the Punjab Government to provide subsistence allowance of PKR 25,000 to the families of the detenus while they would be kept at various places already declared sub-jails. In the cases of Qazi Kashif Niaz and Qari Yasin Baloch, the board opined there was no cogent evidence/material produced by the Home Department to justify extension in their detention.

The NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti signed the draft of the proposed Nizam-e-Adl (Sharia) Regulation 2009, and sent it to Governor Owais Ghani to be forwarded to the President for approval, sources in Chief Minister’s Secretariat told. The TNSM has set March 15 as the deadline for the Government to implement Sharia (Islamic law) in Malakand. NWFP Law Minister Arshad Abdullah told a press conference that the provincial Government had given final shape to the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 and President Asif Ali Zardari would sign the document in three days.

The Mamoond tribe and the authorities have signed a 28-point agreement to bring the law and order situation under control in Bajaur Agency. The agreement was signed at a jirga (council of elders) – aimed at re-establishing the writ of the Government in the agency – in agency headquarters Khar, with around 900 tribesmen, elders and clerics in attendance. Addressing the jirga, the head of the Mamoond Peace Commission, Malik Abdul Aziz, said his tribe would continue to co-operate with the Government to restore peace in the area. He said tribesmen had decided to take stern action against anti-social elements and uphold the supremacy of law. Mamond, the largest and most strategically placed tribe in Bajaur, has promised to surrender key figures of the TTP in Bajaur, lay down arms, disband militant groups and stop militant training camps. The entire TTP leadership in Bajaur comes from Mamond tribe and its leader Faqir Mohammed, who was deputy to Baitullah Mehsud, survived drone attacks in the past.

Investigators have not found any concrete evidence so far of involvement of LeT in the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3 and see the evidence of a ‘foreign hand’ behind the incident, Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior.

Sri Lanka rejected reports that India might have been involved in the terrorist attack against its national cricket team in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said "From our point of view, there is no Indian involvement… India has helped us in our counter-terrorist efforts. I do not see a need for India to target the Sri Lankan cricket team."

March 10

SFs backed by helicopter gunships killed at least 35 Taliban militants during a two-day operation in Darra Adamkhel in the NWFP, Inter-Services Public Relations sources said. The SFs targeted the militants in Buland, Mirali and Torchena areas. Three SF personnel were reportedly wounded in the operation, the sources said, adding that several Taliban hideouts had been destroyed.

The central nervous system for the next major terrorist attack on the US soil lies in Pakistan, said senior US officials and lawmakers. Two key US officials - Director of the National Intelligence and Director of the Military Intelligence - told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan had allowed Taliban to operate freely from Quetta while the tribal areas had become a "central nervous system" for al Qaeda. US lawmakers and officials also said that the LeT has the ideological commitment to replace al Qaeda as the next major terrorist group in the world. They said the Pakistani establishment and intelligence agencies had taken some measures against the LeT recently but were not co-operating fully with the United States in dealing with this threat. The committee was also told that LeT had supporters among the Pakistanis living in the United States who could abet its efforts to carry out a terrorist attack in North America. "The central nervous system for the planning (of an attack on the US soil) would emanate from Fata," said Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, during a hearing on current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States. Earlier, chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, Senator Carl Levin, said that the Afghan Taliban forces under Mullah Omar operated with impunity from Balochistan, crossing unhampered into southern Afghanistan while al Qaeda was based in FATA from which attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan itself are launched.

Lt-Gen Michael Maples, Director of US Defence Intelligence Agency, noted that while "strategic rivalry" with India drove Pakistan’s defence strategy, al Qaeda was using FATA to recruit and train operatives, plan and prepare regional and transnational attacks, disseminate propaganda and obtain equipment and supplies. General Maples warned that while Pakistan has taken important steps to safeguard its nuclear weapons, "vulnerabilities still exist".

March 11

The NWFP Senior Minister and Awami National Party leader Bashir Ahmad Bilour survived an assassination attempt that left six persons, including two suspected suicide attackers, dead in Namak Mandi in the provincial capital Peshawar.

The NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani signed the draft of Nizam-e-Adl (Sharia) Regulation 2009, for forwarding it to the president for a final approval, said official sources. The sources, however, did not confirm if the draft had been sent to the president. NWFP Law Minister Arshad Abdullah said the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 was expected to be implemented in Malakand Division and Kohistan District by March 15, and would have a retrospective effect from February 16, 2009.

An explosion targeted a booster of the Pakistan Television (PTV) in Chilas, headquarters of the Diamer District in Northern Areas. There was no major damage to the installation in the explosion, said Station House Officer Amirullah. He said eight suspects had been taken into custody and investigations were underway.

Political authorities and elders of three tribes of Bajaur Agency signed a 28-point agreement to bring peace in the area. About 1,400 tribal elders of Khar, Salarzai and Atmanzai tribes signed the agreement in a grand jirga (council of elders) in Khar. The tribes also demanded the Government carry out development work in the area after restoration of peace. According to the agreement, all Taliban organisations would stand abolished and all their members would surrender to the tribes and the Government. Militants laying down their weapons would be registered in their respective tribes and the elders would furnish a surety bond for their good behaviour to the Government. It said neither parallel courts would be set up, nor the Government’s writ would be challenged; foreign elements, including Afghan nationals, would not be provided shelter, shops or houses would not be rented out to them; Government officials or SF personnel would not be targeted or abducted; Government installations, including buildings of schools, colleges and hospitals and check-posts would not be attacked. The SFs would have the freedom to move freely in the agency and if attacked, they would retaliate; people would not allow any terrorist to use their soil for sabotage activities; tribesmen would be bound to restrict cross-border movement; infiltration in or interference with the affairs of other countries. Under the agreement, interference in Government affairs would not be allowed; complete security would be provided to all foreign contractors working in the agency; Government or SFs would not tolerate any propaganda against them; no Taliban training camp would be set up and they will not be given any training.

March 12

SFs backed by helicopter gunships killed 18 Taliban militants and injured three others in the Gurgurai, Supri and Mulla Ghani Baba areas of Yakka Ghund sub-division in the Mohmand Agency.

A suspected US missile strike destroyed a Taliban training camp in Kurram Agency, killing at least 15 Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists, as well as injuring another 50, security officials said. No high-value targets were believed to have died, an unnamed official said. Another security official said most of the dead were Afghan Taliban militants. "The training centre was run by local Taliban commander Fazal Saeed and training was underway at the time of the strike," the official added.

Two civilians and a security official were injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a fort in Landi Kotal in the Khyber Agency. Khyber Rifles Commandant Colonel Furqanullah Khan Tarin told that the explosion had damaged the western boundary wall of the Charbagh Fort.

The Swat-based TTP demanded that the Police and paramilitary forces should resume their duties wearing plain clothes and not their uniforms. Sources in the TNSM told that the Taliban’s demand came after the appointment of Qazis to hear cases in accordance with Sharia (Islamic law) in Swat District. The sources said the Taliban had asked TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad to forward their demand to the Government.

29-year old Mohammed Momin Khawaja, the first Canadian tried and found guilty under Canada’s anti-terrorism law, was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for his role in a foiled plot against British targets. The Ottawa software developer of Pakistani descent had been found to have "knowingly participated" and "knowingly facilitated" a terrorist group’s plan to attack a popular London nightclub, a shopping mall and a gas network. However, he may not have known the specific details of the plot itself, Justice Douglas Rutherford said in his 52-page decision in October 2008. At sentencing, the judge noted Khawaja showed no remorse throughout the trial and had chosen not to speak at his pre-sentencing hearing, while his family seemed oblivious to his actions, said public broadcaster CBC.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani directed the Interior Ministry and Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer to provide foolproof security to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ensure his safety. The direction came after a meeting between PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq and Prime Minister Gilani to discuss threats to Nawaz Sharif’s life. Raja also reportedly handed over an anonymous threatening letter to Gilani.

Intelligence agencies reportedly arrested three people from Kamalia in the Toba Tek Singh District for their alleged involvement in the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team at the Liberty Chowk in Lahore on March 3. A source said agencies’ officials arrested three brothers, Munir Shafi, Naeem Shafi and Shafiq Shafi, from a cloth shop and Munir Sardar and Arif Kathia from two houses. Later, the officials set free Naeem Shafi and Shafiq Shafi near Rajana.

March 13

The number of those killed in a suspected US missile strike in Kurram Agency a day earlier increased to 24. "We have handed over 24 bodies after cleaning and wrapping them in cloth," said Saidur Rehman, an official of the local charity Al-Khidmat Foundation.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead three pro-government tribesmen in the Bajaur Agency. The slain tribesmen had been kidnapped from the Hilalkhel village of Chaharmang sub-division three days earlier. Residents said that the three headless bodies had been dumped in a deserted place. The victims were pro-government tribesmen, who were involved in organising a militia against militants in the area.

March 15

Intelligence officials said that two missiles fired by suspected United States drone planes killed five people at Chota Janikhel village in the Bannu District of NWFP. The officials said the dead included two Arabs and three other people. The missiles struck a house at around 10:30pm.

Dozens of suspected Taliban militants attacked a terminal storing NATO supplies on the Ring Road in Peshawar, the NWFP capital, destroying at least 12 trucks and 20 containers. This is the first major attack on a NATO depot since February 2009. Police sources said several militants started firing at trucks and torching trailers vehicles parked at the terminal. Following an exchange of fire, the militants escaped. There were no casualties.

Police have arrested the alleged owner of a mobile SIM that was used in the March 3 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Police arrested the suspect, identified as Arshad Mehmoud, from Sadiqabad.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced the reinstatement of all sacked judges, including Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, after the retirement of Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar on March 21. In a brief address to the nation at 5:50am, the Prime Minister said he, in consultation with President Asif Ali Zardari, had decided the time had come to fulfill "the promises". "I announce that all judges including Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will be reinstated on March 21," he said, adding that a notification to this effect would be issued later in the day. Gilani also said it was not possible to reinstate Chaudhry while Dogar was still in office as the Chief Justice. The Prime Minister also announced that the Government would file a review petition in Supreme Court against the decision of a three-member bench to disqualify former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif. Gilani ordered the provincial Governments to immediately lift Section 144 and to release all political workers arrested in connection with the ‘long march’. In response, Nawaz Sharif has called off the ‘long march’ to Islamabad.

March 16

15 people were killed and 25 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a busy bus stand at Pirwadhai in Rawalpindi. Sources quoting investigators said the original target of the bomber could have been the participants of the ‘long march’, of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which was scheduled to pass through the area. Regional Police Officer Nasir Durrani, however, told the media that it would be premature to decide whether the bomber’s original target was the ‘long march’. "The suicide bomber blew himself up on a motorbike outside a restaurant, which was set up close to the cab stand," said Durrani.

Suspected Taliban militants torched 30 vehicles in an attack in Peshawar on a terminal for trucks carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan. Truck drivers at the Al-Faisal Terminal said over 50 armed men entered the compound after breaking the boundary wall firing rockets and Kalashnikovs. The militants remained in the terminal for about an hour, sprinkled trucks with oil and later set them ablaze. There were reports the attackers escaped towards Bara. This was the second such attack in two days. 20 vehicles had been burnt in an attack on a terminal in the Hazarkhwani area on March 15.

The abductors of UNHCR official John Solecki threatened to kill him in 48 hours if the Government did not free more than 1,100 Baloch prisoners allegedly in custody. Solecki, head of the UNHCR in Balochistan, was abducted at gunpoint from provincial capital Quetta on February 2. His driver was killed during the abduction. A spokesman for the Balochistan Liberation United Front called Online news agency in Quetta, saying the UN had to play its role in fulfilling the group’s demands within 48 hours.

March 17

Four militants were killed when SFs targeted the suspected hideouts of militants with gunship helicopters in different areas of the Mohmand Agency in FATA. Reports from the agency said that four militants were killed as gunship helicopters targeted positions of militants in the Had Kor area of Ambar sub-division and Dwezai area of Pandyalai sub-division. Three vehicles were also destroyed in the attack, said an official source. However, the Mohmand-based Taliban spokesman Ikramullah rejected the troops’ claim and said gunship helicopters shelled their positions in different areas but that caused no loss of life or damage to property.

March 18

Four Policemen and a Malakand University security guard were killed and three others were injured in a gunfight with militants on the premises of the campus. The Taliban later ‘arrested’ 14 militants involved in the incident in a search operation.

The NWFP Government directed judges of subordinate judiciary of the Peshawar High Court in Swat not to attend courts and restrict themselves to their houses. The order came after a warning from the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad to the judges of Swat not to attend their courts.

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said that the February 2009 attacks on Government buildings in Kabul were planned and directed from Pakistan, saying seven Afghans had been arrested. The attackers were in telephone contact with a Pakistan-based ringleader during the simultaneous attacks on the justice ministry, prisons directorate and education ministry, agency spokesman Saeed Ansary told. The February 11 attacks, claimed by Taliban, killed 26 Afghans. Eight of the attackers were killed, three by their suicide bombs. "Seven terrorists were arrested and one was killed during the arrest operation," Ansary said, without giving any further details about the raid. The alleged ringleader, whom Ansary identified only as Harris, was based in the Waziristan tribal area on the Afghan border and was still at large there, the official said. Some of the suspects told authorities they had received military training in Waziristan, he said. "I met Harris in Waziristan and received training in using weapons," one alleged suspect said in a video recording handed to the media.

President Barack Obama and his top aides are reportedly considering expanding covert operations against the Taliban leaders in Pakistan to the Balochistan province. Two reports sent to the White House call for broadening the target area to include the region in and around Quetta, citing unnamed senior administration officials.

The Taliban threatened to kill a Canadian journalist in their custody if their demands were not met by March 30. The journalist, Khadeja Abdul Qahaar, went missing in the Jani Khel area of Bannu Frontier Region in November 2008. In a video sent to the Miranshah Press Club, Khadeja said she was seriously ill and appealed to the Canadian and Pakistani governments, and human rights and journalists’ organisations to help in her release.

March 19

The SFs in Landikotal sub-division of Khyber Agency clashed with the Taliban militants after they attacked an army camp using short-range missiles and mortars. 15 people were reportedly killed in the missile attack. The assailants targeted the military facility near the Landikotal bazaar from their hideouts in the mountains. One of the rockets missed the target and hit a warehouse close to the bazaar, killing 15 men who used to work at the warehouse and had also been using it as a makeshift residence. Following the attack, the SFs retaliated hitting the militants’ positions in the nearby mountains. A source said a madrassa (seminary) adjacent to the army camp was also hit in the missile attack.

The Darra Adamkhel-based Taliban militants, affiliated with the Baitullah Mehsud-led banned TTP, agreed to a cease-fire in Darra Adamkhel and Frontier Region Kohat till March 30. Sources said the elders of five major tribes of Darra Adamkhel, led by Noor Zaman Afridi, held a meeting with the militants’ chief, Tariq Afridi, in the Orakzai Agency in FATA and asked him to help restore peace in the region. Talking to a private FM radio channel in Darra Adamkhel, TTP Darra Adamkhel chief Tariq Afridi pledged to co-operate with the Government in maintaining peace in the area. "We assure the government and the people that even a single shot will not be fired in Darra, Kohat and Peshawar," he said.

March 20

For the first time since 9/11, Pakistan has been officially mentioned along side Afghanistan as the launch site of the attack on the twin towers. "The reason that we're in Afghanistan is precisely because 9/11 was launched from the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Foreign Secretary David Miliband while answering a question from BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys for the ‘Today’ programme on March 20. Talking on-line from Brussels, Miliband said that what was significant about American review on Afghanistan was that it looked for the first time at the balance between Afghanistan and Pakistan "and is determined to realign America's relationship with Pakistan".

March 22

The TTP ordered all NGOs to immediately leave Swat. In an interview with IRIN, the TTP spokesman Muslim Khan said, "They come and tell us how to make lavatories in mosques and houses. I’m sure we can do it ourselves. There is no need for foreigners to tell us this... NGO is another name for ‘vulgarity and obscenity’." He also said NGOs hired women who worked with men, in the field and in offices. "That is totally unIslamic and unacceptable," he declared. When asked why the TTP was against the polio vaccination, Khan said, "The TTP is against polio vaccination because it causes infertility." "I’m 45 and have never had one drop of the vaccine and I am still alive," he said, adding that another reason the TTP was against polio vaccination was that the campaign was run by NGOs and the vaccine was imported.

Stating that the core of al Qaeda has shifted from Afghanistan to Pakistan, the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Britain was about to take the war against terror "to a new level". Writing in The Observer, Brown said: "We know that there is an al Qaida core in northern Pakistan trying to organise attacks in Britain. We know also that there are a number of networks here… Al-Qaida terrorists remain intent on inflicting mass casualties without warning, including suicide bombings. They are motivated by a violent extremist ideology based on a false reading of religion and exploit modern travel and communications to spread through loose and dangerous global networks." Al Qaeda is still active in Afghanistan, but the threat has crossed the border, he said, adding: "Over two thirds of the plots threatening the UK are linked to Pakistan."

March 23

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the headquarters of the Special Branch (SB), an intelligence agency of the Federal Capital Police, in Sitara Market in Islamabad, killing himself and a Policeman. Two Police officials were wounded in the attack. Police Constable Faisal Khan, deployed at the main gate of the headquarters, reportedly got hold of the suicide bomber when he was advancing towards the barracks. The bomber detonated the bomb, killing both of them. "The bomber wanted to hit the residential rooms of the SB personnel," an unnamed officer said. Interior Adviser Rehman Malik said the attack was carried out by one of the suicide bombers who entered the national capital just before the 'long march' earlier this month. "We had very authentic information that 15 to 20 Uzbek suicide bombers were sent [to Islamabad] by Baitullah Mehsud following a meeting of TTP," he told the media.

The Pakistani state could collapse within six months if immediate steps are not taken to remedy the situation, warned a top adviser to the US Central Command. David Kilcullen, who advises CENTCOM commander General David H. Petraeus on the war on terror, urged US policymakers to focus their attention on Pakistan as a failure there could have devastating consequences for the entire international community. In an interview with The Washington Post (Sunday Edition), Kilcullen warned that if Pakistan went out of control, it would 'dwarf' all the crises in the world today. "Pakistan hands down. No doubt," he said when asked to name the central front in the war against terror. Asked to explain why he thought Pakistan was so important, Kilcullen said: "Pakistan has 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the US Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn't control." He claimed that the Pakistani military and Police and intelligence service did not follow the civilian Government; they were essentially a rogue state within a state. "Were now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems," he said. "The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover - that would dwarf everything we've seen in the war on terror today."

March 24

Pakistan has informed the British Government about more than 20 Britons believed to have spent time with radical militant groups and then returned to the UK. A Sky TV report said the tracked men may have trained with extremist outfits. A dossier is likely to be handed over to British anti-terrorist teams 'soon'. The suspects - aged between 17 and 23 - have created "sufficient suspicion" for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to believe they pose a 'potential danger' to Britain. At least four are thought to have been fighting in Afghanistan, and intelligence officials say they have heard 'English accents' while listening to satellite and mobile phone chatter between the UK and the Tribal Areas.

The TNSM Maulana chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad threatened to halt his efforts for the restoration of peace if the Government did not immediately nullify all un-Islamic laws in the Malakand Division and empower Qazi courts to hear all cases. He also accused the Government of not entrusting Qazi courts with authority to hear all cases.

The Taliban warned the Government to stop expanding its mobile telephone network in Waziristan, claiming it would be used to spy on them. They circulated a pamphlet in Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, telling authorities to stop the network expansion and ordering vendors to stop selling SIM cards, residents and officials said. "A Jewish, Zionist-backed company is setting up the mobile phone network in Waziristan, which would be used to spy on Taliban activities and for drone attacks," said the pamphlet.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has issued a list of members of banned outfits and ordered all banks to scrutinise the list before opening accounts or transferring money. An unnamed bank official said the purpose of the list was to stop the banned outfits from operating their accounts and transferring money. The SBP spokesman Syed Waseemuddin said Pakistan was bound to follow the instructions of the United Nations, which had banned several religious outfits for their alleged involvement in terrorism. He said the list, provided by the UN, was regularly updated.

The Australian Government on March 16 re-listed six groups as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code, following advice from Australia's security agencies. The re-listing ensures that it remains an offence to associate with, train with, provide training for, receive funds from, make funds available to, direct or recruit for these organisations. The outfits that have been re-listed are: Ansar al Islam (formerly Ansar al-Sunna); Asbat al Ansar; Islamic Army of Aden; Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; JeM; and LeJ.

March 25

Seven militants, believed to be Arab nationals, were killed and three others injured when two vehicles they were traveling in, came under attack from the US drones near Makeen area of South Waziristan Agency (SWA). Sources close to the militants in the area told by telephone that the two vehicles had just left the Makeen bazaar to drop the men at their homes in Malik Shahi village of the SWA when they came under attack from the CIA-operated drone. Makeen town is on the border with Razmak sub-division of the North Waziristan Agency. The area is in control of tribal militants affiliated with Baitullah Mehsud, chief of the banned TTP. According to militant sources, the victims were junior-level Arab fighters and there was no prominent figure among them.

The United States offered up to $11 million in rewards to find and capture three al Qaeda terrorists, including TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud. The US announced a $5 million bounty for the location or arrest of Mehsud. The other two terrorists named in the list were Sirajuddin Haqqani and Abu Yahya Al-Libi.

March 26

12 persons, including a woman, were killed and 22 others sustained injuries when a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up outside a crowded restaurant in the Jandola bazaar of Tank District in NWFP. A pro-government group of Bhittani tribesmen, led by Haji Turkistan, is believed to have been the target of the suicide attacker. Eyewitnesses told from Jandola - the gateway to South Waziristan - that a young boy blew himself up outside the crowded restaurant in the bazaar. The bazaar is located in front of heavily guarded British-era fort, currently inhabited by the Frontier Corps and the Army. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. "The TTP claims responsibility for the suicide attack in Jandola," spokesman Maulvi Omar said in a telephone call from an unknown place to reporters in Bajaur. He called the suicide attack a revenge for the clashes in 2008. "Turkistan Bitani's fighters killed 35 of our people last year, and we killed his people today in the suicide attack," Omar added.

Three Sunnis were killed in an apparent sectarian attack in Dera Ismail Khan. Motorcycle-borne gunmen opened indiscriminate gunfire on a medical store, killing its owner and two relatives. Three other men were injured, an unnamed Police official said, adding that the victims were from the Sunni community. "The killings were linked to sectarian violence," he added.

President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the Balochistan Government to form a parliamentary committee to hold talks with the disgruntled elements in the province. Presiding over a briefing on law and order in the province, he stressed the need for expediting the reconciliation process so that the disgruntled people could be brought into the mainstream and play a proactive role in the province's development and progress. Zardari assured the meeting that the federal Government would ensure the provision of funds for strengthening and capacity-building of the law enforcement agencies of the province. He assured Balochistan that its share in the revenue generated through the exploitation of natural resources would be increased and ordered the formation of a federal parliamentary committee to look into the matter and submit recommendations.

March 27

83 persons, including 16 Security Force personnel, were killed and over 100 injured in a suicide attack on a mosque at Peshawar-Torkham Highway in the Jamrud sub-division of Khyber Agency in FATA during the Friday congregation. The huge explosion reduced the single-storey roadside mosque to rubble. Witnesses said they heard a huge explosion just as the Imam (prayer leader) concluded his Friday sermon and the people stood up for the Friday prayer. The dead included the prayer leader, his brother, four personnel of the Frontier Corps and 12 Khassadars (tribal police). The others were tribesmen belonging to the nearby villages, Pakistani and Afghan civilians traveling between Peshawar and Torkham, and drivers and conductors of trucks carrying goods to neighbouring Afghanistan. While the Khyber Agency Political Agent Tariq Hayat has confirmed that it was a suicide attack, the Associated Press reported that a Government official has accused the Taliban of carrying out the bombing in revenge for a recent offensive aimed in part at protecting the major supply route for NATO and US troops in Afghanistan that passes in front of the mosque.

Germany is home to several hundred "potentially dangerous Islamists", including a hard core of around 100 people classed as dangerous, a senior Interior Ministry official said. Between 60 and 80 "jihadists" out of some 140 have returned to Germany, who had undergone training in camps in the Tribal Areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, State Secretary August Hanning said.

There are "indications" that elements of Pakistan's intelligence service are supporting al Qaeda and the Taliban, the United States top military officer said. "There are certainly indications that's the case," US Joints Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told CNN when asked if elements of Pakistan's intelligence agency were backing al Qaeda and its Taliban allies. "Fundamentally that's one of the things that has to change," Mullen said.

President Asif Ali Zardari announced a PKR 46.6 billion development package for Balochistan. Out of this sum, four water storage reservoirs would be constructed at a cost of PKR 36 billion, small delay-action dams at a cost of PKR 2.5 billion, PKR 3 billion will be spent on projects in Quetta and PKR 5 billion on transmission lines. The President said in provincial capital Quetta he had recommended amendments to the Constitution for an amicable resolution of the Balochistan issue. "Evolving a package of amendments to the Constitution to resolve the Balochistan issue is the way forward," he stated. Zardari said he could announce a general amnesty in Balochistan but it could not bear the desired results because such moves made in the past several time had not been successful. "I have asked the governor and the chief minister to form a provincial parliamentary committee, which may work with the federal parliamentary committee for resolution of the problems of the province," he said.

March 28

SFs backed by helicopter gun ships killed 26 Taliban militants in the Mohmand Agency of FATA. An official statement issued by the Frontier Corps, NWFP headquarters, said the SFs pounded Taliban hideouts during a search operation in the Saapri area of Yakaghund tehsil (revenue division), killing 26 Taliban, adding that the forces had secured the area around Saapri. However, local sources said 18 Taliban militants were killed in the operation.

March 29

Three Police officials, including the District Police Officer (DPO) of Lower Dir, a former acting District Nazim and his nephew, were killed in clashes with suspected militants in Shah Bandai and Lajbok areas of the Lower Dir District. DPO Khurshid Khan, hailing from Swat Valley, was leading a Police team to fight the militants who had earlier kidnapped a bank manager and killed former acting district Nazim Alamzeb Khan. In a gunfight at Shah Bandai area, the militants killed the DPO and his two guards, Muhammad Islam and Muhammad Ajmeer, while his driver sustained injuries.

The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates urged Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to cut contacts with extremists in Afghanistan who were "an existential threat" to Pakistan, Daily Times reported. The ISI has had links with extremists "for a long time, as a hedge against what might happen in Afghanistan if we were to walk away," Gates said on "Fox News Sunday". "What we need to do is try and help the Pakistanis understand these groups are now an existential threat to them and we will be there as a steadfast ally for Pakistan," Gates said. "

March 30

Eight Police recruits and a civilian were killed when a group of 10 terrorists attacked the Police Training Centre in Manawan near Lahore with guns and grenades. SFs regained control of the facility in an operation that lasted for more than eight hours. About 93 cadets and civilians were injured. One of the attackers was arrested, another was able to flee after being hit by a bullet and three blew themselves up to avoid arrest, Punjab Police Inspector General Khawaja Khalid Farooq said. He believed the other attackers might have fled unhurt in the densely populated neighbourhood. There were about 1,000 Police personnel in the facility at the time of the attack. A Taliban operative who identified himself as Omar Farooq told by telephone that a little-known group called Fidayeen al-Islam was behind the attack and that he was speaking on their behalf. "As long as the Pakistani troops do not leave Tribal Areas, these attacks will continue," he said. Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told journalists that the terrorist attack was planned in South Waziristan. The arrested attacker belonged to the Paktika province of Afghanistan, Malik said, and preliminary interrogation revealed he is linked to Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Seven persons, including five Army soldiers, were killed and nine others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a military convoy near a filling station on the Bannu-Miranshah Road. The dead also included an Assistant Engineer of Radio Pakistan Razmak station, Basharat Afridi, and a lady travelling in a passenger coach. However, military spokesman and ISPR Director-General Major General Athar Abbas said the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device planted in a roadside car.

Operation Daraghlam (Arriving)-II was launched in Khyber Agency, the Khyber Agency Political Agent Tariq Hayat Khan said. During a news briefing, Khan said orders to shoot the Taliban militants on sight had been issued. He announced that the victims of the suicide attack at a mosque on the Peshawar-Torkham Highway in the Jamrud Sub-division on March 27 would each be given PKR 300,000. Khan said a ban had been imposed on Taliban from patrolling the area, adding that they could be behind the suicide attack.

March 31 The TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for a series of recent terrorist attacks, including the March 30 assault on a police training centre in Lahore. He also threatened to show his power to the world when his people would attack the US capital as a reaction to frequent drone attacks in the tribal areas and the reward on his head. "By the grace of Allah Almighty, I am claiming responsibility for the attack on the police training school in Lahore with eagerness, honour and love and will continue similar strikes across the country, if the US drones were not stopped from killing innocent people in the tribal areas," Baitullah Mehsud said in his telephonic conversation with reporters. Baitullah also claimed responsibility for two other suicide attacks, including one on a military convoy near Bannu in the NWFP on March 30 and another on the Police intelligence office in Islamabad on March 23. Baitullah said his men were out to target Government installations against its failure to protect tribesmen against non-stop drone attacks. About the recent reward of $5 million for his head by the US State Department, he said he loved to be martyred, but threatened his men would soon attack Americans in their own country, not in Afghanistan. He said his men would soon teach a lesson to the Americans in Washington and the White House. An Associated Press report added that Baitullah said his group was planning a terrorist attack on the White House that would "amaze" the world. "Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," said Mehsud.
April 01

Three minors and two women were among the 12 people who died in the first-ever US drone attack in Orakzai Agency of FATA. Sources said that an unmanned CIA-operated spy plane fired two Hellfire missiles on the two-storey house of a militant commander Maulvi Gul Nazeer alias Gul Mulla, in Khadeezai village, about 35 kilometers northwest of Ghiljo, Tehsil (revenue division) headquarters of the Orakzai Agency. They said the drone first fired one missile and fired another after an interval. The attack was the first of its kind in Orakzai Agency, the only tribal region out of the total seven regions of the FATA, which does not share its border with Afghanistan. Reports said the dead included four Arabs, one of them known as Kaka, reportedly a senior al Qaeda operative. The victims included two women and three children, including the wife of Gul Nazeer, his daughter-in-law, his two sons and a nephew. The children were identified as Abdullah, Abdul Latif and Mohammad Shoaib. Maulvi Gul Nazeer survived the attack. The sources said an important meeting of senior militant commanders of Baitullah Mehsud-led banned TTP was scheduled to be held at the house of Maulvi Gul Nazeer.

Three soldiers were killed and four others sustained injuries when their vehicle hit a bomb in the Safi area of Mohmand Agency. The soldiers were reportedly going to the Frontier Corps' base in Momad Gutt from Ghalanai.

Militants ambushed a Police mobile van on the Dir-Kohistan Road in Upper Dir District, killing five Police officials, including a Station House Officer and an Assistant Sub-inspector, and injuring two others. Area residents and officials said the militants fired two rockets at the van in Jitkot village in the jurisdiction of Sheringal Police station, setting the vehicle on fire. After the rocket attack, the militants, whose strength could not be ascertained, opened fire on the van. The rocket and rifle attack killed five Police officials, including two senior officers.

More than 70 Taliban militants attacked the famous Gojaro Kalay emerald mine in Shangla District and took control of the mining operations. The mine had been leased to American firm Luxury International, which had been paying Pakistan PKR 40 million a year. The company had left recently because of the security situation. The Taliban took positions around the mine after the security guards fled. They announced to take control of mining operations and offered the locals to work with them and share the profits.

SFs released 10 more Taliban militants. Sources said SFs, under the peace pact signed between the NWFP Government and the banned TNSM, freed 10 more militants. Those released were identified as Maulana Abdul Shakoor, Rohul Amin and his namesake, Amjad, Aftabuddin, Muhammad Sahib, Khan Nawab, Zakria, Fazal Akbar and Gul Akbar. The Government has released a total of 44 Taliban militants so far.

US President Barack Obama said that al Qaeda was planning to attack the US mainland from Pakistani soil and added that the US would chase and defeat the terror organisation wherever it was present in the world. Addressing a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama said the US policy was clear for both Pakistan and Afghanistan, while Afghanistan would not be allowed to become a safe haven for a -Qaeda.

The US Senate voted on April 1 to boost aid to Pakistan by $4 billion next year. As the US lawmakers continued work on a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year, Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, won adoption of a $4 billion increase next year in aid to Pakistan. Earlier, the Associated Press had reported that the Obama administration plans to seek as much as $3 billion over the next five years to train and equip Pakistan's military and is considering sending 10,000 more troops to battle the Taliban in Afghanistan.

April 02

A would-be suicide bomber shot himself dead before hitting his target i.e. the funeral prayers for slain Police official Fateh Rehman in the Haryan Kot area of Dargai sub-division in NWFP. Five Police personnel, including Station House Officer Fateh Rehman, were killed in a rocket and rifle attack on a Police mobile van by militants near Jitkot village in Upper Dir District on April 1. Sources said the bomber abandoned a bag full of explosives and his suicide vest and hurled two hand-grenades at the people before fleeing. However, the hand-grenades did not explode and he shot himself on the spot with a pistol. The villagers found a national identity card with the body identifying him as Irshadul Haq, son of Niaz Muhammad, of Targhao area in Bajaur Agency.

April 03

A would-be suicide bomber was killed when he tried to target the Pakistan People's Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) NWFP President Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao in Charsadda District. Sherpao, a member of the NWFP provincial assembly and a son of the former NWFP Chief Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, was addressing a public gathering in the Mandani area of Charsadda, at the time.

Dozens of armed Taliban militants stormed a NATO supplies container terminal in Peshawar, the NWFP capital, and torched nine vehicles and several offices. Police and locals said the terminal, located on the Ring Road in Pishtakhara Police station precincts, was attacked early in the morning, adding that the Taliban and Police exchanged heavy fire, but no casualties were reported. Police officials said there were more than 100 militants who participated in the raid.

President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned the flogging of a 17-year-old girl in public in Swat and ordered an inquiry into the matter. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said Zardari had sought a report from the NWFP Government and the local administration and called for arresting those responsible. The two-minute video reportedly shows the girl, wearing a veil, face down on the ground with two men holding her arms and feet and a third man in a black turban with a long beard whipping her. The incident occurred in the Kala Killay area of Kabal sub-division. Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan acknowledged that his group was responsible for the flogging in public, "because no indoor arrangement for Islamic punishment could be made, as we are at war with the government". The provincial Government spokesman Mian Iftikhar said the flogging took place on January 3, much before the peace deal with the Taliban. "We believe there is a conspiracy to sabotage the peace process by airing a video recorded before the deal," he claimed. Muslim Khan, however, said, "this incident took place nine months ago." Muslim Khan also said the Taliban had handed out a 'lenient' punishment to the girl - suggesting she would have been stoned to death had a 'serious view' of the 'crime' been taken. Samar Minallah - who works for a Pakistani human rights organisation - distributed the video given to her by people in Swat to the Western media. "The entire village knows she is innocent," Samar told. She told The Guardian that the flogging had taken place in the last 10 days.

April 04

Eight Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel were killed, and seven others injured, when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an FC check post on the Margala Road in national capital Islamabad. The blast, which took place at 7:35pm, was followed by an exchange of fire between FC personnel and unidentified accomplices of the suicide attacker.

Seven civilians, including two schoolchildren, and a soldier were killed when a suicide attacker blew up his explosives-laden vehicle after being intercepted near a security check post and an approaching military convoy at Miranshah in the North Waziristan Agency of FATA. "Five private cars were also damaged in the suicide attack. Security forces opened fire in all directions, pre-empting a possible follow-up attack by the insurgents," said a doctor at the nearby state-run hospital. 12 schoolchildren and six soldiers were among 39 persons injured in the suicide attack.

A suspected US drone fired two missiles on an alleged Taliban hideout in the North Waziristan Agency of FATA, killing 13 people. Unnamed security officials told that the dead and injured included local and foreign Taliban militants. The officials said the family of the man who owned the attacked house was also killed.

April 05

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of an Imambargah (Shia place of worship) at Chakwal in Punjab province, killing 24 people, including three children, and injuring 140 others, at a religious gathering. The target was the gathering of about 800 people, who were attending a Majlis-e-Aza (a gathering to mourn Imam Hussain) at an Imambargah in Muhallah Sarpak. The Majlis ended at 12:15 pm and the people were preparing to leave the Imambargah when a 15-year old boy, who looked to be an Afghan, stormed into the crowd and blew himself up after private security guards tried to stop him. The Inspector General of Police Shaukat Javed confirmed that the suicide attacker was a single person and said the incident was the continuity of the recent wave of terrorist attacks. He also said the suicide bomber appeared to be a 15-year-old boy whose legs and head, with damage to the face, had been found at the blast site.

Troops backed by helicopter gunships and jets killed at least 18 Taliban militants in the Mohmand Agency of FATA. "At least 18 Taliban were killed and 20 others wounded in a full-fledged military operation in Mohmand," said an unnamed security official.

Six Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were killed in a remote-controlled bomb attack targeting a Security Forces convoy in the Sohbatpur area of Quetta, capital of Balochistan. According to a private TV channel, a man who claimed to be a spokesman for the Baloch Republican Army phoned various media organisations and claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chand Bibi, the young girl who was shown being flogged by the Swat Taliban in a videotape aired on television channels, gave a statement to a Qazi (Islamic judge), denying the incident. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the NWFP Information Minister, told that she made the statement to Mohammad Riaz, the judge of the Qazi Court for Matta Tehsil (revenue division), and the Commissioner of Malakand Division, Syed Mohammad Javed, both of whom visited her village, Kala Killay, in Kabal sub-division. Quoting the Commissioner, Mian Iftikhar said Chand Bibi made it clear that she was indeed married to Adalat Khan and everyone in the village knew about it. She refuted the reports that both of them were flogged by the Taliban as punishment for maintaining illicit relations and then forcibly married. According to the information minister, the Commissioner and the Judge had visited Kala Killay to record the statements of the couple on the directive of the NWFP Chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary and Inspector General of Police (NWFP) had been directed by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to appear before his court and also produce the girl who was flogged. The Chief Justice had taken suo moto notice of the case after the two-minute videotape was shown on TV channels.

After two months of captivity, the BLUF released the UNHCR Quetta head John Solecki in Khadkocha area of Mastung District. The BLUF spokesman said Solecki was released on humanitarian grounds. The Mastung District administration confirmed later in the night that they had received John Solecki and he left Mastung for provincial capital Quetta with high security. The BLUF spokesman telephoned a news agency office claiming that John Solecki was released some 50 kilometers away from Quetta. The Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik, confirmed the release of Solecki. John Solecki had been abducted on February 2, 2009 while he was on his way to office in the Chaman housing scheme. His driver was killed in the kidnapping incident.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik, has said that those involved in the suicide bombings are Pakistanis and that they are playing with the lives of innocent people for the sake of a few pennies. Talking to the media after the suicide attack at Chakwal, he said that "the price of a suicide bomber is from Rs 0.5 million to Rs 1.5 million while the family of the bomber gets Rs 0.5 million". He further said that Islamabad and Lahore were the worst affected cities due to the recent series of terrorist incidents.

The chief of the banned JuD (the Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT front], Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and its three other leaders have challenged their detention before the Lahore High Court (LHC). A petition, filed under Article 199(1)(b)(i) of the Constitution, said the petitioners in custody within the territorial jurisdiction of the court be brought before it, so that the court could see on its own that the detainees were kept under detention unlawfully. The other leaders of the banned outfit who challenged their detention included Col (retd) Nazeer Ahmad, Mufti Abdul Rehman and Ameer Hamza. The petitioner's counsel, A. K. Dogar, submitted that Hafiz Saeed had earlier been detained by the Government of Pervez Musharraf, but was released by the LHC, observing that there was no allegation on record against the petitioner or his organisation. The counsel said the LHC had also observed that the organisation had never been involved in any terrorist activity in Pakistan and no FIR had ever been registered against it or any of the persons under arrest. He added that there was no finding of any blood-shed, terrorism or destruction of property anywhere in the country. He said the JuD was an independent organisation which had no connection with the LeT.

The Taliban on April 5 vowed that they would carry out two suicide attacks per week in Pakistan. Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud's deputy Hakimullah told Associated Press that the Taliban had carried out the April 4 suicide attack against a paramilitary camp in Islamabad and vowed more assaults unless the US shelved drone attacks in the FATA. He also said Pakistani troops should withdraw from parts of the northwest. "The Islamabad attack was in retaliation for a drone attack in Orakzai," said Hakimullah.

April 06

The TTP in Bajaur Agency declared amnesty for all anti-Taliban tribal elders and appealed to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in refugee camps to return to the tribal region. The TTP also said political parties were creating hurdles in the return of IDPs. In a telephonic conversation with reporters, the TTP central spokesman Maulvi Umer said the Taliban remained committed to a cease-fire they had declared in February 2009 to improve law and order in the agency. Umer said some political parties were inciting the IDPs to demand enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law) in Bajaur after Swat and were using them for vested interests.

The top leadership of the Taliban is hiding in Balochistan province, Admiral Mike Mullen, the US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said. He said this while talking informally, along with Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, to a select group of invitees at US Ambassador Anne Patterson’s house in the US embassy in Islamabad. Asked if the US was winning or losing the war in Afghanistan, Admiral Mullen said that since the US was not winning, it could be said that it was losing it. Admiral Mullen also said that the US was targeting Baitullah Mehsud now because he had established strategic links with al Qaeda in the past year or so and was facilitating al Qaeda’s attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

April 07

21 people, including 16 Taliban militants, were killed in an overnight clash when local volunteers and Police personnel tried to enter the Gokand Valley to flush out militants who had infiltrated into Buner area on April 4 from the neighbouring Swat District. Three policemen and two Lashkar (militia) volunteers were among the dead. When the combined force attempted to enter the area via Rajagaly Kandow from the Pir Baba side and dislodge the militants, Taliban militants took position and reportedly refused to go back. Sources said that the militants had sent 16 bodies and taken 13 of their wounded colleagues to Swat via Kalil Kandow.

Expressing satisfaction over the truce in the Malakand Division, the NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the Government’s writ had been restored in about 70 per cent of Swat area after the February 16 peace deal. "This is a suitable recipe for bringing peace and we shall apply it wherever it is needed once it proves successful in Malakand Division," Mian Iftikhar told a press conference in Peshawar. Briefing journalists after the 10th meeting of the provincial cabinet, the minister said militants had agreed to lay down arms after the enforcement of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in Malakand. The minister, however, admitted that situation in parts of Swat was not ideal, but there was no reason to call it disappointing. He claimed that schools and colleges had been reopened, businesses had been resumed and the people were happy.

The top leadership of Afghan Taliban is hiding in Pakistan and controlling the covert war against US-led forces in Afghanistan, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said. "The Taliban leadership is in Pakistan and the Taliban militants are fighting in Afghanistan," said Holbrooke, accompanied by US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. Talking to reporters in Islamabad, he said the US knew from various sources that the Taliban shura (executive council) was hiding in Balochistan and that had serious implications for the new US strategy for the region. He also said the issue had been discussed with the Pakistani leadership. Further, Admiral Mullen said Baitullah Mehsud was a direct threat to the US and his men were crossing into Afghanistan to fight against the NATO and ISAF forces.

April 08

Four suspected militants were killed and five others injured in a drone attack in the Gangikhel village of South Waziristan Agency (SWA). The village is located 10 kilometers south of Wana, headquarters of the SWA, locals said. An unnamed senior official said the drone fired two missiles at a vehicle parked by the Taliban in the village graveyard. The official also said the Taliban had fitted heavy weapons on the vehicle to target the CIA-operated spy plane which, he said, was seen hovering over Wana and the adjoining villages at an extremely low altitude. Militant sources confirmed the killing of their four colleagues in the attack. They said three among the slain militants belonged to the Punjab and one was affiliated to a group of pro-government militant commander Maulvi Nazeer.

12 persons, including 10 Pakistanis, were arrested on suspicion of having links with al Qaeda in a series of raids in northwest England, the Police said. Reports said those arrested included two students who were surrounded by armed Police at John Moores University in Liverpool. Ten of the men were reportedly from Pakistan and in Britain on student visas.

Pakistani Taliban commander Mullah Nazeer Ahmed said in an interview with al Qaeda’s media arm, Al-Sahab, that the Taliban would soon capture Islamabad. Pakistani Taliban factions had united and would take their war to the capital, he said. "The day is not far when Islamabad will be in the hands of the Mujahideen," he declared. He accused the Pakistan Army of sending spies to facilitate US drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban, and said Pakistani authorities were misleading the public by saying it was the United States carrying out the attacks. "All these attacks that have happened and are still happening are the work of Pakistan," he said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Al-Sahab’s website. Mullah Nazeer Ahmed also blamed the Pakistani military’s ISI agency for sowing divisions between factions, saying the ISI was the Taliban’s main enemy.

The United States has assured Pakistan it will not carry out drone attacks in Balochistan, President Asif Ali Zardari said in an interview with Dunya TV. "Not only the people of Pakistan, but also the government is concerned over the drone attacks," Zardari said. He said the US had incorporated several of Pakistan’s suggestions in its new policy for Afghanistan, but the two countries disagreed on the drone strikes. However, he said Washington "has assured us it will not carry out drone attacks in Balochistan".

April 09

The mysterious killing of three leading Baloch nationalist leaders - who were allegedly arrested by intelligence agencies on April 3 - have sparked a wave of protests and violence across Balochistan that has so far killed one Police official. Police found the decomposing bodies of the three Baloch leaders - Ghulam Mohammad Baloch and Lala Munir of the Balochistan National Movement and Sher Muhammad Baloch of the Baloch Republican Party - in the Pidrak area of Turbat District on April 8-evening. The Baloch leaders were allegedly arrested by the intelligence agencies from the office of Kachkol Ali Baloch, a former leader of the opposition in the Balochistan Assembly. According to local sources, the Baloch leaders had been shot in the head. Violence and protests broke out across Balochistan soon after the news of the leaders’ killing broke out. Reuters reported that two people had been killed in the violence.

Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the TNSM chief, concluded his "peace camp" in Swat, in protest against the delay in the implementation of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation. "But the peace deal with the provincial government is intact," Sufi Muhammad told a press conference in Mingora before moving out of the District. "If something unpleasant happens after our peace camp has been wrapped up, President Asif Zardari will be held responsible," Sufi read a written statement in Pushto. He alleged the federal Government was not sincere. TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat Khan said Sufi Muhammad left for Amandara town in Malakand where he will chair a shura (executive council) meeting. "The ball is now in the president’s court," he told. However, the Malakand Commissioner Syed Muhammad Javed said the federal Government would sign the regulation soon.

The Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said peace in the country is only possible through the imposition of Sharia (Islamic law). Talking to Daily Times, he joined Sufi Muhammad in condemning the president for not signing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation. "We support Sufi Muhammad’s stance against the federal government… If clashes between Taliban and the security forces resume, the president will be responsible," he said.

April 10

The Taliban beheaded two men they accused of spying for the United States in North Waziristan. The beheaded body of Shahid Mehsud was found along the Miranshah-Razmak Road in Dundin area, 40 kilometers south of Miranshah, while the body of Gul Mir Jan was found along the Datta Khel-Miranshah Road in Degaan area, 20 kilometers west of Miranshah. Notes found near the bodies warned that anybody found involved in spying for the US would meet the same fate.

The Taliban extended the cease-fire in Darra Adam Khel for 10 more days. The Taliban announced the extension during a jirga with five local tribes at an undisclosed location. The Taliban also authorised local elders to hold talks with the Government.

Taliban militants triggered a bomb blast in the Chamkani area, outside provincial capital Peshawar, destroying six tankers supplying fuel to the NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. Around 35 tankers were parked at the incident site, when militants placed a bomb under one of the vehicles loaded with diesel, petrol and aviation fuel, Police official Asmatullah Khan told. The blast triggered a fire which spread to another five tankers, he said.

The Taliban announced the enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law) in the Bajaur Agency of FATA and stopped women from going outside without male relatives, banned shaving of beard and warned the people against availing assistance from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). The announcement was made by Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, Taliban chief in the agency, in his 40-minute speech delivered through his group’s illegal FM radio channel. Faqir, who is deputy leader of the Baitullah Mehsud-led TTP, addressed the tribesmen on the FM radio on weekly basis. He said he and his men would spare no efforts to strictly implement the Islamic laws in the region. In this regard, the Taliban has reportedly prepared a special armed force named "Action Group" to ensure the enforcement of Sharia and punish the violators. Faqir said shaving of beards and walking of men without having cap on their heads were practices of the Jews and their followers, which, he warned, the Taliban would not allow in Bajaur. Faqir said he would not allow the BISP to operate and "mislead" simple women of the tribal region. He said work on preparation of lists of people supporting the BISP and other NGOs had already been initiated. Faqir threatened that the Action Group would soon produce such people before their Sharia Court. In addition, he strictly warned women against coming out of their homes and acquiring Computerised National Identity Cards, which is reportedly mandatory for getting monetary benefits from the BISP. The militant commander said if the people were found guilty of supporting the BISP or getting its monetary benefits, the violators would be punished according to Sharia in which minimum fine would not be less than PKR 10,000.

April 11

Gunmen shot dead eight persons in separate incidents in Balochistan, amid protests over the killing of three local leaders, Police said. Gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a Police official in Quetta, senior Police officer Rana Khalid told. In another drive-by shooting, gunmen killed one person and wounded another, he said. "Both incidents could be linked to a three-day strike being observed in the province" since the bodies of three separatist politicians were found on April 9, he said. Police also recovered dead bodies of six employees at a coalmine in Margat. "The victims who were abducted on Friday, were killed before dawn on Saturday," local Police officer Jaffar Hussain said. "They were shot dead," he said. Meerak Baloch, spokesman for the BLA, claimed responsibility for the Margat killings in a phone call, saying those targeted were people from Punjab and the NWFP.

April 12

A security guard was killed and three others injured when armed men stormed into three terminals storing NATO supplies in the limits of Yakatoot Police Station in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. A Police official said that around 200 suspected Taliban militants, who attacked the Aasim and Amanullah Terminal on Ring Road, also set ablaze 12 vehicles. He said a guard, Arif, had succumbed to his injuries, while three others were injured.

President Asif Ali Zardari referred the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, 2009 to the Prime Minister with the advice that he may consider placing it before parliament for debate.

The TNSM and the Swat Taliban warned parliamentarians against opposing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in the National Assembly. "Even holy prophets had no authority to make religious laws or amend them, then how can the National Assembly do it?" TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat Khan told The News. "If members of the National Assembly opposed the judicial system of the Shariat-e-Muhammadi, they will enter the category of non-Muslims and Pakistan will become Darul Harb," he warned. Explaining Darul Harb, he said when the rulers of a country opposed the Sharia (Islamic law), they did not remain Muslims anymore. "So a country with non-Muslims as its rulers becomes Darul Harb," he said and added that it made Jihad mandatory on rulers. Muslim Khan, the spokesman for the Swat militants, warned that those opposing the Nizam-e-Adl would be declared Murtad or apostate. "Then, he or she should contest election on minority seat, if he or she remains alive," he said.

April 13

Three Taliban militants from the Mullah Nazir group were killed in clashes with SFs in South Waziristan– marking the first intense clashes with the group since April 2007.

The Federal Government in Islamabad presented the peace accord to lawmakers for approval. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had said the deal would be presented in the National Assembly to reach a consensus on the subject.

Pakistan’s Interior Adviser Rehman Malik said that information provided by Indian authorities regarding Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 is incomplete and Islamabad has asked New Delhi to provide the missing information for the successful prosecution of the culprits. "We had sent 32 questions to India on the Mumbai attacks and India sent its response on March 13... We sent it to the investigation team for evaluation. Based on the reservations shown by the Pakistani investigators, we have written to the Indian high commissioner and gave him a briefing on what is missing and what is not provided," Malik told a press conference. "Pakistan has asked India to provide an attested copy of the judicial statement of Ajmal Kasab," he said. "We have sought a copy of statement of ATS chief investigator Karkre on the Samjotha Express incident, we have asked Indian authorities to provide details of the SIM cards, the GPRS system, the credentials of those Indian arrested in connection with the attacks, the report on Kasab’s DNA and a copy of charge sheet against the culprits," Malik said. The interior adviser said the DNA reports of Kasab and another suspect, Ismail, were identical. He also said another suspected facilitator of the attacks, Shahid Jamil Riaz, had been arrested.

April 14

The death toll in the week-long unrest in Balochistan has increased to 20 as another person succumbed to injuries in a local hospital in the provincial capital Quetta. 22-year old Asfandyar Khan Pashtun, a MBA student in the Balochistan University, was shot dead unidentified assailants while standing outside a house of his relatives in the Jinnah town on April 11. Meanwhile, some armed men shot dead a man on Sariab road. The victim was identified as Zahoor, an employee of the Civil Defence department.

President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation for Swat, after the National Assembly passed a resolution in favour of the draft regulation. "Yes, the president has signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation before leaving for Dubai on a two-day visit," said presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar. Earlier on April 13, the National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution recommending the President sign the regulation to be imposed in the Malakand Division in accordance with a peace agreement between the NWFP Government and the TNSM. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement had expressed its reservations over the resolution but abstained from voting to allow it to be passed unanimously. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the National Assembly that the issue had been brought before the House to build a broad national consensus and establish the supremacy of Parliament.

Sharia (Islamic law) courts formally started functioning in Swat after the enforcement of the Sharia justice system. These courts had started functioning in six Tehsils (revenue divisions) of Swat, including Bari Kot, Kabal, Matta, Khwazakhela, Bahrain and Babozai, from March 12, 2009 but owing to delay in signing of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation by the president, their powers were very limited. However, after approval of the regulation, these courts will have full powers.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) signed an international accord aimed at blocking financial aid to terrorists. A private TV channel reported that the SBP Governor Salim Raza signed the agreement at a ceremony in Karachi. He said the agreement would also help contain money laundering. He said the budget of a special department established to block donations to terrorists had been increased. Raza, however, said the SBP did not have the capability required to stop ‘suspicious transactions’.

The White House said the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation accord signed by the NWFP Government with the TNSM to introduce Sharia in Malakand Division and the Kohistan District of NWFP was against human rights and democracy. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama’s administration believed that "solutions involving security in Pakistan don’t include less democracy and less human-rights. The signing of that denoting strict Islamic law in Swat valley goes against both those principles". He also said "We are disappointed that parliament did not take into account legitimate concerns around civil and human rights."

Afghanistan warned that the peace deal with Swat Taliban for imposing Islamic law might have "dire consequences" for the region and could harm Pakistan-Afghanistan ties. The criticism came after President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation. "We do not interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs," President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said. However, there were concerns that "dealing with terrorists and handing over parts of one country to terrorists could have dire consequences in the long term", he said.

April 15

18 persons, including nine Policemen, were killed and five others injured when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the Harichand Police Post in Charsadda District. The NWFP Inspector General of Police, Malik Naveed, said Police wanted to stop the suicide bomber’s speeding car and fired at it, but it had reached close to them by the time the explosives went off. The blast also left a crater about three metres wide, damaged windows in nearby buildings and severed power cables, plunging the area into darkness.

An accused in the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 26, 2008 recorded his statement before the Special Judicial Magistrate Ahmed Masood Janjua and confessed that he was involved in the attack. The court sent the accused to the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on 14-day judicial remand and directed the Special Investigation Cell to produce him again on April 28. The accused, Shahid Jamil Riaz alias Muhammad Riaz from Nazir Colony in Bahawalpur in the Punjab province, recorded his statement under section 164 and confessed that he and other four accused, Hamad Ameen Sadiq, Zarar Shah, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Hamza alias Abu Alqa, were involved in the Mumbai attacks. However, the court refused to provide information about his confessional statement to the media. The Federal Investigation Agency sources told that Shahid Jamil Riaz belongs to the LeT and has confessed that he, along with other four accused, provided all kinds of transportation facilities, accommodation, internet and other facilities to those who carried out Mumbai attacks.

The NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, formally enforcing Sharia in Malakand Division and Kohistan District. "Today, it is an historic day," he told reporters in provincial capital Peshawar after signing the law two days after President Asif Ali Zardari approved it following a nod from the National Assembly.

The Sikh community living in the Orakzai Agency of FATA conceded to the Taliban demand to pay them jizia – tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule – and paid PKR 20 million to Taliban in return for ‘protection’. Officials told that the Taliban also released Sikh leader Sardar Saiwang Singh and vacated the community’s houses after the Sikhs accepted the Taliban demand. The officials said the Taliban announced that the Sikhs were now free to live anywhere in Orakzai. They also announced protection for the Sikh community, saying that no one would harm them after they paid jizia. Sikhs who had left the agency would now return to their houses and resume their business in the agency, the officials said.

The Taliban will not lay down their arms in NWFP as part of the peace deal that included the introduction of Sharia (Islamic law) but will take their "struggle" to new areas, a spokesman of the group said. "Sharia doesn’t permit us to lay down arms… If a government, either in Pakistan or Afghanistan, continues anti-Muslim policies, it’s out of the question that Taliban lay down their arms," Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said by telephone. "When we achieve our goal at one place, there are other areas where we need to struggle for it," he said. Khan also said militants would go to Afghanistan to fight US-led forces if the Afghan Taliban called for help. "Our struggle is for a cause and that’s to enforce Allah’s rule on Allah’s land. We will send mujahideen to Afghanistan if they demand them," he said.

A three-member Supreme Court bench granted bail to former Lal Masjid chief cleric Abdul Aziz in the last of over two dozen cases against him. Aziz – who was arrested during the Lal Masjid operation as he tried to sneak out of the mosque dressed in an all-covering burqa (veil) – will be freed within two or three days, according to his lawyer Shaukat Siddiqui. The bench, consisting of Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Zahid Hussain – observed that Aziz deserved bail because there was insufficient material on record against him in the Occupation of Children’s Library case.

Al Qaeda and other militant groups within its territory pose "an ever more serious threat to Pakistan’s very existence", General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), has said. In an interview with Philadelphia Inquirer, he said US President Barack Obama had made Afghanistan and Pakistan the focus of his foreign policy because of the presence of al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. To questions on why troops were being increased in Afghanistan if the real threat were in Pakistan, he said: "You have to ensure that Afghanistan doesn’t become once again a place where Al Qaeda establishes safe havens." If Taliban ideologues regain control of Afghanistan, it would further destabilise Pakistan, he added.

April 16

The Government released Maulana Abdul Aziz, former chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, from a sub-jail in Rawalpindi after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the last case related to the Children’s Library. The Supreme Court had on April 15 granted him bail, but the details of his surety bond, worth PKR 200,000, had yet to be worked out. Maulana Abdul Aziz lauded the decision of the Supreme Court and said he would continue to spread the message of Islam.

April 17

The National Assembly was informed that there were 1,842 terrorist attacks from January 2008 to March 2009 that killed at least 1,395 people. Replying to two identical questions by Members of National Assembly Marvi Memon and Nighat Parveen, the Interior Ministry told the Lower House that Balochistan was the worst-hit by terrorism – with a total of 1,122 terrorist attacks that killed 436 people, followed by NWFP with 692 attacks that killed 732 people, Punjab with 12 attacks that killed 119 people, Sindh with nine attacks that killed 21 people and Islamabad with seven attacks that killed 87 people. Replying to a supplementary question, Mujtaba Kharral said no inquiry report had been submitted to Parliament, but promised that the Government would soon table inquiry reports on all incidents.

April 18

27 SF personnel were killed and 55 others injured in a suicide attack on a security check post in the Doaba area of Hangu District in NWFP, hospital sources said. Locals told that the attack on the checkpoint, about 45 kilometres southwest of Hangu, took place at around 4:15pm (PST) when SF personnel were visiting the area for the inspection. Two Police vehicles were passing by the check post when the suicide bomber driving a double-cabin pickup rammed the vehicle into the structure, they said. The explosion destroyed the check post, adjacent building housing troops and Police, and eight SF’s vehicles.

Four people were killed in a remote-controlled bomb blast in the Tirah Shalobar area of Bara tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency in FATA. Sources in the area told that the dead included Sadiq – a shura (executive council) member of militant outfit Ansarul Islam (AI) – and an aide. The men were on their way to Tirah Larbagh when the explosive device – planted on the side of the road – went off. The men were injured by the explosion and died later.

April 19

Fighter planes and gunship helicopters targeted suspected hideouts of militants in different areas of the Orakzai Agency, killing 16 militants, while 10 others, including a soldier and two teachers, sustained injuries. Sources said militants had occupied a rest house, a women’s community centre, the Government Primary School in Ghiljo sub-division and the Government High School in Dabori area. The militants had been using these places as their bases, which came under severe air attack by the Pakistan Air Force fighter planes and gunship helicopters. Suspected hideouts of militants in the Khadizai and Mamuzai areas of Ghiljo were also heavily bombed. Security Forces claimed that 16 militants were killed in the daylong shelling, while eight persons, including a soldier, two teachers and some civilians, sustained injuries.

Eight persons were killed and two others sustained injuries when a suspected US spy plane fired missiles at two houses in the Ziyari Noor area near Rustam Adda in South Waziristan Agency. Sources said the US drones continued hovering over the area for hours and one of them fired missiles at the houses of Daim Khan Wazir and Wali Khan Wazir at 10:00 am, leaving eight civilians dead and two others injured. The houses were completely destroyed in the attack and three vehicles parked inside were also damaged.

Interior Adviser Rehman Malik has said six suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Talking to the media in Lahore, Rehman said Pakistan had asked New Delhi to provide it the chargesheets against the lone arrested LeT militant Ajmal Kasab and his confession before the court.

The US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, warned that no other place in the world today faced a more dangerous situation than Pakistan. In an interview to CNN, Holbrooke said Pakistan also faced a "very difficult economic situation" and needed immediate help. "This is a really dangerous situation in Pakistan today and we are focussed on this very heavily," said Holbrooke. Asked if the terrorist threat could cause Pakistan to collapse, the US envoy said that President Asif Ali Zardari and other Pakistani leaders too conceded that it was a very dangerous situation. "Swat is not in the tribal areas. It is only 100 miles from Islamabad … it is like East Hampton and Manhattan … people from Islamabad went to Swat for holidays … it is really an extraordinary situation." Ambassador Holbrooke termed the current situation in Pakistan as ‘very perilous’ and claimed that the militants operating from Swat and FATA had already increased their reach to Punjab. "There can be more terrorist attacks in cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi," he warned. He opined the Swat truce always seemed like a confused deal to him. The Pakistani military, he said, felt that it was ‘stretched thin’ and that’s why it concluded this deal. Holbrooke pointed out that if the Pakistani military wanted to persuade the militants to lay down their arms by concluding this deal, it did not succeed in doing so. The chief spokesman for the Swat Taliban "publicly renounced the part of the deal that requires the militants to lay down arms", he said, adding "You cannot deal with these people by giving away territory. They are now getting closer and closer to Islamabad and Punjab."

The TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad declared that the country’s superior courts were un-Islamic and could not hear appeals against decisions of the newly set up Qazi (Islamic) courts. "There is no room for democracy in Islam," said Sufi while addressing a gathering in the Mingora town of Swat District. Western democracy was a "system of infidels" and had divided the clerics and the people of Pakistan into factions, he said, and the Supreme Court and the high courts were strengthening the system. The TNSM chief told the Government to withdraw all judges from Malakand Division – including from Kohistan District – within four days and set up a Darul Qaza to hear appeals against the decisions of qazi courts. He also demanded the appointment of Qazis at the district and tehsil (revenue division) levels throughout the Division. "The government will be responsible for all the consequences if our demands are not implemented," he warned.

April 20

A two-day-old ceasefire in South Waziristan collapsed as the Taliban attacked bases of SFs hours after a drone attack targeted suspected Taliban hideouts. Three persons, including a woman and a child, were also killed in crossfire between the Taliban and SFs, said locals. The Taliban attacked at least four security check-posts. The SFs also reportedly shelled and launched air strikes against Taliban positions in Wana, killing eight suspected Taliban militants, said officials.

Helicopter gunships and jets targeted Taliban positions in the Orakzai Agency, killing at least 11 militants and injuring five others. The military operation against militants has reportedly been expanded to the Mamozai, Maidan, Jabba, Samma and Buda Khel areas. SFs launched operations on April 19 after the TTP claimed responsibility for the April 18 suicide attack in Doaba in which at least 23 soldiers and five civilians were killed. The SFs are reported to have missed an important target, the house of local TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, during the air raid in Dabori.

The TTP and TNSM announced to ban political parties and politics in the Bajaur Agency after talks. Both the outfits also banned the assembly of more than three people at a place. The ban was enforced following a jirga (council of elders), after four persons were killed in a clash between the activists of the both the outfits.

The Northern Areas Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker, Syed Asad Zaidi, was killed on the Park Link Road in Gilgit when unidentified gunmen ambushed his official vehicle. A senior Police official said one person died on the spot, while the Deputy Speaker and another man sustained critical injuries. They were shifted to the DHQ Hospital where he succumbed to injuries.

The TTP spokesman Muslim Khan has said Sharia (Islamic law) would not be restricted to the Malakand Division in Swat District, and that the Taliban will not lay down weapons unconditionally. Asked whether the Taliban would extend Sharia to other areas of Pakistan, Khan said: "Sure, because [the holy] Quran is not only for Malakand division. It is for all humanity, for all Muslims and we will go for the implementation of Sharia in other parts of Pakistan as well." He also said Taliban would not lay down their weapons unconditionally. "We are Pakhtuns and every Pakhtun has a gun. We have no tanks, no helicopters or jets," he said. Muslim Khan said the Taliban would keep their weapons if the qazi courts allowed them to. He said nobody had asked American forces to keep their weapons on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean or to surrender, but everyone had been asking the Taliban to lay down their arms. About international criticism that the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 is a parallel system of Government, the Taliban spokesman said: "We don't care about the reaction of the government in Pakistan or abroad."

Osama Bin Laden's top lieutenant Ayman Al-Zawahiri has criticised Pakistan's Government for its attempts to make deals with the Taliban along its border with Afghanistan. In an audio recording on a jihadi Website, Ayman al-Zawahiri accused US President Barack Obama of encouraging Pakistan's Government to make such deals, calling the strategy "a delusion". "Obama is cheating you; the problem will not end there. It will escalate," AP quoted him as saying.

April 21

The Taliban in Swat have said they are not bound to honour the peace accord between the Government and TNSM Maulana Sufi Muhammad. They said the NWFP Government had signed the deal with the TNSM, and not with the Taliban. Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan in a telephone interview with the CNN demanded the imposition of the Taliban's model of Sharia (Islamic law) throughout Pakistan and beyond, "even in America". He also denounced any Pakistanis who disagreed with his interpretation of Islam, calling them "non-Muslims". He also called for the imposition of jiziya, a tax to be levied on all non-Muslims in Pakistan. In an Associated Press interview, he said Osama bin Laden was welcome in Swat. "Yes, we will help them and protect them," he stated. Muslim Khan counted the LeT, the JeM, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban of Afghanistan among his allies. "If we need, we can call them and if they need, they can call us," he said.

The TTP is reported to have warned lawyers in the Shangla District of NWFP of serious consequences if they continued to appear in un-Islamic courts (civil and district courts) from April 22. "Lawyers are warned through this notice not to appear before civil and district courts," a member of the Shangla District Bar Association quoted the letter as saying.

The Interior Adviser Rehman Malik warned of stern action if the TNSM violated the peace agreement it had made with the NWFP Government. He said that the Nizam-e-Adl was invoked in 1994, under which a session judge was named Qazi. "No one should create the ambiguity that any Maulvi (cleric) will hold the charge of a judge," he said. Malik also ruled out lifting the ban on the TNSM.

Taliban militants from Swat took control of Buner and started patrolling bazaars, villages and towns in the District. The militants, who had sneaked into Gokand valley of Buner on April 4, were reported to have been on a looting spree for the past five days. They have robbed Government and NGO offices of vehicles, computers, printers, generators, edible oil containers, and food and nutrition packets. Sources said that leading political figures, businessmen, NGO officials and Khawaneen (feudal lords), who had played a role in setting up a Lashkar (militia) to stop the Taliban from entering Buner, had been forced to move to other areas. The Taliban have extended their control to almost all tehsils (revenue divisions) of the District and law-enforcement personnel remained confined to Police stations and camps. The Taliban, equipped with advanced weapons, were reported to be advancing towards border areas of Swabi, Malakand and Mardan, the hometown of NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti. The militants have reportedly set up check-posts and camp bases in Kangar Gali village, along the Malakand border Naway Dhand village, along the Mardan border and Tootalai village, along the Swabi border. Officials of the Frontier Corps camp in Jorh had asked people to vacate their homes in view of threats of an attack.

The Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 was challenged in the Supreme Court and the court was asked to stop its enforcement as it trespassed the jurisdiction of the apex court and breached the fundamental rights of security of a person guaranteed by the Constitution. The petition was filed by Shahid Orakzai under the Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the Secretary of Law and the NWFP Governor as respondents. He prayed to the court to take immediate steps for the reinforcement of the Article 9 of the Constitution that says: "No person shall be deprived of life or liberty except in accordance with law." The petitioner stated that under the regulation, the new forum called 'Darul-Qaza' will seemingly exercise the appellate jurisdiction of the apex court. "Under what authority the governor of the NWFP transplanted the jurisdiction of the apex court?" the petitioner questioned. He said in the eyes of the Constitution, the writers of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation were not to be taken as Muslims until they acknowledged the Qur'anic rules and amended the flawed regulation.

The Netherlands' national intelligence agency is reported to have stated that a growing number of West Europeans are attending terror training camps in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The General Intelligence and Security Service chief Gerard Bouman said Al Qaeda is boosting its capacity to carry out attacks by increasing co-operation with other extremist groups. He also said there is still a real threat of attacks in the region.

April 22

The Taliban have said they will not leave Buner District until the Nizam-e-Adl was implemented in Malakand Division. "The Taliban will leave Buner after enforcement of the Nizam-e-Adl," the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Muslim Khan told AFP from Swat. "The government writ is not being challenged" in Buner and the Taliban were not creating problems for the administration there, he claimed. "We went into Buner because the administration there had totally failed to provide justice to the people and resolve the problems being faced by them," he added.

The Government informed the Senate that Russia and India were supporting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) in its secession bid, saying the same outfit had kidnapped the UNHCR official John Solecki from Quetta. Making a policy statement at the end of the five-day debate on the killing of there Baloch leaders and the deteriorating law and order in Balochistan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik, claimed they had proof of foreign involvement in the province. While talking to the media later, Malik called on India to stop its interference in Balochistan, dubbing it an open enemy of Pakistan. He noted that the proposal of reviving the 'Sardari system' in the province was being considered. He added the FC had been put under the chief minister and all the 36 FC check-posts had been removed. Malik also revealed that the BLA chief Brahamdagh Khan Bugti lived close to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's presidential palace in Kabul and enjoyed local support. He added thousands of Baloch students had got training in Russia and were present in Balochistan.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she believed the Pakistani Government was abdicating to the Taliban and other militants. In a testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she warned that nuclear-armed Pakistan was becoming a "mortal threat" to the world. "I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists," Clinton said. According to her, "Pakistan poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world… And I want to take this occasion ... to state unequivocally that not only do the Pakistani government officials, but the Pakistani people and the Pakistani Diaspora ... need to speak out forcefully against a policy that is ceding more and more territory to the insurgents." "(We) cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by the continuing advances now within hours of Islamabad that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state," Clinton said.

April 23

46 militants have been killed and 26 injured in the four-day military operation in the Orakzai Agency, tribal and official sources said. The sources said jet fighters and gunship helicopters targeted the militants' hideouts in Balozai area of the Kalaya Tehsil (revenue division) at 2:00 pm, killing five militants and a civilian. A number of hideouts and bunkers of the militants were reportedly destroyed on Shawazar mountain. Several Government and private installations were also damaged during the shelling by the jet fighters and gunship helicopters on April 22. The Inter-Services Public Relations media cell said the SFs had killed 11 militants in the Orakzai Agency after striking militants' hideouts in the Chapri, Ferozkhel, Khwajakhizar and Bizoti areas. It further said that the SFs in operations on April 21 and 22 killed 27 militants in Ghiljo Tehsil.

Nine members of a family, including two women and seven children, were killed when a house in the Storikhel area of Khyber Agency was allegedly attacked by jet fighters and gunship helicopters. Sources said jet fighters and gunship helicopters, which were busy in the operations against militants in the neighbouring Orakzai Agency, fired two missiles at a house owned by Gul Zarin, Shah Zarin and Niaz Amin in Storikhel, killing two women and seven children.

The SFs claimed to have killed eight militants and destroyed their ammunition depot during operation in different parts of the Kohat region. SFs said that they launched a major operation against militants in the Jammu, Jawaki, and Bulai Khand areas and helicopter gunships killed eight militants during shelling in the mountains of Darra Adamkhel. In addition, the ground troops and helicopters targeted a huge ammunition storage facility of militants in Bulai Khand.

The Taliban spokesman in Darra Adamkhel claimed to have killed 35 SF personnel during a clash in Kohat. The spokesman, Mohammad, told by telephone that the Government took their cease-fire decision as their weakness whereas they had announced a unilateral truce keeping in view the sufferings of the tribesmen.

Six tankers supplying fuel to the NATO forces in Afghanistan were set ablaze and a guard sustained injuries after suspected Taliban militants opened fire on them. A Chamkani Police official told that five militants equipped with sophisticated weapons and rocket launchers entered the Pakistan Oil Tanker terminal at Jhagra Chowk at around 3 am and opened fire on the tankers parked there. He said the guard, Razam Khan, sustained injuries and six tankers were charred. He said at least three blasts were also heard, but the cause was not certain yet.

President Asif Ali Zardari vowed not to allow anybody to challenge the Government's writ or run a parallel Government in any part of the country, and said the Government is aware of the problems emanating from extremism and terrorism. The pledge came during talks with the US President's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, who had called the president over the telephone.

Eight Frontier Constabulary platoons were rushed to Buner to protect vital state installations in the northwestern town now virtually under Taliban control, while the Taliban entered the adjacent Shangla District. Local residents and Police in the Poran tehsil (revenue division) of Shangla said around 30 armed Taliban militants arrived in the town. "They entered the tehsil in cars and are still in the area," a Police official said. The Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas claimed the situation in Buner was not as dire as some have portrayed. He told that Taliban were in control of less than 25 percent of the District, mostly its north. "We are fully aware of the situation," Abbas said.

April 24

The Taliban announced its withdrawal from the Buner District in NWFP after a meeting between the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad and key Government officials. "All the Taliban who have come from [outside Buner] will go back," Amir Izzat Khan, a spokesman of Sufi Muhammad, told. However, sources close to the Taliban said that the "local Taliban will stay in Buner". It was not clear if those who stay will surrender weapons. Witnesses in the Poran sub-division of Shangla District also reported a Taliban withdrawal. The Malakand Commissioner Syed Muhammad Javed told the withdrawal was a result of the peace talks with Sufi.

The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, rejected the notion that the peace deal through Sufi Mohammed amounted to giving any "concession" to the armed Islamists, and declared that not only the Army had the resolve to take on the militants but, according to him, "victory against terror and militancy will be achieved at all costs". Speaking at a meeting of top military commanders at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the army chief acknowledged that doubts were being voiced about the intent and capability of the army to defeat the militants. But, he added, the army "never has and never will hesitate to sacrifice, whatever it may take, to ensure safety and well-being of the people and country's territorial integrity". He described the recent peace deal with Maulana Fazlullah's Swat-based militants as an "operational pause" that was meant to give the "reconciliatory forces" a chance, but declared that it "must not be taken for a concession to militants".

The banned LeT is planning to create further unrest, the commander of US forces in the Middle East said. "We should observe that the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba ... are trying to do more damage and they're trying to carry out additional attacks," General David Petraeus told US lawmakers. Petraeus said the US expected that "extremists that are trying to cause that kind of tension and also to take (Pakistan's) focus off of the internal extremist threat would indeed strive to do that."

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an interview broadcast that he was "extremely concerned" that Pakistan could be overtaken. "We're certainly moving closer to the tipping point where Pakistan could be overtaken by extremists", Admiral Mike Mullen said in the interview with NBC Television. Mullen said he hoped the arrival soon of an additional 17,000 American combat troops in Afghanistan will stabilise things there and in Pakistan.

There is no evidence that India is supporting violence in Pakistan, the US Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said. "If the Indians were supporting those miscreants in Pakistan that would be extraordinarily bad, really dangerous, but they are not doing so. There is no evidence that Indians are support miscreants in western parts of Pakistan or in Balochistan," he said in an interview with a private TV channel. He also said India was the second largest country in the world and one of the most important. "If we are interested in helping Pakistan, we will have to talk to its neighbours, which include China, India and Afghanistan," he added. He said India had given about $1 billion assistance to Afghanistan, and it should not be a cause of concern for Pakistan. "Pakistan does not need to worry about India in Afghanistan, but it has to be worried about miscreants and militants in its western parts," he added.

April 25

12 children were killed and four others injured when girls of a local primary school in the in the Luquman Banda area of Lower Dir District in NWFP had found the toy bomb and were playing with it when it exploded. The dead girls were aged between four and 12 years. Seven of the 12 dead children were from the same family. A woman and three children were injured.

Five militants and a FC soldier were killed 25 in an alleged armed clash and a landmine explosion in the Dera Bugti area of Balochistan. The spokesman for the Baloch Republican Army, Sirbaz Baloch, claimed that five militants had been killed while SFs lost 19 troopers. He said 25 others were injured in clashes and the landmine explosion. Officials, however, said that no armed clash occurred between the SFs and militants in the area. They said that six soldiers were injured in a landmine explosion in the Marvi area.

April 26

26 Taliban militants, including an important commander, and a trooper were killed after Security Forces launched an operation in the Maidan area of Lower Dir. "At least 26 bodies of Taliban were found from Lal Qila. The FC [Frontier Corps] has taken control of Lal Qila," said the SFs, after the Government decided to establish the writ of the state in areas bordering Swat. An Inter-Services Public Relations statement said, "On the request of the provincial government and the people of Dir, the Frontier Corps launched the operation early on Sunday against suspected Taliban positions in Islampura and Lal Qila in Lower Dir. An exchange of fire took place in Kala Dag and scores of Taliban were killed." It said that a soldier was also killed and four others were injured.

A spokesman for the TTP, Dir chapter, said the military operation in Dir was unjustified and against the Swat peace deal. Talking to a private TV channel, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, the TTP spokesman for Dir, said the Taliban would retaliate to the SFs with full force. The government, he said, has no intention to ensure the implementation of the Swat peace deal. We have not violated the deal and, therefore, the operation is unjustified, he claimed, adding the Taliban would attack those who had ordered operation against them in Dir. In addition, the TNSM spokesman Izatt Khan said the operation by SFs in Lower Dir is a 'violation' of the Swat peace deal. Talking to a private TV channel, the spokesman claimed that the house and a seminary owned by TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad had also been damaged in the operation.

Interior Adviser Rehman Malik said the Government has no option but to take action against the Taliban. Malik said citizens "cannot bear such unwanted elements in the country that compel the government to take action against them". In Islamabad, the Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the Government's peace deal with the Taliban in Swat is 'intact' despite the launch of a military operation in Lower Dir. Babar said the operation did not void the pact. Lower Dir is part of the Malakand Division, which is covered by the agreement.

Five members of a family, including three women, were killed and four children sustained injuries when an explosive device went off inside a vehicle in the Smalkhel area of Datakhel sub-division in the North Waziristan Agency. Sources said the family members of Faizullah were on their way home in the vehicle when the explosion occurred, killing two women, driver Islahuddin and a boy on the spot and injuring a woman and four children. While the injured children admitted to the Miranshah Hospital, the wounded woman succumbed to her injuries en route to hospital. The vehicle was completely destroyed in the blast. It was unclear whether the family was carrying the explosive device or someone had placed it in the vehicle.

The ISPR Director General, Major General Athar Abbas has said that certain splinter groups are not even under the control of the TNSM or the TTP, and "these are the groups creating problems,". Abbas, however, told a foreign television channel that the Government was confident of implementing the Swat peace deal. He rubbished as baseless reports that the Taliban could also enter Islamabad. "It is impossible for a group of 200 Taliban, who have come to Buner from Swat, to storm Islamabad despite its close proximity to Buner district. No doubt, Buner is situated within a radius of 100 miles of the federal capital ... [but] the threat cannot be measured in terms of distance, rather it has to be measured in terms of counter capabilities," he said, adding that it would be ridiculous to say that the Taliban were a threat to Islamabad. He claimed that there were no more than 50 Taliban militants in Buner District. "They were recruited by the Swat Taliban, who left them behind after ... they left Buner," he added. He also said the Security Forces would flush out those left in Buner if they created further problems.

Banned terrorist groups in Pakistan's Punjab province are gaining strength after joining hands on a new platform called the Muslim United Army (MUA). LeT, JeM and LeJ have a common cause under the banner of MUA and their activities are also in line with those of the Taliban, according to a report drawn up by the CID. The report also said militancy has been rapidly taking roots in Punjab province, especially in the five districts of Muzaffarghar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Bhakkar. "As several members of the three banned groups have taken part in the Afghan war, they have developed a nexus with the Taliban," a senior CID officer said. "In the suicide bombings of the Naval War College and Federal Investigation Agency office in Lahore and the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team and police training school in Manawan, the facilitators of the perpetrators were from these organisations operating in Punjab," the officer said. Police officials also believe the three groups had joined hands primarily to target the security forces.

April 27

Frontier Corps (FC) personnel killed 26 Taliban militants, including key commanders, as Operation Toar Tander-I (Black Thunderstorm-I) continued in the Maidan area of Lower Dir of NWFP for the second day. "Forty (Taliban), including commanders Maulana Shahid and Qari Quraish, have been killed in the last two days of operation," the FC said in a press statement. Officials said the SFs were gaining ground against the Taliban and their hideouts in Kalkot, Islam Dara and Hoshyari Dara were targeted. "After a stiff encounter with the [Taliban], the Frontier Corps soldiers regained control of Lal Qila and flushed them out from Maidan valley," the FC statement added. Paramilitary troops and helicopter gunships bombed suspected Taliban bases during the operation, an unnamed military official told. "Eight security officials were also killed in two days of operation," another military official said. The operation was launched on April 26 after the Taliban militants attacked SFs and Government officials and closed roads for the movement of government and FC convoys.

The NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar warned the Taliban of military action if they did not leave Buner district. "Leave Buner or face action," the minister said while addressing a news conference in Timergara where new Malakand Commissioner Fazal Rahim Khattak was also present. The minister said the provincial Government has received reports of presence of "foreign militants" in Buner, where some of the Taliban had been speaking languages the locals could not understand. The foreigners are likely Uzbeks, Chechens or Arabs. The minister said there was no military operation going on in Lower Dir, adding that the clashes there were "retaliation to the attack by miscreants on the security forces". The armed forces were present in Malakand division "only to maintain peace and harmony".

The TNSM has suspended talks with the NWFP Government to protest against the military action in Dir, the TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat Khan told in Mingora city. "We, however, still adhere to the February deal," he told, referring to the accord that sought Taliban disarmament in return for the imposition of sharia law in Malakand division. "We will not hold any talks until the operation ends," he told Associated Press. "The agreements with the Pakistan government are worthless because Pakistani rulers are acting to please Americans," Muslim Khan, spokesman for Taliban in Swat valley said. A Taliban spokesman identified as Umar said to Associated Press that the Taliban would agree to talks about the situation in Dir, but only if the military operation is halted. "We were living peacefully in Dir," Umar added further.

A survey conducted by Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP) with the help of the British High Commission in Islamabad reports that 56 percent respondents described Afghanistan's Taliban as "Islamic heroes fighting western occupation". A paltry 12.1 percent called them "a terrorist group". More than 54 percent respondents said they were "dissatisfied with life" in FATA in general. The number of satisfied people stood at 18.15 percent, according to the survey, and 17.5 percent said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Some 73.25 percent tribesmen referred to provision of justice as "the most important service" that the Government should provide in their areas followed by 64.6 percent voting for education, 52.1 percent for health and 47 percent for tackling terrorism. Just 2.95 percent respondents referred to the United States as a "very favourable" country, compared with 66.2 percent who called it "very unfavourable".

April 28

The Inter-Services Public Relations Director General, Major General Athar Abbas, told a news conference in Rawalpindi that the military operation in the Lower Dir District of NWFP, which started on April 26, had been completed. "The operation in Dir has successfully been completed, during which 70 to 75 militants were killed," he said. Ten personnel of the Security Forces were also killed during the operation. He said over 300 militants had started entering Lower Dir on April 2 and 3. Despite warning from the Government officials, they did not stop their unlawful activities, he added. "They were involved in kidnapping for ransom, killing police and other security officials and other unlawful acts," he said. He also said no foreign militant was found during the Dir operation.

The NWFP Government is all set to establish the Darul Qaza appeals court in Malakand and appoint Qazis in the area, Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said, inviting the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad for talks to implement the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009.

The TNSM warned of a ‘storm’ across Pakistan if the Malakand peace deal collapses. "The peace accord has weakened and is shaky," Sufi Muhammad’s son Rizwanullah Farooq said from Swat. "If it breaks, there will be a storm in the whole country."

April 29

Troops took control of the main Daggar town, headquarters of the Buner District after being dropped by helicopter behind Taliban lines, killing over 50 Taliban militants in two days of fighting, the military said. Troops were operating on three axis – Ambaila, Malandar and Karakar – military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told reporters in Rawalpindi. "Two high-value targets — Maulvi Shahid and Qari Quresh — are among the 50 militants killed so far in Buner when gunship helicopters targeted militants’ positions during the operation launched on Tuesday afternoon," Abbas stated. "The security forces are facing stiff resistance, particularly around Ambaila heights," a key gateway to the mountainous region where the Taliban detonated three roadside bombs, he said. One soldier had been killed in the operation and three were injured. "The airborne forces have linked up to police and Frontier Constabulary in Daggar," the spokesman said. The Army spokesman informed the media that Daggar has been cleared of the militants while Sultanwala, Nawagai and Pir Baba Ziarat are still in the militants’ control. The military estimated some 500 militants were in the Buner Valley and that it might take a week to clear them out.

Six people were killed and two injured when two missiles were fired by a suspected US drone at Kani Garam village in South Waziristan. "Six people were killed when a moving vehicle was hit by one [of the] missiles fired by a US spy plane," tribesmen told. They said that all of those killed were locals. Four people had also been injured in the strike. A local administration official and intelligence officials confirmed the missile strike.

Four militants were killed and two others sustained injuries in artillery shelling by the SFs in the Khwaizai Baizai area of Mohmand Agency in FATA. SFs are reported to have targeted suspected locations of the militants in different areas early in the morning, killing four militants and wounding two others. The troops also seized a pickup truck in the area and recovered rockets, mortar shells and explosives.

Three children were killed and their mother injured when they stepped on a landmine at a village near the border of Dera Bugti District. Police said the landmine had been planted in Goth Metha Bugti in the Sobatpur area. A Police officer said the woman and her children were on their way to a dispensary.

The Taliban in Swat have announced that they will ‘reform’ the banking system and journalism in the areas they control, shifting the focus from barbers and CD shops. Taliban spokesman Haji Muslim Khan said Taliban’s next target would be the banking system "where un-Islamic affairs are being carried out". He said the Taliban would penalise the media with the Sharia (Islamic law) punishment for telling lies. The Taliban would take action against the people "who are trying to conceal facts by publishing and broadcasting false reports". He admitted that Taliban had issued posters warning the media in Swat.

April 30

The ISPR Director-General Major General Athar Abbas said that 24 militants had been killed so far in the military operation in Buner and SFs had cleared the District headquarters Daggar of the militants. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said due to the successful operation, launched jointly by the FC and Pakistan Army, life was returning to normalcy in Lower Dir. He also said the number of casualties might increase in Buner and Lower Dir. Abbas added that the militants were still holding positions at Sultanwas and Pir Baba.

The Taliban in Orakzai Agency of FATA have banished 50 Sikh families from the agency for not paying Jizia, a tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic law. According to a private TV channel, Taliban militants occupied houses and shops of the Sikhs and auctioned their valuables for PKR 0.8 million in the Qasim Khel and Feroz Khel areas. The Taliban had demanded PKR 12 million from the Sikh community but they had only paid PKR 6.7 million to the Taliban, the channel said.

Pakistan’s top military leaders resolved to support the Government in showing "zero tolerance" towards militancy in the Malakand Division of NWFP in a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC). "While examining the prevailing situation in Malakand division, the JCSC expressed satisfaction over the progress of operations in Lower Dir, Buner and adjoining areas and resolved to extend maximum support to the government in stamping out any spillover of militancy in these areas with zero tolerance," an ISPR spokesman said after the meeting.

The ISPR Director-General Major General Athar Abbas dismissed a report in The New York Times that claimed that Pakistan had agreed to move 6,000 troops from its Indian border to its western border with Afghanistan. "The story is not correct," he said.

May 1

SFs have killed approximately 60 Taliban militants in the Buner District of NWFP over the last 24 hours as helicopter gunships continued shelling suspected hideouts, with almost 400 militants putting up a fierce resistance to the military operations. According to the ISPR spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, "Nearly 55 to 60 Taliban have been killed over the last 24 hours in the Buner operation." He informed the media that two Frontier Corps personnel had also been killed and eight injured in the operation, which entered its fourth day on May 1. Abbas said the troops were killed when a suicide bomber blew up a booby-trapped house. The military spokesman said the resistance the Taliban had put up and their weapons – assault rifles, anti-aircraft missiles and mortars – showed they had come to Buner with the intention to stay. He said locals had confirmed that foreigners were also present in Buner and fighting the SFs along with the Taliban. Abbas said the SFs had foiled Taliban plans to target the troops in suicide attacks. He claimed that one would-be suicide bomber had also been arrested, after he attempted to blow himself up. He also said ground troops backed by helicopter gunships destroyed nine suicide vehicles and six vehicles of ‘fleeing Taliban’. Three suicide motorcyclists were shot dead by ground troops advancing on narrow mountain tracks, he added.

Representatives of the NWFP Government and the TNSM failed to reach agreement on the appointment of Qazis in the Malakand Division as talks resumed between the two sides. In addition, the provincial Government turned down the plea of TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad to halt the military operation in the Lower Dir and Buner Districts.

Commander of the US Central Command, General David Petraeus, has told American officials that the next two weeks are critical to determining whether the Pakistani Government will survive. "The Pakistanis have run out of excuses" and are "finally getting serious" about combating the threat from Taliban and al Qaeda extremists operating out of northwest Pakistan, the general added. But Petraeus also said that "we’ve heard it all before" from the Pakistanis and he is looking to see concrete action by the Government to destroy the Taliban in the next two weeks before determining the United States’ next course of action.

May 2

Taliban militants attacked a security post in the Mohmand Agency of FATA, triggering a battle that left 16 Taliban militants and two soldiers dead. About 100 Taliban militants attacked the Spinal Tangi post before dawn, the army said in a statement. "Sixteen militants were killed in retaliatory fire. Two security forces personnel embraced shahadat (martyrdom)," it added. Three troops were also wounded.

Five Taliban militants, including two key commanders, were killed in fighting with the SFs in the Charbagh tehsil ((revenue division) of Swat District. Sources said the troops also seized a car prepared for a suicide attack and arrested three armed Taliban militants.

May 3

Brigadier Fayyaz Mehmood Qamar, who is in-charge of military operations in the Buner District of NWFP, said the operations will be completed within a week. Briefing the media in District headquarters Daggar, he said SFs killed 27 suicide attackers, bringing the death toll of militants to 80. Three SF personnel were also killed in the operation, he added. The Brigadier said SFs faced stiff resistance while entering into Buner, as the presence of militants at the Ambela hills was very thick and suicide bombers, riding on motorcycles and vehicles, were out to target the troops. Militants were still present in Pir Baba and Suleman Bakhsh and a plan had been chalked out to launch operation in this area, he said. The SFs have not initiated any land offensive so far and the entire operation was conducted with the help of artillery and gunship helicopters, he said. Brig Fayyaz also said local militants were very few in strength while Uzbek insurgents were present in large numbers, putting up a stiff resistance. Further, the District Coordination Officer disclosed that about 30-35 suicide bombers were still present in the area.

An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release stated that consolidation of positions was carried out in Daggar and the surrounding areas. The press release said the dead included a militant commander, Khalil alias Alam Buneri, a main leader of the TTP. SFs also successfully evacuated 20 girls, who were trapped in the Daggar Girls College.

238 Policemen along with 126 soldiers of the Army and 67 personnel of the paramilitary FC have been killed in 1,240 terrorist attacks in the NWFP since January 2004, according to official statistics. In addition, 526 Policemen, 204 FC personnel and 324 soldiers were wounded in these attacks that also killed 806 civilians and injured 1993 others till April 15, 2009. Among those either killed or wounded during these attacks were a number of senior officers of the Frontier Police, the FC and the Army. The senior most of them was Deputy Inspector General Malik Mohammad Saad, who was heading the Peshawar Capital City Police when hit by a suicide bomber on January 27, 2007.

The banned TNSM – which had promised to ensure peace in Swat District in return for the establishment of Sharia (Islamic courts) –rejected the Darul Qaza appellate court set up by the NWFP Government. Ameer Izzat Khan, the chief spokesman for TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad, said the Government had acted unilaterally in establishing the Darul Qaza and had violated the peace agreement. He said it had been decided in a May 1 meeting between the provincial Government and TNSM in Timergara that the former would first announce an end to the operations in Malakand following which the Taliban would declare a cease-fire.

Reports indicated that the Swat peace deal stands dissolved and the militants present in Swat, Matta, Kabal and Sangla as well as their commanders have asked for permission to fight everywhere. "Our peace agreement with the NWFP government practically stands dissolved," confirmed Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Swat chapter of the banned TTP. SFs are attacking us and our fighters are also retaliating, he said. The TTP Swat spokesman vowed that their fighters would now attack SFs and Government figures everywhere. He alleged the rulers were obeying every directive of US President Barack Obama. When asked about the dissolution of the Swat peace agreement, ANP spokesperson Senator Zahid Khan said they had signed the accord with the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad and not with the Swat Taliban. He said the Taliban had been violating the accord time and again. However, the TNSM spokesman Ameer Izzat Khan said he did not know about the scrapping of the agreement but if the operation continued in the region, the situation would return to the one that prevailed before the pact. He claimed the general public in Swat was now opposed to the Government.

May 4

A suicide car bomber killed four SF personnel and wounded eight persons in the outskirts of Peshawar, the NWFP capital. Police sources said the attacker rammed his car into a vehicle carrying SF personnel.

The Swat peace agreement crumbled as Taliban militants took over Mingora, the district headquarters of Swat in the NWFP, taking positions atop Government and private buildings and patrolling the deserted streets. "The city is in complete control of the Taliban, who say they are taking positions to guard the local population," Mingora residents said. Local residents said both the Security Forces and the Taliban militants set up checkposts on roads leading to Mingora and soldiers were seen on high alert in Kabal. Military authorities had announced curfew in the city from 7pm to 6am and had warned the violators of stern action.

The Taliban have made about 2,000 civilians in Buner of NWFP hostage and are using them as human shield, the chief military spokesman said. The ISPR Director General Major General Athar Abbas told the state-run Pakistan TV that the Taliban had made the civilians hostage in Peer Baba and Sultan Was areas and were not allowing them to leave.

Calling the Pakistani Government and Army "enemies of Muslims", the Swat Taliban vowed to march forward till death. "Either we’ll be martyred or we’ll march forward," said Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan. He also said elements in the military and the Government were trying to sabotage the peace process to please the United States.

The spokesman for TNSM has said establishing peace was the responsibility of the government and not the TNSM. Talking to reporters in Batkhela, he said the TNSM would only be responsible for peace if Sharia was enforced in the Malakand division. According to the channel, he called for an end to the military action against the Taliban in parts of the division and said peace could not be restored by force and could only come through "the enforcement of sharia". He said the NWFP Government had not consulted the TNSM on the appointment of qazis.

The NWFP Government will not tolerate any violation of the Swat peace agreement any longer, provincial Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said. Talking to reporters, he said the Government had demonstrated full sincerity in the promulgation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation and had announced the establishment of Darul Qaza to fulfil the demands of Sufi Muhammad and the Taliban for peace in Malakand. However he warned of stern action and "the use of the second option" against anyone who would challenge the writ of the state. The minister asked the Taliban to lay down weapons and support the government in its peace initiatives, and told them the government would not tolerate any violation of the agreement in future after the implementation of Nizam-e-Adl.

May 5

During clashes between the SFs and militants in the Swat District, at least 18 persons, including three militants and two SF personnel, were killed and 20 others sustained injuries. Sources said clashes were going on in Mingora city, Khwazakhela, Barikot and Shamozai areas, while heavy shelling was witnessed in Qambar area. The shelling and firing continued overnight in which scores of houses were destroyed. Militants also attacked the DIG of Police’s office, Commissioner Office, Police station and museum in Saidu Sharif and captured the DIG office.

While talking to reporters, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed militants were in control of ‘90 per cent’ of the valley and said their actions were in response to "Army violations of the peace deal." The NWFP Government, however, accused the Taliban of not honouring their commitments under the peace deal despite the announcement of Darul Qaza in the Malakand Division.

Seven people, including two children and a Frontier Corps soldier, were killed and 48 others sustained injuries an explosives-laden car rammed into a pick-up near a check-post on the Bara road near Peshawar. The Bara Qadeem check-post was manned by the Police and Frontier Constabulary. Eyewitnesses said the car on a suicide mission was following a Frontier Corps pick-up from Bara and hit it when it slowed down near the check-post. The pick-up was carrying students to a school in Peshawar.

15 Taliban militants and two SF personnel were killed in a Taliban attack on the Spinki Tangi check-post in Mohmand Agency, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. It also said six of the troops had gone missing after the Taliban attacked the check-post around 3:30am. The SFs retaliated by targeting Taliban hideouts in the Baizai and Safi sub-divisions of Mohmand Agency. However, no casualties were reported.

A review board of the Lahore High Court has extended for 60 days the detention of JuD (the Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT] front) chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and Col (retd) Nazir Ahmed, while releasing two outfit leaders Mufti Abdur Rehman and Ameer Hamza. The board comprising Justice Mian Muhammad Najam-uz-Zaman, Justice Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi and Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chohan turned down the home department’ request to extend the detention of Mufti and Hamza after feeling dissatisfied with the material produced against them. They would be released on May 6 (today) after the expiry of their detention period. In the case of Hafiz Saeed and Nazir Ahmed, the board extended their detention citing security concerns.

The Federal Investigation Agency in Rawalpindi submitted a charge-sheet against five men accused of being involved in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The court will frame chares against the accused on May 12. Anti-Terrorism Court-II Judge Sakhi Mohammad Kahot, who has been conducting the trial of the accused Shahid Jameel Riaz a resident of Bahawalpur, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi of Islamabad, Abdul Wajid alias Zarar Shah of Sheikhupura, Mazhar Iqbal alias Abu al-Qama, a resident of Islamabad, and Hammad Amin Saddiq of Karachi in Adial Jail, distributed the copies of the charge-sheet among the accused who would formally be indicted on the next date of hearing.

The United States Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke said the Swat peace deal was dead. Appearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Holbrooke claimed that President Asif Ali Zardari had already told the US that the agreement would not work. He said Zardari was opposed to the deal and had only signed it under pressure. Holbrooke suggested that the US might set benchmarks for its aid to Pakistan in various areas, adding that such conditions must not worsen the existing trust-deficit that was plaguing relations between Washington and Islamabad. He also said security assistance to Pakistan must be linked to results and the country must demonstrate its commitment to defeat al Qaeda and other terrorists on its soil.

May 6

In a bid to recapture the Government buildings seized by the Taliban in Swat, SFs targeted militants’ strongholds with gunship helicopters and artillery, killing 60 militants. In the daylong fighting across the District, 40 civilians and two FC soldiers were also killed.

The Taliban have planted countless landmines and explosive devices around the populated areas of Swat to stop the people from leaving their homes and for using women and children as human shields against the military operation, a federal cabinet meeting was told. However, sources close to the Taliban denied mining of the area.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told Al Jazeera that they are in control of "90 percent" of the Swat valley. Blaming the breakdown of the Swat peace deal on the Pakistani military, Khan said the peace accord with the Government in Swat was over.

22 militants were killed after the paramilitary forces raided Elahi village in the Buner District. "The FC conducted a raid in the village of Elahi, located west of Daggar, killing 22 militants," the FC said in a statement. "Reportedly, 50 militants were looting the villagers and on receiving this information, a force was sent to control them. After a stiff encounter, 22 militants were killed and the rest of them ran away," the FC stated. The death toll, however, could not be independently confirmed due to the ongoing military operation.

Suspected Baloch insurgents killed three SF personnel and injured three others when they attacked their van in the Thali area of Karmo Wadh town close to Sibi District.

May 07

Jet fighters and helicopter gunships targeted Taliban hideouts and centres in various parts of the Swat and Lower Dir Districts, killing 60 Taliban militants. "We have carried out air strikes on known centres of militants killing around 60 [Taliban] in Swat and Lower Dir," chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told.

The SF killed a son of the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad in a clash with the Taliban in Lower Dir District, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement. During an exchange of fire, 10 militants, including Kifayatullah – son of Sufi Muhammad – was killed, it said. The TNSM spokesman Amir Izzat Khan said the 43-year-old was killed in helicopter gunship firing in Maidan area. "In an attempt to eliminate and flush out [Taliban] from the area, FC [Frontier Corps] launched an attack in early morning today… During exchange of fire, 10 [Taliban] were killed including Kifayatullah, son of Sufi Muhammad," the ISPR said.

Five members of a local armed Lashkar (militia) were killed and six others injured when militants opened fire at them in the Siyalo Talab area of Hangu District in NWFP.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered the armed forces to launch an operation against the militants and terrorists so as to flush them out completely from Swat and Malakand in order to ensure security, restore honour and dignity of the homeland and for the protection of the people. "The government will not bow before the militants and terrorists but will force them to lay down their weapons and will not compromise with them," he said in his 20-minute televised address to the nation.

 

President Asif Ali Zardari said in Washington that military operations against extremists would last until "normalcy" returns to the troubled Swat Valley. "It is going to carry on until life in Swat comes back to normalcy," Zardari said in reply to a question at a press conference along with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar.

Army chief General Kayani has said the army would employ all resources to ensure a decisive ascendancy over militants. Chairing the corps commanders’ conference at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, he said the army was fully aware of the gravity of the internal threat. Gen Kayani told the conference the army had developed full-scale facilities to focus on low-intensity conflict-related operations. According to a press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations, the Army chief said: "The present security situation requires that all elements of national power should work in close harmony to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism."

May 8

SFs killed more than 140 Taliban militants as the military operation continued in the Swat valley of NWFP. 13 of them were killed in a major gun battle at Matta Police station. Seven soldiers were also killed as the SFs took control of Khawazakhela and Chamtalai, ISPR Director General Maj Gen Athar Abbas said in a media briefing. He said military had launched a "full-scale operation" in Swat and the Taliban militants were on the run. He said the Taliban militants were trying to block an exodus of civilians through coercion, taking hostages, bombings and blocking roads with trees. According to Reuters, he said there were 4,000 to 5,000 Taliban militants in Swat, including Uzbeks and Tajiks.

Four people were killed and several others injured when a rocket fired from an unidentified location hit an Afghan refugee camp in the Jangal Khel area of Darra Adamkhel in NWFP.

According to security sources, an operation had been launched against the Taliban militants in the Shen Dhand, Tor Chappar, Sunni Khel, Bosti Khel and Akhorwal areas of Darra Adamkhel.

More than one million people left their homes in the violence-hit Malakand region after a Taliban surge and a military response, NWFP Environment Minister Wajid Ali Khan said in a press briefing. "We appeal for international help to cope with the rising number of internally displaced persons," the provincial minister told a news briefing. "We need huge funds to provide [essentials] at the camps," he further said, adding, "The funds provided by the federal Government are insufficient... We need billion of dollars."

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on a comprehensive "action plan" to flush out terrorism, organised crimes and drug trafficking and plan to form a joint border SF, a private TV channel reported. The plan will be put before the federal cabinet’s of both countries for formal approval, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in a press conference with his Afghan counterpart Muhammad Hanif Atmar. "The safety and defence of the two countries are inter-linked," the minister said, adding, that Islamabad and Kabul now "fully realise the need of working shoulder-to-shoulder to provide peace and security to their people". The two countries agreed to help each other by sharing real-time information and improving border control management. They will also hand over to each other criminals and "other anti-state elements". The interior minister said Pakistan would provide facilities for training of Afghan law-enforcement agencies’ personnel.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said that Pakistan will be able to root out violent extremism with the help of sustained international support. "I can assure the world on behalf of the people of Pakistan that we are up to the task. Just help us. Get us the capability and we can defeat the common enemy for a better tomorrow for our children and the coming generations," he said. According to a private TV channel, Zardari said in an interview with a US newspaper that Pakistan could not remove its troops from the Pakistan-India border to deploy them on its western borders. He said Pakistan had already deployed a significant number of troops on the western border. He added that the drone attacks would be more effective if the US provided the technology to Pakistan.

May 9

SFs killed 55 Taliban militants in various areas of Swat in NWFP, while 14 Taliban were killed in Lower Dir District after gunship helicopters targeted Maidan area. "We have hit certain militant positions in Mingora with helicopter gunships," said military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. "The Taliban were harassing the civil population and intensely involved in various activities of looting and arson in the city of Mingora and, in an early morning attack, helicopters engaged militant hideouts and reportedly left 15 militants dead," Abbas added.

SFs also targeted suspected Taliban positions at Rama Kandhao ridge in Matta tehsil (revenue division) and destroyed the main headquarters of the Taliban there, a military statement added. "Reportedly, 30 to 40 militants have been killed," it added. Indiscriminate mortar fire by the Taliban militants in Mingora had caused civilian casualties, it said but no details were provided. A Taliban source confirmed heavy bombardment of the Taliban positions by jet planes and helicopters.

Four missiles fired by a suspected US drone killed an unspecified number of Taliban militants at South Waziristan in FATA. Officials claimed that 10 Taliban militants had been killed, while a deputy Taliban commander said five were killed. However, tribesmen claimed they had counted 25 dead bodies.

Five suspected terrorists were killed and a Policeman injured during an encounter at Baghbanan Road in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. Three of the dead have been identified as Arab Shah, Abdul Akbar and Musarrat Shah, all residents of Afghanistan.

A day earlier, General Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, is reported to have stated that Pakistan has become the nerve centre of Al Qaeda’s global operations. "It is the headquarters of the Al Qaeda senior leadership," said the general. A ring of Tunisian suicide bombers arrested recently in Iraq appeared to have received their directions from Pakistan as well, he said.

May 10

SFs said they had killed up to 200 Taliban militants in 24 hours during the on-going operation in Swat even as they secured the Shangla top and important towns and ridges in the Dir and Buner Districts. Troops engaged the Taliban in their Peochar headquarters and at hideouts in Kanju, Mingora, Banai Baba, Namal, Qambar, Fizagath, Tiligram and Chamtalai, the Inter-Services Public Relations said in an update. The Inter-Services Public Relations claimed that 140-150 militants were killed in an attack on the Banai Baba training camp in Shangla and 50-60 militants were killed in different areas of Swat valley.

The SFs secured Shangla top advancing up to Biladram town, encountering improvised roadside bombs and fierce Taliban resistance on Chamtalai bridge. The troops resumed operation from Point 2245 and Point 2266 heights captured on May 9, and advanced up to Shalwal Kandao, where one soldier was killed. The SFs also destroyed a Taliban training camp at Banai Baba in Shangla, where up to 150 militants were confirmed dead.

The Taliban’s indiscriminate mortar fire and roadside bombs planted in populated areas killed an unspecified number of civilians. The Taliban also blew up two schools at Barikot and Maniar, and killed a local prayer leader, Zahid Khan, at Nishat Chowk.

In Dir, troops secured Kala Dag and advanced up to Haya Sarai and continued to secure positions on Gulabad heights.

Three civilians were killed in strafing by gunship helicopters and a paramilitary soldier was shot dead by militants in the Malakand Agency.

Reports from Timergara indicated that SFs have secured areas from Kaladag to Hayaserai and killed five militants in an operation in the Maidan area of Lower Dir District. Other sources put the number of militants’ casualties at 10. Major Qilla, considered to be one of the strongholds and defence line of militants, was also captured.

26 Taliban militants were killed in a three-hour encounter that followed a Taliban attack on a frontier Corps (FC) camp in the Ambar valley of Mohmand Agency and 18 militants were killed when troops retaliated to an attack on their convoy in South Waziristan. In Mohmand, about 150 heavily armed militants launched a midnight attack on an FC camp in the Had area. Four FC soldiers were also injured during the ensuing encounter. In South Waziristan, the Taliban attacked a security convoy in Spin area south of Tanai. An officer, Captain Muneeb, also died in the attack.

President Asif Ali Zardari has announced that his Government would take over all Madaris (religious schools) as part of Madaris reforms and separate the students from extremists and they would be imparted modern education along with religious education. He said in Washington that the Government has resolved to bring reforms in the Madaris systems whereby the academic courses will be made rather advanced while it will bring them under the Government system.

The next few weeks would be pivotal for Pakistan’s future, a top US general warned. In an interview with Fox News, General David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, said "The next few weeks would be very important and, to a degree, pivotal in the future for Pakistan." He also pointed to Pakistan’s intensifying offensive against the Taliban in Swat as a sign its political leaders, people and military were united against the militants. "The actions of the Pakistani Taliban seem to have galvanised all of Pakistan," he said. "Certainly the next few weeks will be very important in this effort to roll back, if you will, this existential threat — a true threat to Pakistan’s very existence that has been posed by the Pakistani Taliban," he added.

May 11

SFs claimed to have killed 52 militants in the Swat District during the last 24 hours, while 31 persons, including three civilians, were killed in Lower Dir District. Three soldiers were also killed and 14 others wounded in Swat. In addition, seven bodies, including one of a prayer leader at a mosque, were found in different towns of Swat valley.

11 people were killed and 13 others injured in a suicide attack on a camp of the FC in the Spina Thana area of Darra Adamkhel in NWFP. The banned TTP, Darra Adamkhel chapter, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying more suicide attacks would be carried out if the military operation was not stopped in Swat and other parts of the country. Spina Thana is located between Matani village of Peshawar and the gun-manufacturing town of Darra Adamkhel.

A Taliban commander close to Baitullah Mehsud was among six people found dead from various areas of South Waziristan - two months after the men went missing. The bullet-riddled body of commander Tikka Khan Burki - the Taliban chief for Salayrogha area in upper Kaniguram region - was found in Karwanmanza area of Ladah sub-division.

The SFs have killed 700 Taliban militants in four days of military operations in the Swat District, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. 20 SF personnel had also been killed, and nineteen others injured. "The operation will continue until the last Talib... We haven't given them a chance. They are on the run. They were not expecting such an offensive," Malik said.

The military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said that "We have prepared for house-to-house fighting but if the militants leave Mingora, then we will avoid it." He said the SFs were heading towards Mingora from two directions and they would link up before assailing the city in force.

In Mardan, an NWFP Government official said 100,000 displaced people were expected to join the 252,000 already there.

May 12

Reports from Mingora and Peshawar quoting Frontier Corps sources said the SFs killed 13 militants in the Torwarsak area of Buner District while there were reports about the killing of 37 Taliban militants in an assault in the Gulabad area of Dir Lower District and four others in Swat. Six bodies were found in parts of Swat Valley while a person was shot dead in Kanju. The SFs said four militants were killed in a clash triggered by Taliban's firing at Mamdherai. Further, six beheaded bodies of unidentified persons were recovered from Suhrab Khan Chowk, Peopleís Chowk, Rahimabad, Landikas and Green Chowk. Arshad Kanju, resident of Kanju, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.

Fierce clashes between militants and the SFs were reported from Gulabad and Chakdara towns of Dir Lower. Sources said 37 militants were killed in an attack on Government Degree College Gulabad, which was occupied by militants. Sources said that 17 bodies were recovered from the building, damaged in clashes. One soldier was also reported to have been killed in the clashes. Nine militants, including a commander, were arrested in Chakdara and Gulabad.

The Pakistan Army dropped helicopter-borne troops, including commandos, in the stronghold of militants' chief Maulana Fazlullah to conduct a search operation, while SFs made significant achievements in the operation named as Rah-e-Haq 4. "The troops have landed in the Peochar Valley in the north of Swat to accomplish the task assigned to them," military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said at a press briefing in Islamabad.

General Abbas said SFs in Swat, Shangla, Dir Lower and Buner Districts had achieved considerable successes and, so far, 751 militants and 29 SF personnel had been killed in the ongoing operation while 77 soldiers sustained injuries. "The operation was progressing smoothly, the militants were on the run and the criminal elements, which had earlier joined the Taliban militants in Swat, were deserting them along with new recruits," he added.

12 people were killed in a US drone attack in South Waziristan Agency near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Tribal sources said six, or possibly more, missiles were fired at three to four houses at Sunrai Zyara Leeta border village at 8 am. One of the houses was destroyed and others were damaged. An unnamed senior Government official claimed the targeted compounds were being used by local militants as a training and transit camp to launch attacks in Afghanistan. He conceded there was no Government presence in the area. He also had no information about the identity of those killed and injured.

A charge-sheet submitted by Police in an anti-terrorism court says that the Lashkar-e-Toiba assassinated former Commander of the Special Services Group, General Aamir Faisal Alvi, to avenge the role he played in the fight against militants in FATA. According to the chargesheet prepared by Islamabad's Koral Police against Major (retd) Haroon Ashiq, a resident of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Mohammad Nawaz Khan of Peshawar, and Ashfaq Ahmed of Okara in Punjab, the murder was ordered by Ilyas Kashmiri of the LeT who provided funds and weapons.

More than half a million people have fled fighting between the military and Taliban in Malakand and registered with authorities in the last 10 days, the UN refugee agency said. "As of late yesterday (Monday), a total of 501,496 displaced people from the new influx have now been formally registered ... since May 2," the UNHCR said in a statement.

The Mardan Commissioner Khalid Umerzai said 432,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been registered in Mardan and nearby areas so far, and that 55,000 IDPs were residing in the camps in Mardan. Talking to Dunya News, he said 884 new tents had been pitched on May 11 while 1,600 more had been set up by the afternoon of May 12.

May 13

11 militants and four SF personnel were killed in clashes in the Swat District as troops dropped from the helicopters gained a toehold in Peuchar, the Taliban headquarters. In addition, five beheaded bodies were found in and around the Mingora city. Further, there were reports of 24 casualties, including 18 militants, in Lower Dir District. The Swat Media Centre (SMC) said 11 militants, including 'commander' Naseebur Rahman, were killed in the ongoing military operation against Maulana Fazlullah-led militants in Swat. The SMC said four soldiers were also killed and 12 others sustained injuries during operations in the last 24 hours. The military on May 12 said that SFs had suffered 29 casualties and inflicted 751 casualties in operations in Swat, Buner and Dir Lower.

Normalcy is reportedly returning to Buner district where people have started harvesting their crops, the SMC said, adding that shops had also been opened. It said that steps were being taken to clear the Sultanwas area.

Yahya Mustafa Kamran alias Hijrat, an Afghan national and Taliban commander based in the Jamrud sub-division of Khyber Agency, was killed along with four other militants in an encounter with the SF personnel near Peshawar, capital of NWFP, about three days ago. He had been arrested three months ago by Pakistani security agencies for leading a series of attacks on NATO supplies. He was associated with the Baitullah Mehsud-led TTP and was one of his loyal commanders. Baitullah had appointed him commander for the strategic Peshawar-Torkham Road, and tasked him to disrupt and destroy the NATO supply line to neighbouring Afghanistan.

Security agencies have arrested three key accused of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. A private TV channel reported that the arrested suspects were members of the banned Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and hail from southern Punjab. Two of the arrested men were directly involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan players while the third provided logistic support to the attackers in the city, the channel's sources said. The channel also said the assailants had received training in a militant camp at Wana in South Waziristan.

The US military has begun flying Predator drones in Pakistan and given Pakistani officers significant control over targets, flight routes and decisions to launch attacks, US officials said. Officials said the project has been started recently to bolster Pakistan's ability and willingness to disrupt the militant groups active in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Under the new partnership, US military drones will be allowed under the direction of Pakistani military officials, working with American counterparts at a command centre in Jalalabad. US officials indicated the programme is aimed at getting Pakistan "more directly and deeply engaged" in the Predator programme. "This is about building trust... This is about giving them capabilities they do not ... have to help them defeat this ... extreme element ... in their country," said a senior US military official.

The JuD, the front for LeT, designated by the United Nations Security Council as a terrorist outfit in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, has resurfaced as a charity organisation providing food and other relief to the thousands of people fleeing the fighting in Swat District. Eyewitnesses said that the JuD is active in Mardan where most of the refugee camps are located. They are distributing food and medical care. One eyewitness who visited the area on May 9 said JuD workers were organised under a charity organisation called Falah-i-Insaniyat. They had set themselves up at a roundabout in Mardan town called College Chowk, where they were collecting food donations for the displaced. Despite the Government crackdown on the group after the U.N. designation, the canopied stall was openly flying the black-and-white flags of the JuD, with the insignia of the sword and the Kalma, the Islamic doctrine of faith. The organisation has also set up a relief distribution centre at a village called Rustam, on the outskirts of Buner.

A Taliban spokesman issued a series of threats and ultimatums against officials and demanded that all national and provincial assembly members from the Malakand Division in NWFP must resign within three days. "Otherwise, we will arrest all their families… We will destroy all their buildings," Muslim Khan threatened in a telephone interview with CNN. He issued a separate directive aimed at prompting a public show of support for the militants from Islamist political parties. "All these parties must help the Taliban… They must give a press conference to show the people that we need sharia in the Malakand division," he said.

The number of people who have fled from fighting in the Swat District of NWFP and registered with authorities in the last 11 days has increased to more than 670,000, the UN refugee agency said. "The new figure of registered people since May 2 for the new influx is 670,906. That breaks down to 79,842 in the camps and 591,064 out of camps," the UNHCR) spokeswoman Ariane Rummery said. Those who were not sheltering in camps might be renting homes, staying with friends or relatives, or camping out elsewhere, Rummery said. The total number of those displaced by the latest fighting between the Pakistani military and the Taliban was likely to be higher, she added. The May 13 number was up from the 501,496 people who had registered as of late May 12.

May 14

60 Taliban militants and nine soldiers were killed during the ongoing military operation in Swat District. Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas confirmed 54 Taliban deaths in a daily briefing, and said the military was taking "extra-ordinary measures to avoid collateral damage". He said the army destroyed at least 15 Taliban hideouts in the Ramotai Loe area of Shangla District. Abbas said SFs in Barikot removed roadside bombs and eliminated the remaining Taliban resistance to clear areas up to Udigram, six kilometers short of Mingora, the main town in Swat. While 13 militants were killed in the Tursak suburb of Mingora, three of the, including a key commander, were killed during clashes in Udigram. Further, Frontier Corps sources said 30 Taliban militants were killed in Kalpani and 20 more were killed in the Hayasarae area of Lower Dir District when troops destroyed the house of a local administration official that the Taliban had occupied. In addition, intense fighting was reported from Shalpalam and Sultanwas, the Taliban stronghold in Buner District.

The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited Swat valley and vowed to flush out militancy from the area. Gen Kayani visited Swat and met field commanders and troops taking part in the operation. Appreciating the high morale of the troops, he reiterated the Army's resolve to flush out militancy from Swat and defeat the militants.

Nine militants were killed and 12 others arrested in a search operation carried out by the SFs in the Mulakhel area of Darra Adamkhel in NWFP, which was launched after the militants blew up a school in Akhorwal area. Sources said unidentified militants had planted explosive devices in the Government High School for Boys at Akhorwal, which went off at 5:00 am, destroying four rooms of the school. Consequently, SFs launched a search operation in the Mulakhel, Sanikhel, Akhorwal and Bustikhel areas, killing nine militants were killed and arresting 12 others.

SFs killed five militants in the North Waziristan Agency after a military convoy was targeted with an IED in the Pir Killay area, in which three soldiers were killed and four others sustained injuries. Sources said the SFs convoy was on its way to Bannu in NWFP from Miranshah when it was attacked with the IED, leaving three soldiers dead and four others injured. The vehicle was completely destroyed in the explosion. The troops retaliated by resorting to artillery shelling at the militants' positions from the Miranshah Tochi Fort, killing five militants.

Parliamentarians belonging to the FATA rejected the TTP ultimatum to step down as legislators within three days. These legislators contended that they would pay no heed to such warnings and continue serving people of their respective constituencies. "We are elected representatives of people, who have voted us to the legislative bodies so that we could serve them and contribute to the nation-building. Such threats have no value," said Sajid Hussain Toori, who hails from Parachinar in the Kurram Agency. Toori is part of a 10-member independent group of legislators, headed by Munir Khan Orakzai. Abbas Afridi, who is a Senator from FATA, also rejected the ultimatum. Another Senator Haji Khan Afridi, who is from Khyber Agency, said that on such warnings or demands, he would never resign.

More than 834,000 civilians have fled the recent military operation in the NWFP, the UN refugee agency chief said. The figure was an increase of more than 163,000 people registered since May 13, as families piled onto trucks and tractors, or streamed on foot out of the affected Districts to hastily set up camps. "Some 834,000 internally displaced persons have been registered so far. This is a massive, massive displacement in today's world," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

May 15

While asking the internally displaced people (IDPs) to help identify the fleeing militants, SFs claimed to have killed 55 militants in the Swat and Buner Districts during the ongoing military operation against the Taliban. SFs conceded three casualties besides injuries to 11 soldiers. The SFs also claimed to have gained success in their actions in different areas of the valley, but the areas were not specified. The ISPR said SFs had credible reports that the Taliban militants had shaved off their beards and trimmed hair to escape action. It said these militants were fleeing the Swat Valley in the guise of civilians. It asked the people to help identify the fleeing militants to SFs.

Three soldiers were killed and four others sustained injuries when their convoy came under a bomb attack near Miranshah in North Waziristan. Troops besieged Pir Kala, about 10km north of Miranshah, and fired on suspected militants' positions. Helicopter gunships were called in to support ground forces. According to local people, militants fired back and the ensuing exchange of fire continued for over three hours. Officials said the military convoy was going to Bannu in NWFP when it was hit by the bomb detonated by remote control.

Three militants, including a local Taliban 'commander', were killed in a bomb blast in the Sheikhan area of the Khwezai subdivision of Mohmand Agency. SFs, however, claimed that they had killed the three by targeting suspected hideouts with heavy weapons late on May 14-night.

Authorities have ordered a fresh crackdown on a charity linked to the JuD following reports that dozens of its volunteers were at the centre of relief operations for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in NWFP. The move to act against the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation came after The Independent newspaper reported that JuD volunteers were providing first aid and emergency assistance to the IDPs. A senior official, however, said on May 14 that the Government was aware of reports of the charity's re-emergence and was ready to act. "The Interior Ministry has directed that no banned organisation will be allowed to resume activities under the garb of humanitarian work," he said.

In the second week of a full-scale military operation, the Government offered talks with the Taliban if they lay down their arms. The offer, which came at the end of a five-day debate of special National Assembly session on the situation in the Malakand Division of the NWFP was made on behalf of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan who, however, made it clear the military would not be withdrawn from the area before a "sustainable system of governance" was put in place there. Awan said, "Yes the door for dialogue is open, it is still open." Making what he called an "offer on behalf of the leader of the house" (or prime minister), the minister gave what he called a legal formula for a dialogue: "Remove your masks, come in the open, put the guns down … only then talks can be successful. There is no other way for talks."

The military leadership told the national political leadership that there was no chance of moving the armed forces from Pakistan's border with India for their deployment at the western borders. In a five-hour-long in-camera briefing to the national leadership at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad, the military leadership clearly said that no guarantee from the international community could be accepted. According to sources, on the query of PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif about the situation at the eastern borders, the military leadership told the political leadership that the United States had asked for the deployment of forces at the Afghanistan border by moving them from the Indian border and was even ready to give guarantees that India would not make any misadventure against Pakistan. But Pakistan rejected the proposal and made it clear that on the issue of national security, it did not trust any kind of international guarantees.

May 16

47 Taliban militants were killed in various areas of Malkand Division in the NWFP during the last 24 hours, said the ISPR spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. Claiming significant achievements in the ongoing military operation against Taliban militants in the Malakand division he confirmed the presence of hardcore foreign militants fighting alongside the Taliban against Security Forces, adding, some 'key' foreign intelligence agencies were also involved in the insurgency. He also said that there were around 4,000 fighters in Swat, at least 10 percent of whom were not locals.

At least 11 people, including two women and two children, were killed and 31 others were wounded when a powerful car bomb ripped through a congested locality in Peshawar, the NWFP capital. Superintendent of Police (City) Ijaz Abid told that the explosion was caused by a timed bomb in a car parked in the Kashkal area of the city. He said the apparent target of the blast was a nearby internet café. The bomb went off at around 2:20pm and destroyed 17 cars and around a dozen shops.

25 people were killed in a suspected US drone missile attack on a seminary and a nearby vehicle in North Waziristan. Sources said that US drones fired two missiles in Mir Ali sub-division of the North Waziristan - with one missile hitting the Anwarul Uloom Islamia seminary and the other a vehicle. "It was a drone strike on a compound where militants were staying," said an unnamed security official. Other intelligence officials put the death toll as high as 28, saying the dead were mostly local militants who had been preparing to leave for Afghanistan to carry out attacks. The officials added, however, that the bodies of most of those killed were burnt beyond recognition.

Nine Taliban militants were killed and another 13 injured when the SFs attacked Taliban hideouts in the Upper Orakzai Agency. Political administration sources said that SFs targeted Taliban hideouts in Dabori, headquarters of Upper Orakzai, using helicopter gun ships. Locals said all the dead were local Taliban militants and that no key commander was killed in the attack. Local Taliban, however, denied that any of their men were killed in the attack on their hideouts in the agency.

May 17

As troops closed in on militants in the Matta sub-division on Swat District, SFs said they had killed 25 militants in the Arkot and Peuchar areas during the last 24 hours. One officer was killed while seven soldiers sustained injuries during the fighting.

A statement from the ISPR said the troops were expanding their foothold in Peuchar, the area which served as the headquarters of Maulana Fazlullah and his fighters. The troops attacked a militant location in the area and secured an important position in the area. Fierce fighting took place for the control of the militant position, which resulted in casualties on either side. The ISPR said during the operation one officer was killed and two soldiers sustained injuries. The militants engaged SFs with rocket launchers and 12-7mm machine guns and in the retaliatory action, troops killed around 20 militants. In the Arkot and Nazarabad areas of Matta, the troops destroyed a compound of the militants from where the SFs faced resistance during their advance. The compound was surrounded and cleared from militants while five militants were killed during the operation. Following fierce fighting, SFs were successful in securing the area between Kanju and Nawan Kallay (Ayub Bridge) and from Ballogram to Takhta Band Bypass. The militants were reportedly putting up resistance on the outskirts of Mingora, the District headquarters of Swat, where intense clashes were reported.

SFs launched an operation against militants in Dir Upper District as warplanes dropped bombs in five villages of the remote Doog Darra area to target suspected hideouts of the militants allegedly led by an Afghan commander. Sources said the strikes killed a child and a woman and injured several people but there was no word about the militants' casualties. Dir Upper became the sixth district of the Malakand Division out of the seven where SFs have launched military action against the Taliban. Chitral is the lone district where there is no military operation at the moment.

Four civilians were killed when a mortar shell landed on a house in Maidan area of Dir Lower District, where SFs have been engaged in operation against the militants.

Pakistan will soon extend its war on the Taliban to the Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan, President Asif Zardari said. "We're going to go into Waziristan, all these regions, with army operations… Swat is just the start. [There's] a larger war to fight," he told The Sunday Times in an interview. He said Pakistan would need billions of pounds in military assistance and aid for up to 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), on account of the operation. "We need much, much more than the $1 billion [military aid] we've been getting, which is nothing," Zardari said. "We've got 150,000 troops in [the Tribal Areas] - just the movement of that number would cost $1 billion," he added.

The NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said that the number of registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) - at relief camps and elsewhere - from Swat, Buner and Lower Dir Districts has risen to over 1.5 million, while the total number of IDPs is now estimated to be over 2 million. Addressing the media in provincial capital Peshawar, he said that 150,000 IDPs from various troubled areas had been registered over the last 24 hours.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that more than 1,000 Taliban militants had been killed in the military's three-week offensive in Swat District. "More than 1,000 Taliban, including two commanders, have been killed while their training centres and bases have been destroyed," Malik told a press conference in Mardan. The minister also called on the Taliban to lay down their weapons. "The army offensive will continue until the Taliban are flushed out ... the Taliban are on the run, they will be eliminated at any cost," he said after visiting a camp for the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Malik said Security Forces (SFs) were hunting for Taliban leaders in Swat. "Those leaders, those commanders, who are controlling the Taliban, obviously we're going to hit them. We're not going to spare them… You'll hear good news soon," he said. Malik said Dir and Buner districts are under complete Government control and the IDPs from these areas could return home.

The Amy claimed that hundreds of foreign nationals were among the militants battling SFs in Swat. "These are militants from countries bordering Afghanistan," military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas informed a press briefing in Islamabad, but did not name the countries. He said that about 4,000 militants were fighting in Swat and 10 per cent of them (about 400) were foreign militants. He said that infiltration from countries bordering Afghanistan was also taking place. Gen Abbas said 23 foreign militants had been killed since the operation began, adding that some "hostile agencies" were providing resources to militants.

May 18

27 militants were killed as the SFs started a ground offensive in the Swat District. Three important commanders, including Okasha, Malanga and Riaz, were among 27 militants killed during the operation that has now been named as Rah-e-Rast, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas informed the media. He said Mamdherai Markaz was targeted by the SFs and 10 to 15 terrorists hiding inside were killed. He also said three SF personnel, including an officer, were also killed and 17 others injured during the fighting. Abbas stated that the SFs were engaged with militants inside Kanju town to clear the area and an operation was underway in Takhtaband area, where seven combatants were killed in a close encounter. According to him, SFs had also expanded their foothold in Peuchar and killed 12 militants in the area. The troops also attacked and secured the Dumber training centre, which was being used by militants as their logistics base.

Several persons, including women and children, were killed and a number of others sustained injuries when families fleeing the military operation in Swat District’s Matta town were shelled while crossing a mountainous path to reach Karo Darra in Dir Upper District. Eyewitnesses, who escaped the attack or were able to reach Wari town of Dir Upper in injured condition, said they were targeted by gunship helicopters. However, Police officials said they might have been hit by a stray shell. Local people said they saw some 12 to 14 bodies on a mountain on the Swat side but could not go near to retrieve them or help the injured for fear of another aerial attack.

An AP report stated that the TTP Swat chapter spokesman Muslim Khan has said the Taliban would resist the SFs until the "last breath". "We will fight until the last breath for the enforcement of Islamic law," Muslim Khan told in a brief phone call from an undisclosed location on May 17.

SFs killed five militants, including an important commander in the Mulakhel area, and arrested six others in an injured condition. Sources said the militants, equipped with heavy weapons and explosives, were traveling in five vehicles towards a camp of the SFs located beside the Friendship Tunnel. They said the militants wanted to attack the camp located near the tunnel. However, when flagged down at the checkpoint in the Mulakhel area, the militants opened fire on the SF personnel. In the retaliatory action, the troops killed five militants and wounded six others who were subsequently arrested. The slain militants included ‘commander’ Bilal Afridi, who planned and executed attacks on the SFs in Darra Adamkhel. The four others were identified as Umar, Majeed alias Hussaini, Saifullah and Munkaray.

According to official figures, as many as 1,059 persons, including SF personnel and civilians, were killed in 671 terrorist incidents, which also included suicide attacks, in the NWFP from 2008 till March 25, 2009. During 2008, a total 524 incidents, including 30 suicide attacks, were reported. In these attacks 146 Policemen, 32 FC personnel, 76 Army/SF officials and 595 civilians were killed while 1,962 were injured. In the first four months of 2009, as many as 140 incidents of terrorism and seven suicide attacks were carried out. These incidents claimed 26 lives of Police officials, nine of FC personnel, 12 of Army/SFs and 126 civilian, while 771 people were injured. The office of the Additional Inspector General of Police (Investigation) NWFP revealed that Police foiled 94 terrorist attacks in 2008 and five in 2009. They recovered 52,408 kilograms of explosive materials, 23 suicide jackets, 729 hand grenades/dynamites, detonators and anti-tank mines and 134 rocket launchers, bombs, missiles and mortar missile shells.

May 19

A Major and three soldiers were killed in the ongoing military operation in Swat District as SFs killed 16 more Taliban militants in fierce street battles in 24 hours. With the area surrounded by the SFs, Major Abid was hit in an exchange of fire with the Taliban inside Matta. "Operation Rah-e-Rast is making headway as planned, and in last 24 hours, 16 Taliban were killed ... an officer and three soldiers also died," said the Inter-Services Public Relations in a statement.

The military is reported to have stated that approximately 15,000 troops are confronting about 4,000 well-armed militants in Swat. Authorities said more than 1,030 Taliban militants and at least 53 troops have been killed in a three-pronged onslaught launched in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8.

An operation to clear Sultanwas in Buner District is reportedly in progress and troops are conducting cordon and search operations in the area.

Reports from Chakdara indicated that three civilians, including two children, were killed and several others sustained injuries when jetfighters allegedly bombed houses in Kithiarai and other areas of Adenzai in Dir Lower District. Residents said jetfighters hit a house owned by one Yar Mulla, killing his wife and two children. Three persons were also injured in the attack in the area. In Landi Shagi area of Ouch, gunship helicopters carried out shelling in which, according to the residents, four persons, including a woman, were injured.

SFs claimed to have killed 13 militants and arrested five foreign combatants in an encounter near Khapakh check-post in the Halimzai sub-division of Mohmand Agency. A spokesman for the Mohmand Rifles Media Centre said SFs arrested five Burqa (veil)-clad foreign militants when they were trying to infiltrate into Afghanistan via the Pakistan-Afghanistan route. Following their arrest, the spokesman said local militants attacked the Khapakh security checkpoint with sophisticated weapons from all sides. He said SFs repulsed the attack and killed 13 militants in the ensuing three-hour encounter. He claimed that after the clash, the militants swiftly took away the bodies of their companions. However, the body of one of the alleged militants was recovered from the area. "Three of the arrested militants belong to Saudi Arabia and one each to Libya and Afghanistan," the spokesman added. Following the clash, SFs imposed a curfew and launched a search operation in the area. The sources said three local suspected militants, whose names could not be ascertained, were arrested during the search operation.

The TTP Mohmand Agency spokesman Akramullah confirmed that the TTP Khyber Agency chief Hijratullah was killed by SFs a few months ago. The spokesman told the BBC that SFs had killed Hijratullah following his arrest. He claimed that Hijratullah and his associate, Arbistan, had been tortured to death along with three others, denying reports that they had been killed in a Police encounter.

Nawabzada Aali S. Bugti was elected chief of the Bugti tribe to succeed his late grandfather Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. A ceremony was held in Sui to formally inaugurate Aali Bugti as the tribe’s chief and Amirhan Faqir, the custodian of the shrine of Pir Suri, helped him don the traditional turban and handed over the tribal sword to him. Aali Bugti is son of Nawabzada Saleem Akbar Bugti, who died of heart attack when Nawab Bugti was alive. He was with Nawab Akbar Bugti when the latter left his home to lead his tribesmen to the mountains when the military launched an operation in the area and disappeared after Nawab Bugti’s death on August 26, 2006. He returned to Sui three weeks ago, along with his younger brother. After the ceremony, Aali Bugti paid tribute to his grandfather for sacrificing his life and pledged to uphold Baloch traditions and rights of the Baloch people.

May 20

SFs have completely secured the Sultanwas area of Buner District, overcoming tough resistance and killing 80 militants, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Athar Abbas said in Islamabad. "Since Tuesday morning to the completion of operation before dawn, 80 militants have been killed," Abbas told a press briefing. However, he said there was no independent confirmation of the casualties due to the ground situation in the area. Sultanwas was the main stronghold of the militants in Buner, where they had made concrete underground bunkers and ammunition dumps.

The military spokesman said 1,057 militants and 58 SF personnel had been killed in the Swat, Dir and Buner Districts since April 27. He said the foreign nationals arrested so far included Afghans, Uzbeks and Arabs. "The strategy is to kill the maximum number of terrorists. The militant leaders are paying $50 to 60 per day to the fighters," he said.

SFs claimed to have killed over 200 militants during the ongoing military operation in the Maidan area of Lower Dir District since the launch of the offensive. Operational Commander Brigadier Amal Zada, in charge of the ongoing military operation in Lower Dir, told reporters in District headquarters Timergara that over 200 Taliban militants had been killed so far, while 14 Security Force personnel were also killed and 30 others injured. He said a large number of militants had left the area in the guise of internally displaced persons. He, however, said they had cordoned off the militant infested areas and established checkpoints in Hayaserai and Lal Qila areas of Maidan.

The Government has directed law-enforcement agencies to arrest seven "highly trained militants and Al Qaeda masterminds in Iraq" who - according to reports by intelligence agencies - have entered Pakistan. According to an official document BBC Urdu claimed it had received, those who have entered Pakistan are planning to train ‘like-minded people’ and target key Government officials, including President Asif Ali Zardari, the chief ministers of the four provinces and intelligence agencies’ officers and commanders. The group could also target embassies of non-Muslim and pro-US Muslim countries in Islamabad. The intelligence report also said that Al Qaeda commanders met in Afghanistan’s Paktia province on May 3 and decided they would continue supporting the TTP.

May 21

19 people, including 11 suspected militants and three SF personnel, were killed in the ongoing military operation and a roadside blast in the Maidan area of Dir Lower District in NWFP. Sources said two SF personnel, identified as Captain Omarzeb and Lance Naik Shahzad Alam, were killed and two others sustained injuries when a military convoy was attacked with a remote-controlled bomb in the Shahi Koto area of Maidan. Consequent to the blast, SFs opened fire, killing four persons and injuring two children. Further, one trooper, Mehboob, was killed during the search operation in the Kumbar area. Four militants were also killed in the search operation.

During clashes in the Nanbati and Kalpani areas, seven militants were killed, while a soldier sustained injuries. In addition, a man was shot dead in Chakdara for violating curfew. Residents of the area reportedly said there was a curfew in the area for the last eight days.

SFs said that ‘a number of Taliban’ – including an important commander – and five soldiers were killed in 24 hours in Swat, in the latest update on the military operations. "An important ... [Taliban] commander, Abu Tariq, was killed and seven Taliban were apprehended… A number of Taliban were killed, while five soldiers also died in Kanju and Takhtaband area," said the Inter-Services Public Relations. The SFs have cleared a number of Taliban hideouts in Peochar valley, and are conducting search and destroy operations that have resulted in several battles between the Taliban and the troops. The SFs have reportedly secured and cleared the area up to Shahid Khapa, and are strengthening their positions around Takhtaband Bridge, Barikot, Gokdara and Udigram areas. The SFs also attacked Banai Baba Ziarat on May 20 and secured the highest point in the area.

Four civilians and five SF personnel were killed and 25 injured in a suicide attack near a Frontier Corps (FC) fort in the Jandola area of Tank. According to a private TV channel, an explosives-laden truck rammed into the FC camp damaging several nearby shops and the fort.

The top US military officer said he is concerned that the US troop build-up to oust insurgents from Afghanistan could further destabilise neighbouring Pakistan. However, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm Mike Mullen, speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the military planning is under way to try to avoid that. Mullen said he believes the upcoming increase of 21,000 US forces in Afghanistan "is about right" for the new strategy of trying to quell the insurgency and speed up training of Afghan Security Forces.

May 22

17 militants and three SF personnel were killed and ten SF personnel sustained injuries during fighting in various areas of Swat District. According to an official announcement, troops are consolidating their positions and expanding their control over the valley. The SFs are reported to have secured militants’ strongholds in Takhtaband village and Qambar. During an encounter between the two sides, eight militants and one soldier were killed and six SF personnel were wounded.

In the Shangla District, troops took control of Baini Baba Ziarat, Nazarabad, Uchraisar, and Wanai Ridge. During clashes between the Taliban and SFs, three militants and an Army officer were killed.

A powerful car bomb exploded near the Tasveer Mahal Cinema hall in the busy Kabuli Chowk area of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP, killing at least 10 people and injuring over 65 others. Besides destroying the front elevation of the Tasveer Mahal Cinema, the powerful explosion also damaged another nearby movie hall, dozens of music centres and shops as well as several vehicles. The blast also disconnected power supply to the area hampering rescue efforts. Windowpanes of buildings in the adjoining Qissa Khwani, Khyber Bazaar, Mohallah Jhangi, Shoba Bazaar and Namakmandi areas were damaged due to the impact of the explosion. The Capital City Police Officer, Safwat Ghayyur, while admitting a security lapse, said 40-50 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.

May 23

17 Taliban militants, including a ‘commander’, were killed by troops at Mingora in Swat, chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said. He said the troops had secured a part of the city from the Circuit House to Makan Bagh. Battles to secure Nawan Killi have begun and a link up between forces coming from Fiza Ghat to Whataki Chowk and Ayub Bridge to Nawan Killi has been completed. Intense clashes were reported from Nishat Chowk in Mingora. On the Qambar Ridge overlooking Mingora, three caves with large quantities of ammunition and rations were discovered during a search and destroy operation. Gen Abbas said there were about 1,500 ‘hardcore militants’ still fighting in Swat, and that the army would try to complete the operation in eight weeks.

May 24

Fighter jets and helicopter gunships targeted Taliban hideouts in the Orakzai Agency of FATA, with the AP news agency reporting at least 18 people killed in the offensive. AP quoted a Government official as saying that the targets were strongholds of Hakeemullah Mehsud, a deputy to Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. Hundreds have reportedly fled the area amid the fighting.

Troops have secured several important areas in Mingora, including a crossing infamous for beheadings carried out by the Taliban, said SFs as the military killed 10 more militants in various areas of Swat District. The Inter-Services Public Relations said 10 militants and three soldiers were killed in gun-battles in various areas of Swat, while 14 militants were also arrested. Five of the militants were killed in Malam Jabba when the SFs were tipped off about their presence in the area. The troops secured various important areas in Mingora – including Wattakai Chowk, Nawakilli Chowk, Nishat Chowk, Sirafe Chowk, Gulshan Chowk, Green Chowk, Haji Baba Chowk and Sohrab Chowk – in the 24 hours preceding the latest ISPR update on the operation. Green Chowk is infamous for beheadings carried out by the Taliban. The military said troops defused four IED during the operation in Mingora. Further, after surrounding Peochar valley, troops entered Peochar village and seized a huge cache of arms from Taliban hideouts and overtook a factory manufacturing bombs and IEDs.

May 25

The SFs claimed to have secured the training centre and logistic base of militants in the Malam Jabba area of Swat Valley. SFs also killed four militants during operations in the Fizagat and Peuchar areas and arrested eight others. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), SFs faced stiff resistance from the militants in Malam Jabba. However, it said the troops secured Malam Jabba, believed to be one of the strongholds of the militants in the valley. Located on main line of communication that links the Swat Valley with Mansehra, the area with thick forest was being used as a training centre and logistic base by the militants. SFs also secured Fizagat, a few kilometers north of Mingora city, and the area up to Watakai. During the operation, two militants were killed and six soldiers were wounded in an encounter.

The Taliban chief in Swat, Maulana Fazlullah, has asked his men to stop battling the SFs in Mingora, a stronghold of the militants. "Maulana Fazlullah has directed all his mujahideen to stop resistance in Mingora and its surroundings to avoid hardships to the people and losses to the civilian population," said Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan. "Most of our mujahideen have already left Mingora," he said by telephone from an unspecified location. He accused the military of killing civilians during its operations in the Lower Dir, Buner and Swat Districts. The Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, however, said the militants "have started using ploys to escape. They are now remembering the civilians whom they used to behead and decapitate."

Unidentified gunmen shot dead three Shia labourers in a drive-by shooting in Dera Ismail Khan. The assailants, riding a motorcycle, opened fire on a group of workers at a construction site, local Police chief Muhammad Iqbal said. "Three of the workers died on the spot and one was injured. The victims were all Shias," he told. The slain civilians were identified as Muhammad Nawaz, Jahangir and Mumtaz Hussain.

May 26

SFs have gained control of half of Mingora city and killed 29 militants in various areas of Swat Valley during the last 24 hours besides arresting 14 others, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Athar Abbas said. "Six soldiers also laid down their lives and 11 others sustained injuries," he told reporters at a press briefing in Islamabad. "More than half of Mingora is under the army's control. We have plugged all escape routes for militants," said Abbas, adding that pockets of "hardcore militants" remained. The military spokesman said the operation was progressing well despite stiff resistance by the militants. He said street fights and house-to-house search was going on in Mingora city. Athar said 18 militants were killed in Mingora during an encounter and seven others were arrested when they were trying to escape towards Buner District. He said four IEDs were also defused in the area.

About Buner, he said 90 percent area of the District had been cleared although some terrorists are present at Pir Baba. During search at check-posts, four militants have been arrested, he said. He added that in the night of May 25, about 100 to 120 militants attacked the Kalpani post in Dir Lower District from three directions and the attack was repulsed and militants suffered heavy casualties. Eight bodies have been recovered in close vicinity of the check-post. Two SF personnel were also killed in the incident and three others were wounded.

Several militants and five civilians were killed and 10 others injured in shelling by the military gunship helicopters in Shangla District. Sources said the SFs, backed by gunship helicopters, targeted the militant-infested areas of Jabar, Amnavi and Achar. The sources added these areas were heavily shelled and SFs on the ground continued search and cordon operations. There were reports that several militants and five civilians were killed in the shelling.

Three Policemen and a suspected militant were killed and an ASI sustained injuries in a pre-dawn encounter with local and foreign militants in the Malikyar village of Haripur District of NWFP. This was the first major case involving militants in Haripur District. The suspected militants were believed to have attacked the Police party in a bid to secure the release of five women, who had been put under house arrest after the Police arrested a foreigner, Abdullah, from there last week. Some hand grenades, Kalashnikovs, computers and CDs having footages of the Taliban, were also recovered in the raid.

The Taliban said they wanted to return to the peace deal with the NWFP Government, similar to the one that collapsed in April 2009 and triggered the military operation in Swat and Malakand, CNN said. The TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad claimed the Taliban in Swat District were willing to disarm if the Government implemented Sharia (Islamic law) in the region, his spokesman said.

SFs launched a military operation against the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants in South Waziristan, reportedly killing seven militants. However, the military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, denied the operation in South Waziristan and said SFs had just consolidated their positions in the region.

The UN is considering asking Pakistan to pause its offensive against the Taliban in order to provide aid to those trapped in the conflict, a top UN official has said. Thousands of civilians are trapped in areas where aid workers say aerial bombardment by the military and landmines planted by the Taliban have forced people to remain in their homes with little food and water, communications or medicines and no power. "We are ... very concerned about those still trapped inside the conflict zone," Manuel Bessler, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Pakistan, told AlertNet. He also said, "A humanitarian pause is a subject of discussion and with the very good liaison we have with the armed forces, it is obviously something that we would not shy away from asking for." Around 200,000 civilians are trapped in Swat and tens of thousands in Buner and Lower Dir Districts.

The UNHCR said that almost 126,000 people were being displaced daily, and most of them were taking care of themselves instead of relying on international aid.

May 27

Suicide bombers detonated a vehicle loaded with 100 kilograms of explosives near offices of the capital city police officer (CCPO) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Lahore- killing at least 27 persons and injuring 326 others, in addition to destroying a two-storey building of the Rescue 15 police service, according to Police. An ISI colonel and 15 Police officials were among those killed. Witnesses said the attack started midmorning when two gunmen stepped out of a white van - which had pulled up in a narrow street separating the police and ISI buildings - cautioned civilians to take cover, and started firing at SF personnel deployed down the street. The gunmen also hurled a grenade at the SFs personnel. As the firing continued, the driver managed to cross the concrete barrier, but could not get further and was forced to blow up the vehicle there. Superintendent of Police Sohail Sukhera said a threefold security cordon prevented the attackers from getting to the offices CCPO and ISI offices. He said the terrorist in the vehicle was shot - which prompted him to blow up the vehicle about a hundred feet away from the intended target, in front of the Rescue 15 building.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the blast was in reaction to the military operation in the Malakand Division of NWFP. Addressing journalists in Karachi, Malik said the attack appeared to be a suicide blast, but did not divulge further details. He said "terrorists have arrived here" after being defeated in FATA. He said that TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud had threatened to carry out attacks if the military offensive was not stopped.

15 Taliban militants were killed and several injured by SFs shelling in South Waziristan Agency. According to a private TV channel, the SFs shelled Taliban hideouts in Sarokai area, killing 15 militants and injuring several others.

SFs said they would clear Mingora town in Swat District of the Taliban within two to three days, as 12 more militants were killed in the ongoing military operation. Mingora Force Commander Brigadier Tahir Hamid told the media that SFs had secured 70 percent of Mingora city. He said the army was chasing the Taliban through the streets.

Troops claimed to have killed 10 militants in the Maidan area of Lower Dir District. Militants' hideouts in Zaimdara, Shagai, Dabako, Babagam and other place of upper Maidan reportedly came under shelling. A local source said that the Taliban militants were fleeing Maidan and only a few hardcore militants were offering resistance. He said the militants who had come from Waziristan were not seen patrolling the area for over a week. "They have either been killed in the operation or have returned to Waziristan," he added.

The NWFP Government has received reports that TTP Swat chief Maulana Fazlullah has been killed in the military operation in Swat, provincial Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said. He told the media in capital Peshawar that several key militant commanders' deaths had already been confirmed. The NWFP government has also decided to place head money on the Taliban leadership, he added.

A senior official of the country's premier defence nuclear establishment has said that a large force of nearly 10,000 people is in place to ensure security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and western fears about the safety of the weapons are unfounded. Air Commodore Khalid Banuri, who is Director of Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs at the Strategic Plans Division, said that Pakistan's 'command and control structure' for the weapons was better than that of many other nuclear states, and many countries and their experts had officially acknowledged this. In an interview with Dawn News, Air Commodore Banuri described as "preposterous" western media reports that Pakistan's nuclear weapons might fall into wrong hands - terrorists or other non-state actors. "The intent clearly appears to be mala fide," he said, adding "It does not make sense for anyone to continue to harp on this despite having understanding of how Pakistan does its work." He said: "We have taken stringent measures which are legislative, institutional, procedural and administrative. We have ensured all aspects of nuclear capability." Elaborating, he said that a large force of highly trained and professional people - in fact over 10,000 people were looking after the security of the nuclear assets.

May 28

Terrorists attacked Peshawar, capital of the NWFP, and its environs as eight people were killed and over 68 sustained injuries. Two separate blasts took place in the Qissa Khwani bazaar while three Policemen were killed and nine others injured in a suicide attack on a Police vehicle at the Sra Khawra security post on the Kohat road. Two suspected militants were killed and two others arrested in an encounter between the Police and alleged terrorists who had taken shelter in a building located behind Qissa Khwani bazaar soon after the two blasts.

A Policeman and two passers-by were killed and 13 people wounded when a suicide attacker exploded an auto-rickshaw near a Police checkpoint in Dera Ismail Khan.

SFs entered Bahrain, while seven more militants were killed and four others, including an important commander, were arrested during the last 24 hours in the ongoing operation in Swat Valley, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. Four soldiers were also killed while 12 others sustained injuries in clashes between SFs and militants in different areas of the valley.

A report has indicated that the Taliban in Swat pay mercenaries for killing Police and army troops, a suspected Afghan terrorist arrested by local Police told the media, adding that he was paid PKR 20,000 to kill a Policeman. "I beheaded five policemen in Sitara Chowk," Ghaniur Rehman told reporters after SFs arrested him from Malukabad area of the city a day earlier. The suspected Afghan terrorist said he received training at a Taliban training facility in the Charbagh area.

At least five persons, including a woman, were killed when unidentified attackers opened indiscriminate fire on a customer service centre in Quetta, capital of Balochistan. The assailants, who were riding a motorcycle, attacked the service centre on Kalat Street, Jail Road at around 11pm.

More than 20 suspected militants and their financiers were arrested during separate operations in the Jamrud and Bara areas of Khyber Agency in FATA.

Hakimullah Mehsud, a spokesman for the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, claiming responsibility for the bomb-and-gun attack in Lahore that killed 27 persons and injured 326 others, warned of more violence in response to the military operation in Swat and surrounding areas. Speaking to the media from an undisclosed location, the Taliban commander said "I appeal to [people] of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Multan to vacate their cities as there will be more such massive attacks, more dangerous than this and we will target government buildings and places". Referring to the blast site in Lahore, he added, "We [have been] looking for this target for a long time".

May 29

SFs have taken control of Bahrain and cleared Peochar village in the Swat District, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said as SFs killed 28 Taliban militants, including commander Khush Mir Khan a.k.a. Abu Huzaifa. "The security forces have successfully secured Bahrain," said the ISPR in a statement, adding that the army had also arrested seven Taliban militants from various areas of Swat. Some of the heaviest recent fighting is reported to have taken place in Bahrain. In a cordon-and-search operation, the SFs cleared the Taliban stronghold of Peochar village. "The army destroyed Taliban hideouts, including a madrassa, and seized 12 UN-registered vehicles," said the ISPR, adding that four tunnels storing rations stolen from NGOs were also discovered and a 'huge cache of arms' confiscated.

During a search operation in the Kalpani area of Lower Dir District, the army killed six Taliban commanders, identified as Qadir, Noor Hameed, Aftab, Yousaf, Iftikhar and Iftikhar.

The SFs also defused five improvised explosive devices during a search operation around Daggar in Buner District. The army is reported to have killed 13 Taliban militants hiding in a compound during a gun-battle.

1,300 militants and 90 SF personnel have been killed so far during the ongoing operation. Official sources said the troops were moving towards Kalam and would soon enter the area. Troops are also reportedly ensuring that the militants do not return to the areas cleared of them.

Pakistan hiked a reward for Maulana Fazlullah, the Taliban chief in Swat valley, wanted dead or alive, to PKR 50 million, 10 times more than an original bounty. "The federal government has announced 50 million rupees," an Interior Ministry spokesman told. "The five million rupees head money was announced by the provincial government in the NWFP," he added. The Interior Ministry also published a list of "miscreant-terrorists" from the Taliban leadership in Swat and District capital Mingora, offering PKR 50 million for Fazlullah and PKR 10 million each for 15 of his aides.

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) has crossed the three million mark, according to the NWFP Government. Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said at a press conference in provincial capital Peshawar that the number of IDPs now stood at 3.4 million - 2.8 million of them from Malakand Division alone. He said the provincial Government was determined to provide all possible facilities to the displaced people and a substantial number of lady doctors had been deputed to look after them.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas has said that "many of the Taliban's arms are coming across the border from Afghanistan ... the US should stop worrying about Pakistan's nukes and start worrying about the weapons lost in Afghanistan". A private TV channel reported on May 29 that the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General said the current conflict in Swat was intricately linked to the situation in Afghanistan. He estimated that 10 percent to 15 percent of the Taliban in the Swat valley and its adjacent areas were foreign fighters. He also said Mingora could be secured in 48 hours, but it may be "much, much longer" before the area was totally pacified. He also said that there was "no plan, date or time for the launch of an offensive in South Waziristan".

May 30

SFs have cleared Mingora city in the NWFP of the Taliban and destroyed the stronghold of the militant commanders, ISPR Director General Major General Athar Abbas said. Addressing a joint press conference with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Qaira, he said 25 Taliban militants were killed during the last 24 hours, including commanders, Abu Saeed Misbahud Din and Sultan Khan. He said SFs have successfully secured Nawagai and Najigram, and seized a large cache of arms and ammunition. He also said that the training centre of known Taliban commanders Lal Din, Said Jalil and Mian Said Liaq have been destroyed in Peochar, adding, five 100-foot-long tunnels have also been demolished. Responding to questions, he said 1,217 Taliban militants were killed and 79 arrested since the start of the military offensive on April 26. In the same period, 81 SF personnel were also killed while 250 others sustained injuries, he added.

Two Taliban militants and a soldier were killed in a clash between Security Forces and militants in South Waziristan.

The TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud has ordered his followers to carry out bombings in small villages of Swat and FATA and establish hideouts in other areas of the country, a private TV channel reported. In letters to various Taliban commanders in Lower Dir, Swat and Buner, Mehsud said the bombings in the villages would help conduct suicide missions in cities later. He said the army had reached every nook and corner of Swat, therefore, the Taliban must find new hideouts.

May 31

25 militants, including a senior commander of the Baitullah Mehsud-led TTP, Miraj Burki, and six soldiers were killed and several others wounded in clashes between the militants and SFs in South Waziristan Agency. Other reports said 13 soldiers were killed and over two dozens injured. Fierce fighting between the two sides has reportedly forced thousands of tribal families to leave their homes in the Mehsud-inhabited areas.

Three soldiers, including a Lieutenant, were killed and some others injured in an ambush on a military convoy by the Taliban near Tiarza. The convoy was heading towards Tiarza from Shakai when it was attacked.

SFs entered the Kalam Valley and took control of Mingora city, while 12 militants were killed during the last 24 hours in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Rast, the ISPR said. Eight SF personnel were also killed and six others sustained injuries, it added. Mingora city is now reportedly in control of the SFs who are manning every square, street and building and keeping a vigil on every passing vehicle and people. The troops advancing on the north of Mingora entered Kalam Valley at 10:00 am. The ISPR said troops had secured Mankial, some 14 kilometers from Bahrain, and continued consolidation of their positions in Bahrain, Kuz Laikot and Kidam.

The military operation in Swat District will be completed in two to three days, Secretary of Defence Syed Athar Ali said. Speaking at a security summit in Singapore and talking to Reuters later for an interview, Ali said the military operation in Swat had "met almost complete success", with only 5 percent to 10 percent of the job remaining. "Hopefully within the next two to three days these pockets of resistance will be cleared," Ali told the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual meeting of defence ministers, officials and experts.

Security Forces launched an operation in the Yakh Tanghi Top area Alpuri in Shangla District, killing several Taliban militants and destroying their hideouts and a base. Artillery units based in Shangla Top attacked several hideouts of militants who had sneaked into the area from the Swat and Buner Districts. Official sources said that a Government rest-house in Yakh Tanghi built by the former ruler of Swat and being used by militants as their base was hit by shells, leaving several militants dead.

Videos made by the Taliban in Swat have reportedly shown teenage boys being groomed as suicide bombers. Militants went from house to house in May demanding a man or boy from each family. The recruits were encouraged to volunteer for suicide missions. A Taliban spokesman has said the recent suicide attacks in Lahore and Peshawar were revenge for the army's assault in the NWFP. Films obtained by Sunday Telegraph show boys of 14 or 15 recording farewell messages before climbing into vehicles filled with explosives.

The NWFP Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, has confirmed the death and arrest of the second and third-tier leadership of the militants during the military operation in Malakand Division and hoped their top leadership would also be neutralized soon. About the Internally Displaced Persons, the minister said some 19,838 families or 116,391 individuals had been registered at camps, while 380,543 families or 2,805,073 people were living outside the camps in Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Charsadda and Peshawar Districts.

June 1

SFs claimed to have killed 37 militants in the Swat Valley and the Buner District during the ongoing military operation against Taliban. In addition, troops launched an operation in the Charbagh area of the valley to clear it of the militants, while curfew was lifted from Kalam town after talks between SFs and local elders. The Frontier Corps sources said SFs engaged the militants in their hideouts in Pacha Killay, Tongo Pull, Jawar and Gul Killay. 19 militants were killed during an exchange of fire between the SFs and Taliban, the sources claimed. The ISPR said 18 militants were killed and 12 others were arrested during the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat Valley. The ISPR said normalcy was returning to Mingora. The ISPR also said food items and medicines were being supplied to the city, while hospital staff and technicians had already been flown in.

SFs carried out a search and destroy operation in the Dambar Kandao area of Peuchar and destroyed a training centre of the militants. A newly-constructed, 50-foot-long tunnel in the area was destroyed, along with a huge cache of arms and ammunition. The ISPR claimed that nine militants were killed and six others sustained injuries in the operation. One soldier sustained injuries in firing by the Taliban.

Troops are reported to have dislodged militants from most of the towns in Buner District, but Pacha Killay and its surrounding areas are still believed to be infested with the Taliban militants. The militants on May 31 reportedly beheaded three persons in Pacha Killay for spying for the SFs. The Buner District Coordination Officer (DCO) Yahya Akhundzada said the situation in Pacha Killay had improved. He, however, admitted that there was still a problem beyond Pacha Killay. "Pir Baba, Gokand and Karakar are still volatile, but action will certainly be taken to clear these areas of the militants," the DCO said. About the overall security situation in the District, Akhundzada said normalcy was returning to Buner. Yahya told that 50 per cent employees had resumed their duties, while others had conveyed by phone that they would rejoin on June 2 (today). About some reports of suspension of Police officials, he said more than 100 Policemen had been suspended for failing to resume their duties.

Taliban militants abducted a convoy of 30 buses carrying more than 500 students and staff of the Razmak Cadet College (of North Waziristan) in Bannu in the NWFP. They were on their way to Bannu after the college closed for its summer vacation, town Police chief Iqbal Marwat said. "Only two buses carrying some 25 students reached Bannu," Marwat said, adding that about 28 buses carrying around 400 students were missing. "They have been kidnapped by Taliban militants," said Marwat. The college is an army-run educational institution for civilians.

A high-level meeting on national security approved the establishment of a new special anti-terrorist force in all the four provinces and the federal capital Islamabad. The meeting, jointly presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at the Presidency, reviewed the law and order situation in the country. Sources said it was decided to constitute a new special anti-terrorist force in all the four provinces and Islamabad. The force would be trained to deal with acts of terrorism and provided with latest weapons. In the special anti-terrorist force, the sources said, 25,000 personnel would be recruited in each province and the federal capital. Each personnel would draw a monthly salary equal to $300.

June 2

Battling the Taliban militants for the control of Charbagh in Swat Valley, Security Forces faced stiff resistance, killing 21 militants and suffering three casualties during the last 24 hours, the ISPR said. In addition, 18 militants were arrested during the Operation Rah-e-Rast in Charbagh and other areas. SFs, after asking the local population to vacate the area, launched an operation against the militants in Charbagh and Kabal areas. The ISPR said that the troops, during the operation in Charbagh, cleared the area between little-known Jangle Tekri and Sra Chena. One soldier was killed during the clashes while four others sustained injuries. However, the troops successfully secured Alamganj, Waliabad and Gulibagh areas in Charbagh, the ISPR said. During the clashes in Charbagh and Alamganj areas, it said 14 militants were killed and 18 others arrested.

The ISPR said troops also undertook operations in the Shangla District. An exchange of fire took place between the two sides in which two soldiers were killed while two others sustained injuries. SFs, it said, killed five militants during the operation.

Dozens of unidentified armed men shot dead a Policeman and security guard of the NATO supply terminal in Chaman town before setting ablaze four trailers loaded with supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which is the first of its nature in the border town.

Around 50 cadets and teachers from the Razmak Cadet College are still in Taliban custody, a private TV channel reported after SFs said they had rescued 71 kidnapped cadets and nine employees from North Waziristan.

A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) accepted a habeas corpus petition and ordered the Government to release JuD, the LeT front chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Col (retd) Nazir Ahmad. The court observed that "After hearing the learned counsel for the parties and perusal of the case law on the subject as well as the material produced by the learned law officers in chamber, for the reasons to be delivered later on, with a unanimous view, we have held that this writ petition in the form of habeas corpus is maintainable as prima facie the government has no sufficient grounds to detain the petitioners for preventive measures." "As far as the UN resolution is concerned, there is no matter before us about the vires and the government can act upon the same in letter and spirit if so advised. But relying on the same, the detention cannot be maintained, as it was even not desired thereby," it read.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said India's views on the release of Hafiz Saeed were misplaced. Responding to a statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on the release of Saeed, the spokesman said: "The views expressed therein are misplaced. It is best not to comment on a court decision." He said the Government of Pakistan was well aware of its obligations under the national and international laws. The spokesman said Pakistan had demonstrated sincerity and commitment vis-à-vis inquiry and ongoing investigations concerning the Mumbai attacks. "Polemics and unfounded insinuations cannot advance the cause of justice in civilised societies. Legal processes cannot and must not be interfered with," he added.

June 3

SFs claimed to have killed three militants in the Bedara area of Matta sub-division in Swat and secured Charbagh, where troops were now consolidating their position.

In Lower Dir District, the SFs launched an operation and successfully secured the area from Gulabad to Shewa, Kithiari and Asband.

In the Buner District, the SFs started an operation early in the morning and successfully secured Pir Baba and Bhai Killay.

Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told reporters on a military-organised tour of Mingora town that it could take another two months of fighting to overthrow the militants from all their hideouts in Swat and the surrounding areas. He added, though, that the two months timetable was "a rough estimate." Earlier, Major General Ijaz Awan, a senior commander in Mingora, said the military hoped about 2,500 Police personnel would return to Mingora by end of June 2009 to take over security, but that the army would probably have to stay in the Swat region for at least another year to fully secure it.

220 schools were reportedly blown up by the militants in Swat, during the ongoing wave of militancy while more than 10 private institutions were also destroyed. More than 60,000 students could not appear in the intermediate exam and all of them are now living in other cities as displaced persons. This was revealed in a report released by the Global Peace Council (GPC). President of the GPC, Ziaullah Yousafzai, while addressing a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, said the 92-year-old infrastructure of Swat had been completely destroyed during the insurgency in the valley. He also said students of the entire District were vulnerable to the post traumatic effects and most of them had already developed psychological diseases.

Pakistani authorities said that they would appeal against a court order to release the JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. "The government has decided to file an appeal against the release order of Hafiz Saeed," Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told after the Lahore High Court ordered Saeed's release. "We have received the detailed verdict of the court. Our legal advisers are studying it, and we told them to file an appeal against this verdict," he said.

US President Barack Obama is seeking an additional $200 million to help the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Swat and Malakand Division, the US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Hobrooke said. "Today, the president (Obama) requested the Congress of the US to allocate an additional $200 million," he told a joint press conference with President Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad. He said the reconstruction phase would be very important and critical, and assured full American help and support in this phase. "We are committed to helping you strengthen democracy, to defeat militants in the west who threaten democracy in Pakistan, democracy in Afghanistan and stability throughout the region," he said. The US has already announced $110 million for the IDPs, and Holbrooke said if the additional $200 million were allocated, the total US aid would exceed $300 million. The special envoy also urged other nations, including the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council to do more to assist Pakistan deal with the IDP crisis.

June 4

SFs said that they killed 10 Taliban militants and arrested six others in various areas of the Swat and Buner Districts, while a soldier was killed and two others injured in various clashes. Troops engaged fleeing militants at a check-post at Shangla and killed six of them and arrested four others, according to the ISPR.

Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that the tide in Swat had decisively turned with the Army's resolve to defeat the terrorists. Expressing the Army's commitment to aggressively hunt high-value targets, Gen Kayani announced that the Army would continue carrying out operations at a limited scale with an objective of clearing the remaining hideouts and sanctuaries of terrorists. Addressing the 119th Corps Commanders' Conference held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Kayani said major population centres and roads leading to the Swat valley had been largely cleared off the organised resistance by terrorists. The COAS said isolated incidents of violence would continue and would have to be managed. "The Army will stay in Swat to provide security to the people," he added.

Seven SF personnel, including three Police officers and a Special Services Group (SSG) captain, were killed when the militants attacked a Buner-bound joint Police and Frontier Corps convoy at Natian, triggering a full-fledged operation in the area that continued till late night. Military sources, however, denied the killing of the military captain. Further, there were reports of the killing of one militant and injuries to several others. The exact number of causalities from the militants' side could not be ascertained. However, 32 people are reported to have sustained injuries in the clashes.

The Taliban released the remaining 46 kidnapped students and two teachers of the Razmak Cadet College from the South Waziristan Agency and handed them over to a Jirga (council of elders) of Torikhel and Utmanzai Wazir tribes near Razmak. The cadets and two staff members of the college were released without any condition. They were held somewhere in South Waziristan after their abduction from the Frontier Region (FR) Bakakhel, Tribal sources said their release was negotiated by a tribal Jirga of Torikhel and Utmanzai Wazir tribes and members of a peace committee of North Waziristan Ulema and Taliban leaders.

June 5

A suicide bomber killed 49 worshippers, including 12 children, at a mosque in a remote village of the Dir Upper District of NWFP. Dozens more were injured as a young man detonated explosives fastened to his body minutes before the Friday congregation in the Hayagay Sharqi village. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. The village, located in the mountains, is situated approximately 20 kilometers east of Dir town, the District headquarters. Reports indicated that the Hayagay Sharqi village has been strongly opposed to the presence of the Taliban militants in the Doog Darra area of Dir Upper.

SFs said they had killed 10 Taliban militants and arrested four people, including three activists of the TNSM, while 14 SF personnel were killed and 14 others injured in clashes with the Taliban in Malakand Division.

The federal Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, warned of strict action against those challenging the Government's writ. Speaking to the media at the Parliament House in Islamabad, Malik said media reports regarding the arrest of TNSM Chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad and the TTP chief Maulana Fazlullah were incorrect. "Neither Maulana Fazlullah has been killed nor he or Maulana Sufi Muhammad were arrested. The Swat Operation is going on and the situation for the return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) would be clear within next few weeks," he said. Malik also stated that the SFs arrested some militant commanders and their deputies. He told a questioner that the infrastructure was badly affected in the Operation Zone and daily use items were not available. Consequently, Malik noted that no timeframe for the return of the IDPs can be set.

President Asif Ali Zardari directed the NWFP Government to immediately fill all vacant posts in the provincial Police department. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said Zardari had issued the directive after consulting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the Finance Division. Babar said the president ordered that 2,500 former-defence personnel should be recruited in the Police department on a two-year contract by the end of June 2009. The recruits would be deployed in the troubled regions of the NWFP, he added. The expenditure incurred would be borne by the federal government and the adjutant general of the Pakistan Army would act as the focal person for recruiting the ex-defence personnel.

SFs claimed to have killed 10 militants and secured the Chakesar area of Shangla District during military action against the Taliban militants. The ISPR said SFs carried out action in the Shangla District, situated to the east of the Swat valley, killing 10 militants in Chakesar. It claimed that the troops had cleared the Chakesar area of the militants. In addition, the area from Chakesar up to Aloch, Bazarkot and Shell Qasar were cleared and a linkup was established with the Charbagh area of Swat at Dakorak, the ISPR said.

Four farmers harvesting wheat crop in fields were reportedly killed when hit by mortar shells in the Tawa area of Puran sub-division in Shangla District. During their advance towards Chakesar, SFs shelled the suspected hideouts of militants in the Yakhtangi area of Shangla District. The farmers, harvesting wheat crop in Tawa, were hit by shells. Some reports from the Martoba area suggested that three more civilians were killed and two others injured when mortar shells struck them.

Four soldiers were killed and two injured when their patrol pickup hit an IED on the Jandola-Spinkai Raghzai road in South Waziristan Agency. The Army and paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel have been guarding the Jandola-Spinkai Raghzai road in South Waziristan. The pickup truck was destroyed, while another was partially damaged in the attack.

Pakistan has extradited 10 arrested terrorists belonging to the pro-independence Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to China, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed. The spokesman in Islamabad, confirming the extradition, said the ETIM militants had actually been arrested after they attacked Pakistani Security Forces in the tribal areas. Ten of the over two-dozen arrested Chinese were handed over to Beijing after it was established that they belonged to the ETIM, which Beijing describes as an armed secessionist group with bases in Xingjian-Uighur Autonomous Region in the northwest of China, and in Pakistan.

June 6

Four Taliban militants were killed after hundreds of tribesmen attacked their houses at Hayagai Sharqi in Upper Dir District. Residents of the area launched the attack, a private TV channel reported. It said six houses belonging to the Taliban had also been destroyed.

Two Policemen were killed and four others injured in a suicide attack on a Rescue 15 office at Sector G-8 in capital Islamabad. "It was a huge blast that jolted the area and shattered everything into pieces in front of my eyes," an eyewitness said. Islamabad police arrested some people in connection with the attack, police spokesman Muhammad Naeem said. "We have found a hand and two legs of the bomber. We have not been able to find his head so far," said senior Police officer Bin Yameen.

At least 60 Taliban militants were arrested by the SFs from the relief camps established for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in various parts of the NWFP and elsewhere, said Lt. Col. Wasim, representative of the SFs.

June 7

Three SF personnel, including an officer, were killed and seven others sustained injuries, while four militants were also killed during the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Rast, the ISPR said. According to the ISPR media update, two soldiers were killed while fighting the militants in Kabal area, between Gul Jabba and Hazara Bridge.

The SFs are reported to have also consolidated their positions and established check-posts in the Bara Bandai, Koza Bandai and Ningolai areas of Swat. The SFs also successfully secured the Aloch area in Puran sub-division of the Shangla District, besides capturing areas in north and south of Faqirabad.

Intensifying the offensive against the Taliban militants, the armed villagers of Hayagay Sharqi in Dir Upper District, backed by the people of dozens of other villages, besieged the militants from all sides, killing six more of them. Locals and the Lashkar (militia) sources said 12 Taliban militants, including two commanders, had been killed so far in the siege, while fighting was continuing till last reports were filed. Capturing several hamlets, the villagers also torched 21 houses owned by the Taliban and their supporters. The people of Hayagay Sharqi, located in mountains some 20 kilometers east of Dir town, the District headquarters, launched an armed action against the Taliban to avenge the killing of 49 persons in the suicide attack at a mosque on June 5.

Mortar shells hit a group of people fleeing the fighting in Swat Valley in the Gulibagh area of neighbouring Upper Dir district, killing five civilians, including two women and a child.

The Taliban attacked a Security Forces' convoy, killing the TNSM deputy chief Maulana Alam and spokesman Amir Izaat while they were being transported to Peshawar, the NWFP capital. The ISPR Director General Major General Athar Abbas told reporters in Rawalpindi the Taliban attacked the convoy after it hit an improvised explosive device. He said one non-commissioned officer was also killed in the attack, and five others were wounded. He said the convoy was carrying prisoners needed for a "special investigation" by intelligence agencies. Responding to questions, he said the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad was not in custody, but confirmed that TNSM leader Maulana Wahab was currently being interrogated by the SFs.

The ISPR Director General, meanwhile, said SFs had cleared Barabonde, and had established check-posts at Kuzabonde and Goraghat. He said 17 Taliban militants had been killed in the Qambar sub-division during the past 24 hours, adding one soldier had also died in the process. He said the Taliban had fired rockets on a check-post of the SFs in Khawazakhela, resulting in two soldiers being killed and one being injured. He said according to estimates, three to four percent of the terrorists killed or arrested by the SFs are foreigners, including Arabs, Central Asians or Afghans.

During clashes between two groups of militants in the Mamond area of Bajaur Agency, four combatants were killed. Supporters of Maulana Faqir Muhammad, of the TTP, and Commander Salar Masood of the TNSM are now reportedly preparing for a major showdown in the area. The clash took place after the Salar group kidnapped Jarar Hussain of the TTP following a dispute over money. According to sources, Salar Masood's militants were repulsed when they attempted to overrun the headquarters of the TTP in Sewai. The sources said three of the slain militants belonged to the Salar group, Shah Tamas Khan, Zafarullah and Musa Khan, and one to the TTP, Najeebullah. Five men from both sides sustained injuries in the clashes.

Around 90 percent of the local tribesmen have left South Waziristan and are now living in settled Districts, the South Waziristan Senator Saleh Shah said. He said the Government had not made any arrangements for those who had relocated. The Senator said a committee of political functionaries and tribal elders has estimated that the previous military operations had cost around PKR 1.30 billion in damages to different areas and more than 4500 houses and shops had been damaged in the current operation.

June 8

An Upper Dir tribal Lashkar (militia) seeking retaliation for the suicide attack (June 5) at a mosque has killed 14 Taliban militants, including 'commander' Chamto Afghani, and burnt the houses of another 13 as they besieged two Taliban strongholds of Shatkas and Mena villages. Locals said heavy firing continued on third consecutive day as the militants, whose number was said to be between 200 and 300, had been holed up. In addition, 21 more Taliban militants were killed in various parts of the Malakand Division, according a press release by the ISPR.

In the Swat District, three Taliban militants were killed in Charbagh after a tip off from the civilian residents during a cordon and search operation. "Security forces carried out search operations in Bara Banda, Shahdhand Banda and successfully established link up at Damber Sar. During exchange of fire, one terrorist was killed. Security forces also established link up at Shakardara," the ISPR added.

June 9

A massive truck bomb explosion at the five-star Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar, the NWFP capital, killed 17 people and injured 60 others. The attackers entered the compound on two vehicles at about 10:30pm, firing at the security guards at the hotel gate with bullets from one and blowing up the other in the hotel parking. "It was a suicide attack," Capital City Police Officer Sefwat Ghayur told AFP. "There are two foreigners among the dead," NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said. Among those who were injured are the ruling Awami National Party's minister Zarshed Khan, Senator Nabi Bangash, UN officials, three foreigners and an airline's crew. 40 vehicles parked in the compound were destroyed and the building was seriously damaged. A Bomb Disposal Squad official told reporters at least 500 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

Troops killed 27 Taliban militants in various parts of Malakand Division, while a soldier was killed and nine others injured in clashes with the militants. A military statement said 14 militants were killed and 22 arrested during a search and destroy operation in Peochar valley. "A tunnel, a cache of arms and ammunition, and explosives were seized," it said. Troops also conducted a cordon and search operation to secure Darmai village in Sakhra valley.

Troops killed 27 Taliban militants in various parts of Malakand Division, while a soldier was killed and nine others injured in clashes with the militants. A military statement said 14 militants were killed and 22 arrested during a search and destroy operation in Peochar valley. "A tunnel, a cache of arms and ammunition, and explosives were seized," it said. Troops also conducted a cordon and search operation to secure Darmai village in Sakhra valley.

Tribal militia in the Upper Dir District secured four villages and killed 13 Taliban militants. Foreign news agencies said they were backed by army helicopter gunships.

The TNSM Swat unit chief and two other suspects were arrested from the Hayatabad area of Peshawar. Iqbal Khan, who belongs to the Matta area of Swat, was the District chief of the TNSM, while the other two suspects are his relatives. They were reportedly staying in a rented house in Phase-IV of the Hayatabad locality.

Security Forces launched an operation against the Bakakhel and Janikhel tribesmen in the Frontier Region (FR) of Bannu District for their failure to hand over the kidnappers of the Razmak Cadet College students and teachers. There were reports that 20 militants were killed and several others injured in the operation. However, these reports could not be confirmed from independent sources. The administration under the Frontier Crimes Regulation launched the operation against the tribesmen for their failure to protect the cadets and their teachers from being kidnapped, and then failing to hand over the culprits to the Government. The two tribes were given a five-day deadline to either hand over the kidnappers or face punitive action.

June 10

Troops have killed more than 100 Taliban militants during two days of operation in the Jani Khel and Baka Khel areas of Frontier Region (FR) Bannu. A private TV channel reported that Taliban commander Sher Alam was among the dead. Up to 800 Taliban militants have reportedly arrived in the semi-tribal area of FR Bannu that borders North Waziristan to fight the army that has started an operation in the area. "Reportedly 600 to 800 terrorists reached Jani Khel from Miranshah and Razmak. They are planning to strike at various places in the NWFP," the military said in a press release.

23 Taliban militants and two soldiers were killed in clashes in parts of the Swat District. While one militant was killed during a search operation in Batkhela, six others were killed when the army retaliated an attack in Banmani Sar. The army is reported to have secured the Shalkosar Top and Shalkosar Kandao in Peochar valley. 16 militants were killed in fierce fighting over Shalkosar. In addition, a soldier was killed in a Taliban attack on Bariam Bridge near Matta, and another when they fired a rocket at Kabbal Camp.

A previously unknown Al Qaeda-linked group, the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Hotel Pearl Continental on June 9. A spokesman of the organisation, Amir Muawiya, telephoned reporters in the Kohat city of NWFP, claiming responsibility for the attack and threatened more such bombings. He said the bombing was in retaliation to the operations by the Pakistani armed forces, at the behest of the US, in Swat and rest of the Malakand region and also in the tribal areas of Darra Adamkhel and the Orakzai Agency. Amir Muawiya was a Pakistani Taliban commander operating in the semi-tribal area of Darra Adamkhel, located between Peshawar and Kohat. According to Amir Muawiya, the central Shura, or council of the Taliban and also al-Qaeda, had decided that only the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade would claim responsibility in future and others would keep quiet. The spokesman said his group would be willing to explode a small bomb outside the BBC office in Islamabad to prove the group's power and capability. He also said his group had carried out the attack on the Police Training Academy at Manawan in Lahore, the bombing of the NATO transport terminals in Peshawar and other attacks.

Foreign missions have suspended their activities in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP, following the June 9-suicide attack on the five-star Hotel Pearl Continental in which 17 persons were killed. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the American Consulate in Peshawar and several other diplomatic missions and international bodies suspended their activities in the city by directing foreign officials to restrict their movement. The WFP also suspended its operations, but its activities for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the Malakand Division will continue. Two foreign UN officials, Serbian national Aleksandar Vorkapic of the UNHCR, Perseveranda So of the Philippines working for the UNICEF, and three local officials of the United Nations Population Fund, Muhammad Miskin, administration relief assistant, Muhammad Tahir and a driver Muhammad Fawad, were among those killed in the suicide blast.

June 11

SFs killed 66 more militants and arrested nine others, while four soldiers also died and 12 others sustained injuries in various areas of Malakand Division and Bannu, the ISPR said.

In Bannu, according to the ISPR update, the troops secured Kotka Saifullah and Sara Bangal areas. During search operations in Sara Bangal, 34 militants were killed, while three others were arrested. The ISPR said about 400 militants attacked the Siplatoi and Jandola Fort late on June 10-night, killing three soldiers. In retaliatory firing by the SFs, 22 militants were killed and scores of others sustained injuries.

SFs intensified military operation in the FR Bannu and targeted the Taliban positions with jet fighters, gunship choppers and artillery in Janikhel and Zaidi Akbar Khan areas, killing 50 more militants. Official sources said more than 150 militants had been killed in the three-day military offensive. The military launched the operation on June 9 after expiry of the deadline for Janikhel and Bakakhel tribal leaders to hand over the militants wanted by the Government for kidnapping of students and teachers of Razmak Cadet College.

The SFs shelled suspected hideouts of the militants in Janikhel and Zaidi Akbar Khan with artillery from the Bannu Cantonment while gunship choppers and jet fighters also strafed the militants' locations in these areas. The gunship helicopters and jetfighters also bombed the Taliban hideouts in the precincts of Sra Dargah and Haved Police station while massive shelling was carried out in Zaidi Akbar Khan area. At least, 50 militants were killed in the daylong military offensive in the region.

SFs claimed to have killed five militants during an encounter in the Kambar area of Dir Lower district, while two children were killed in fighting between the armed Lashkar (militia) of villagers and militants in Dir Upper District.

The NWFP Minister for Prisons, Mian Nisar Gul Kakakhel, was seriously injured in an armed attack near the Friendship Tunnel in the Darra Adamkhel area, while two of his security guards and an attacker were killed in the exchange of fire. The minister, who is a resident of Karak District, was on his way to Peshawar when his motorcade was attacked in Darra Adamkhel.

A man was killed and 13 others, including nine Policemen, sustained injuries in a hand grenade-cum-suicide attack on a Police party in the Lateefabad area on Ring Road in Peshawar, the NWFP capital. Capital City Police Officer Safwat Ghayyur told the media that a Police party was on a routine duty on Ring Road in the jurisdiction of Faqirabad Police station when unknown miscreants hurled a hand grenade at the Policemen, injuring one of them. Even as reinforcements were being called for, a suicide bomber came near a Police pick-up and blew himself up. The blast destroyed two Police mobiles, a rickshaw and a motorcycle. Personnel of the Bomb Disposal.

In another incident in the provincial capital, two suspects were killed and six others arrested as Policemen and troops deployed at the Peshawar Corps Commander's House foiled a terrorist attack in the high security zone on Peshawar's Khyber Road. Citing witnesses, a television channel said two suspects riding a motorbike attempted to enter the Corps Commander's House and fired at the security officials on being stopped. According to the channel, two other gunmen, also on motorbikes, followed the first pair. Two suspects were killed in the ensuing encounter, the channel said.

The Pakistan Air Force jet fighters started bombing suspected locations of Taliban militants in the Orakzai Agency in FATA and the adjoining Hangu District in NWFP, killing 33 persons, including the Sunni Supreme Council chief Maulana Muhammad Amin and his nephew, and injuring 29 others. The local officials, however, put the death toll in the two regions at 50, including women and children. The warplanes targeted militants' positions in Mushti Bazaar, Mushti Mela, Ferozkhel, Sheikhan, Dabori, Ghiljo, Khadeezai, Shahuwam and Sultanzai. 26 people were reportedly killed and 13 others injured in the daylong bombing in these villages of Orakzai Agency. The warplanes also targeted a madrassa (seminary) run by prominent cleric and leader of the Sunni Supreme Council of Hangu and Orakzai Agency, Maulana Mohammad Amin, at Shahuwam Bazaar in Orakzai. Besides six other people, the Maulana himself and his nephew Hafiz Rashid Ahmad were killed and a few others injured. Maulana Amin had reportedly close links with militants. The planes also targeted an alleged training centre of militants in Khapanga area of Lower Kurram Agency. The camp was reportedly run by local militant commander, Ismail Shah. Military officials said Maulana Amin had close links with the Taliban. An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement issued from Peshawar said 40 terrorists were present in the seminary during the attack. It said 13 of the terrorists died, which the local administration confirmed.

The army killed 22 Taliban militants during fierce clashes in South Waziristan, the ISPR said. According to reports from Waziristan, the fighting broke out when around 400 militants attacked the Siplatoi check-post and the Jandola Fort late on June 10, and continued for several hours. Three soldiers died and five were injured in the fight, the military said in a daily update in Rawalpindi. Talking to Daily Times, hospital sources confirmed 11 Taliban deaths. They said seven militants were injured.

A remote-controlled bomb planted on a parked motorbike in Khuzdar District exploded near a military vehicle, killing three persons, including a paramilitary soldier, local Police officer Juma Khan said. At least 10 persons, mostly civilians, were injured in the blast.

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) has crossed the figure of 3.8 million as approximately 540127 families have moved to safer places due to military operations against the Taliban in Malakand Division. According to a press release issued in Peshawar by the NWFP information department, the number of IDPs is 3870500, both in camps and off camps. The number of the IDPs living in camps in different areas of the province is 26145 families which constitutes 149701 individuals. The number of families living off camps is 513982 which constitute a figure of 3720800 individuals.

The UAE announced the assistance of $30 million for IDPs from Malakand. The announcement was made by the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwer Muhammad Gargash, during his visit to the Shah Mansoor camp at Swabi.

The CIA Director Leon Panetta said the US intelligence agency believes Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, and hoped joint operations with Pakistani forces will find him. Asked whether he was sure that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan, Panetta told reporters, "The last information we had, that's still the case." Finding Laden is "one of our major priorities", said Panetta. "One of our hopes is that the Pakistanis move in militarily, combined with our operations, we may be able to have a better chance" to find the Al Qaeda leader, he said. Panetta also said Al Qaeda "remains the most serious security threat", adding that there are "a number of people" on the ground in Pakistan providing intelligence on Al Qaeda targets to the US.

June 12

39 more militants and 10 soldiers were killed in clashes between the SFs and Taliban militants in the Swat valley. A news update issued by the ISPR on the ongoing military operations in Swat and other adjoining mountainous areas, said 10 soldiers were killed and 24 others sustained injuries during the operation. SFs reportedly secured and consolidated their positions at Chuprial near Matta sub-division. During the process of consolidation, an encounter took place between the two sides in which eight soldiers died and 13 others were wounded. In retaliation, the SFs killed 39 militants and their bodies were reportedly lying at the encounter site. Further, while securing areas around Kabal sub-division, two soldiers were killed and eight injured in an exchange of fire between the two sides. Casualties suffered by the Taliban could not be ascertained.

18 more militants were killed as SFs continued their operations in the Janikhel and Hindikhel areas of Bannu District on the fourth consecutive day. Sources said SFs entered the Hindikhel area after clearing Sra Dargah area of the militants. "At least, 18 militants were killed in the daylong clashes in different areas of the semi-tribal region," the sources said, adding the troops faced stiff resistance in Hindikhel. The SFs also targeted militants' positions with artillery from the Bannu Cantonment. Official sources claimed that over 200 militants had been killed in the four-day operation. The military launched the operation on June 9-morning after the expiry of the deadline given to Janikhel and Bakakhel tribal leaders to hand over the militants wanted by the Government for the kidnapping of students and teachers of the Razmak Cadet College.

Five worshippers were killed and 105 others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden van into a mosque during the Friday prayers in the Cantonment area of Nowshera in the NWFP. Sources said the congregation was in the second Rakat (part) when the bomber in the vehicle, carrying 125 kilograms of explosives, struck the wall of the mosque near the Army Supply Depot. Two soldiers were among the four persons killed on the spot while 105 persons, including 30 civilians, were injured in the explosion. Most of the wounded were reportedly Army personnel. One of those wounded succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Four Police personnel were killed and six others injured by two remote-controlled bomb attacks in the Hangu District of NWFP. In the first incident, suspected militants targeted a Police van in the Tull sub-division with an improvised explosive device, fitted in a pressure cooker. The blast killed four Policemen. In a second incident, militants reportedly attempted to attack another Police van with a remote controlled bomb in the Dawaba Police station precincts. However, the Police van narrowly escaped the blast.

SFs killed 12 militants in the Mohmand Agency, targeting Taliban's hideouts. In addition, five persons were killed when shells missed targets and landed in civilian areas. SFs are reported to have targeted the militants' hideouts in Alingar, Akhunzadgan, Sagi, Sheikh Baba, Sooran Darra, Guloona and Shandarra areas of Safi and Khewzai Baizai sub-divisions with helicopters gunship, artillery, tanks and other sophisticated weapons. Yar Khan, his wife and two children were killed when an artillery shell hit his house in Akhunzadgan area. Another civilian, Muhammad Deen Shah, was killed in the Alingar area. Civilians were also hit in the Upper and Lower Sagi areas. However, the number of casualties could not be ascertained.

Seven Taliban militants were killed by the SFs in Bajaur Agency's Charmang area, considered to be a Taliban stronghold. Planes and helicopters attacked militants' positions in Tangi, Hashim Ziarat, Kotki and Babara. Militants had reportedly used Mamond and Charmang for regrouping after having signed a peace deal with the Government. They built bunkers and dug trenches to protect themselves against ground and air assaults and had also occupied agricultural land of tribal elders and Government buildings.

Seven persons, including a prominent anti-Taliban cleric, were killed and seven injured when a suicide attacker detonated himself at the Jamia Naeemia madrassa (seminary) in the Garhi Shahu area of Lahore shortly after Friday prayers. Targeting Sarfaraz Naeemi, the head of Jamia Naeemia, the terrorist reportedly waited until the anti-Taliban cleric had reached his office before launching his attack. Six people were with Naeemi in his office at the time. A seminary student, Muhammad Faisal, said the bomber had pretended to be a student. District Officer (Civil Defence) Mazhar Hussain said the attacker had used a 20-kilogramme suicide vest containing ball bearings and iron filings. Police said the bomber was aged between 16 and 17, clean-shaven and had a fair complexion. Naeemi was one of those moderate clerics who believed in maintaining sectarian unity to counter terrorism, and was among those clerics who had issued the edict declaring suicide attacks against the Muslims and civilians as haram (forbidden).

The TTP has claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks in Lahore and Nowshera and the bombing of Hotel Pearl Continental in Peshawar. "We claim responsibility for these attacks," a man identifying himself as Saeed Hafiz and claiming to be deputy of Hakeemullah Mehsud based in the Orakzai Agency of FATA told on telephone. He said the TTP would soon release the video of the PC attack. He also said the suicide attacks on the Lahore seminary and Nowshera mosque were to avenge the June 11 bombing in Hangu and military operations in Swat, Bannu and South Waziristan.

June 13

SFs killed 41 Taliban militants in military operations in the Malakand Division and Bannu area in NWFP, the ISPR said. The ISPR also said a soldier was killed and seven others were injured in the fighting. SFs continued conducting search operations in Mingora and seized a cache of arms, night vision goggles and other equipment abandoned by the Taliban militants. Two terrorists were also arrested during the search operation. Troops also secured the Karakar pass linking Buner with Swat. In Bannu, SFs secured Zindi Akbar Khan, FC Fort Jani Khel and Marwat Canal, the ISPR said, adding that 35 terrorists had been killed in the operation in various areas of Bannu District. In the past few days, Pakistan launched strikes on Taliban militants across the NWFP, most notably in Bannu District at the gateway to Waziristan, where according to the military more than 130 militants were killed since June 9.

The SFs killed 10 militants by targeting their hideouts with jetfighters and gunship helicopters in different areas of the Nawagai sub-division of Bajaur Agency.

June 14

SFs said they had killed 65 Taliban militants, including foreigners, and injured 50 in various army operations in South Waziristan and Bannu during the last 24 hours. "Thirty terrorists were killed, including a few foreigners, and 50 were injured at Makeen, South Waziristan due to the air strike on Saturday," the ISPR said in a statement. It said the offensive was partially in response to the suicide attack on Mufti Sarfaraz Naeemi's madrassa (seminary) in Lahore on June 12, in which seven civilians were killed, and the suicide attack on the Nowshera mosque on the same day in which five personnel were killed. 35 more militants were killed in fresh action by the troops in the Bannu District of NWFP. It said the SFs, continuing their operations against the Taliban, had bombarded suspected militant hideouts from Janikhel Fort.

SFs claimed to have killed 24 militants in an operation in the Mohmand Agency. In addition, 12 civilians were killed when shells missed their targets and landed in the civilian areas of the agency.

Air force jets and helicopter gunships targeted suspected positions of militants in the Salarzai and Nawagai areas of Bajaur Agency in FATA. At least nine militants were killed and several others injured, officials said. Reports indicated that militants are still hiding in Government installations in the plain areas of Bajaur Agency. They are said to have built bunkers in some Government buildings. Sources said at least 24 militants had been killed during the operation since June 12.

A US missile strike targeting militants killed three persons in the Laddha region of South Waziristan Agency. "A drone attack targeting a militant vehicle killed three people in Mardar Algad area… There is a training camp close to this area," said Amir Mohammad Khan, a local administration official in Laddha.

Three people were killed and two injured when a vehicle carrying supplies for the NATO forces hit a roadside bomb in South Waziristan. Two of the deceased have been identified as Afghans, while one has been identified as a Pakistani. Political authorities confirmed the incident.

Nine people were killed and more than 40 others wounded when a in a bomb blast at a busy market in Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP. Sources said the bomb, weighing five kilograms and apparently planted on a cycle cart, exploded in the busy Tejarat Gunj Bazaar. The blast also destroyed the windowpanes of the nearby shops and houses.

The Government ordered a "full-fledged" military operation against the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and Mehsud tribes for harbouring terrorists, abetting terrorist activities and killing innocent people. "Law-enforcement agencies have been ordered to launch a comprehensive operation against Mehsud tribes and the TTP chief and his followers for their failure to fulfill their duties in accordance with the law of the land," said NFWP Governor Awais Ghani at a press conference in Islamabad, but did not provide a date for the launch of the operation. The Online news agency claimed the operation would follow the offensive in Malakand. He said "this would be an affective and decisive operation that would root out terrorism from Pakistan." The decision to launch the operation against Mehsud tribes, he said, had been made to "protect the lives and properties of the people of Pakistan from the barbaric terrorists of Mehsud tribes". "Mehsud tribes were told time and again that their activities are unacceptable," he added. Ghani said Mehsud tribes had not only failed to evict foreign terrorists from their areas, but had also continued operating training camps. Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told The Associated Press: "The government has made the announcement. We will give a comment after evaluating the orders."

June 15

SFs claimed to have killed 50 Taliban militants during military operations in the Mohmand Agency, Bajaur Agency, Malakand Division and Bannu District during the past 24 hours. The ISPR said five Taliban militants were killed in retaliation after they attacked a local Lashkar (militia) in the Dir District. They said the Lashkar also destroyed three houses and injured six militants. It said another member of the Taliban was killed when Police fired at a car that refused to stop at a check-post. "The car exploded, as it was primed for a suicide attack," it added.

In Mohmand Agency, 29 Taliban militants were killed and 25 injured when the SFs targeted their hideouts with jet planes and helicopter gunships.

In Bajaur Agency, eight militants, including a commander, were killed, a security official in Khar told.

In the Jani Khel area of Bannu District, Taliban fired rockets at a Police station and an airport. "Seven Taliban were killed in the retaliatory attack," said Zahinuddin, a local Police official.

14 Taliban militants were killed in the Dir Lower and Upper Districts while SFs. Sources said nine suspected Taliban militants were killed in Dir Lower and five in Dir Upper, respectively. SFs, the sources said, killed nine militants during a search operation in Galgut area of Maidan. They said a soldier was also killed and five others injured in the encounter. The ISPR said the Lashkar (militia) killed five militants and injured six others in Dir Upper. Sources in the area confirmed that three houses owned by Kashar Khan, Nawaz and Omar were destroyed in Shatkas area when the armed villagers targeted the locations of the militants. They said about four to five militants were killed.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said the Government is determined to continue the war against terrorism till the Taliban are flushed out of the country. He said that the terrorists were using children for their barbarous terrorist activities, adding a suicide bomber was paid PKR 500,000 to PKR 2.5 million from terrorist outfits. Speaking at an award distribution ceremony for martyred and other Police officials in Islamabad on June 15, Mailk said the Government has decided to increase the Police strength, and 20,000 more personnel would be recruited in the Capital Police to overcome the shortage of the force.

June 16

SFs claimed to have killed 15 militants, including a key foreign commander, in the Bajaur Agency of FATA and Dir Lower District in the NWFP. Sources said the SFs heavily shelled positions of the militants in the Charmang area of Nawagai sub-division with artillery from Khar, headquarters of the Bajaur Agency, Loisam and Tank Khatta camps, destroying several hideouts in the area. An important foreign commander, known as Goraila, and three local militants were killed in the action. SFs cleared the area of the militants and took control of the key locations in Charmang, the stronghold of the militants.

In Dir Lower, the SFs claimed to have killed 11 militants in the Maidan area of the District. Eleven militants were killed, when the Taliban hideouts in Kulaldherai, Galgut, Hayaserai and Kas Laghrai areas were targeted with artillery, sources said. The sources said four persons were injured in the artillery shelling by SFs when their house was hit by a shell.

The SFs captured and destroyed a training facility of the Taliban at Balasar-Chuprial in Swat District, having 120 feet long tunnels, firing range and training area. A terrorist, Shah Sultan, who was an expert in suicidal jackets making, was killed in the Charbagh area. Further, during a search operation three terrorists were arrested at Salhand near Fizagat. On a tip off two vehicles prepared for suicide mission were recovered and destroyed at Dangram. The SFs also destroyed two tunnels at Loi Numalin, Peuchar Valley and two at Rampatai. A huge cache of arms and ammunitions was recovered during a search operation in Gokand Banda, Sersenai, Khairabad and Ghodanbanda.

At least three persons were killed and four others sustained injuries in clashes between two groups in the Kurram Agency. The clashes which erupted when the rivals belonging to Balishkhel and Khar villages started building bunkers, sparked sectarian tension. According to sources, the clash followed an attack by Khar villagers near the Balishkhel checkpoint.

SFs targeted suspected hideouts of the Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban militants in South Waziristan Agency, causing exodus of thousands of families from the troubled spots. SFs, based at Manzai, Jandola and Tiarza Frontier Corps camps, fired artillery shells towards suspected locations of the militants in Ladha, Spinkai Raghzai, Chagmalai and Srarogha, where the military officials believe Baitullah and his senior commanders were hiding. However, no loss of life or injuries was reported. Tribal sources said almost all villages and towns inhabited by the Mehsud tribe had been deserted after the people fled to safer locations. The tribesmen complained that despite an announcement by the Government, no relief camp had been set up for the internally displaced persons of South Waziristan.

The Government has, in principle, reportedly decided to launch Operation Rah-e-Nijat against chief of the TTP Baitullah Mehsud and his network in South Waziristan Agency (SWA), as the Pakistan Army has received necessary orders in this regard, a military spokesman said. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Director General of the ISPR, Major General Athar Abbas, said preparatory phase of the decisive operation against the militants was already underway. He said the operation would be taken to its logical end. Abbas refused to share operational and tactical details about the operation with the media, saying it would benefit the terrorists. According to unconfirmed reports, an Uzbek militant, Tahir Yuldash, was injured in recent airstrikes on the hideouts of Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan Agency, sources said. In reply to a question, the ISPR chief said according to a press statement of Baitullah he had a force of around 10,000 militants. He said all the necessary arrangements were being made by the security forces to block escape of militants from the area, where the operation was to be launched.

The Ministry of Interior has advised the home departments of all four provinces to tighten security after the TTP threatened more suicide attacks on prominent religious leaders. "Now it is your turn - we have sent a jacketwala (a man with a suicide vest) to mend clerics like you. We will also send jacketwalas to other clerics too," sources told Aaj Kal quoting a threatening letter addressed to a cleric. In light of the letter, law enforcement agencies have been advised to tighten security for leading religious leaders.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, (Kerry-Lugar Bill) authorising $1.5 billion annually to Pakistan for the next five years. The bipartisan measure will now have to pass the full chamber before the Senate and the House of Representative hold a conference to arrive at a reconciled version of the bill. The US House has already passed the bill.

Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry emphasised it is timely the US supported Pakistan's anti-militancy drive as well as help look after the displaced people of Malakand. "This is a critical moment for Pakistan," he said. He also said Pakistan is taking critical action against the Taliban and stressed the displacement of millions of people from Swat and other northwestern parts offered the US and Pakistan an opportunity to help relocate them. "It is all the more important to get the money moving at this moment," he added.

June 17

While armed villagers in the Dir Upper District killed six holed up Taliban militants in the Doog Darra area, the Army claimed to have killed 22 more militants in the adjacent Dir Lower and Swat Districts during the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Rast.

In Dir Lower, located in the south of Dir Upper District, the ISPR claimed that SFs had killed 20 Taliban militants. The ISPR said troops carried out a search operation in the Galgut area of Maidan and killed 20 militants during a clash, besides recovering a cache of arms and ammunition. It said 15 others were arrested.

The Lahore Police claimed the arrest of a terrorist involved in the attack on a visiting Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3, with officials claiming the attackers had plans to take the cricketers hostage to demand the release of jailed leaders of their group. The Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Pervaiz Rathore told a press conference that the arrested man, identified as Zubair alias Naik Muhammad, who killed an unarmed traffic warden in the attack was a member of the Punjab Taliban, an offshoot of the banned LeJ group. Seven people, including six Policemen, were killed when terrorists ambushed the Sri Lankan team while it was being driven to Gaddafi Stadium for a match.

June 18

SFs killed 34 more Taliban militants in the ongoing operation in the Swat and Dir Upper Districts, while seven others were arrested, the ISPR said. The SFs continued action against the Maulana Fazlullah-led militants in Kabal sub-division of Swat even as the militants are still offering some resistance in the area. SFs are reported to have secured the area around Bridge-II, Kabal and Kotlai. During clashes in these areas, the ISPR said 12 militants were killed while five soldiers sustained injuries. Further, six militants were killed in the Totano Banda area of Kabal during an operation launched for the consolidation of SFs positions. In the Shamozai area of Swat valley, the troops commenced an operation for clearing the area and killed 10 Taliban militants. According to the ISPR, 28 militants were killed in the Swat Valley.

More than 1,400 militants and 120 soldiers have been killed during the 54-day operation in Swat and the nearby Dir Lower and Buner districts, the military stated.

Suspected US drone strikes killed approximately 12 Taliban militants in South Waziristan. The drone targeted the suspected hideout of Taliban commander Malang some 18 kilometers northwest of Wana, said unnamed officials. Malang was a subordinate of Wazir Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir, they added. "Four missiles were fired at the hideout, where Taliban were believed to be training new recruits," local tribal sources told. "The attack was staged in two parts: An initial drone strike killed two Taliban. Then, when people converged on the site, three more missiles were fired, resulting in the deaths of 10 more people," they said.

Three women were killed and four children injured when mortar shells hit their houses in the Aman Kot and Cheenari areas of the Mohmand Agency.

The head of an association of madrassas (seminaries), Mufti Munibur Rehman, has sought Government protection after receiving death threats for denouncing the Taliban. The appeal comes one week after another anti-Taliban cleric and Rehman's associate Sarfraz Naeemi was killed in a suicide attack on his madrassa in Lahore. "I am a target and have received threats," Rehman, the president of Tanzeemul Madaris Pakistan, said from Karachi. "The government's statements that they have provided us with security are lies… We ourselves don't have the resources to hire private security," Rehman said.

June 19

SFs killed 15 militants and injured seven others in a shootout in the Charmang area of Bajaur Agency. Sources said the militants attacked a patrolling party of the SFs near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the Charmang area of Nawagai sub-division, killing two soldiers and injuring three others.

11 Taliban militants were killed in the Doog Darra area of Dir Upper District by armed villagers and artillery shelling by the SFs as the militants started fleeing the area after giving up resistance. The armed villagers have reportedly ringed the Taliban militants, led by Afghan commander Amir Khitab, since June 6 in the mountains of Doog Darra. They were heavily targeting the positions of the Taliban militants and killed a number of them. Helping the Lashkar (militia), SFs deployed artillery guns in Panakot area near the Dir town and Beranjo in Doog Darra.

Amid reports of NATO's assistance in a military offensive against the Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban, Pakistani warplanes and gunship choppers continued targeting suspected hideouts of the militants in South Waziristan Agency (SWA), killing six militants. Sources said that two jet fighters of the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Army's two gunship choppers bombed suspected hideouts of the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud in Barwand, Madejan, Serwakai and adjoining areas. Further, the sources said artillery shells were fired from the Frontier Corps camps in Jandola and Serwakai towards the suspected hideouts in various parts of the SWA. Military officials said six militants were killed and several others injured when gunship helicopters targeted their positions near Serwakai.

SFs said they had killed four more Taliban militants and arrested two in the ongoing operation in Malakand, while one soldier was injured in the fighting. The SFs are reported to have secured Akhun Kalle and established a check-post in the Swat's Chungai area. The troops also launched an operation to clear areas around Zara Khela, Khawazakhela and Matta, and seized three rifles. The army conducted a search operation in Buner's Sar Qila area, and successfully secured Mohmand Gate, Nawapass, Ghungat, Kuz and Chamarkand in Mohmand Agency.

SFs killed four militants in Buner district and were consolidating their positions in parts of the Swat Valley. The ISPR said SFs clashed with militants in Sar Qilla area during a search operation. Four militants, it claimed, were killed during an exchange of fire.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced a package of over PKR 24 billion for capacity building and strengthening of Police and law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the NWFP. Addressing Members of Provincial Assembly of the ruling alliance at the Governor's House in Peshawar, Gilani stressed the importance of well-equipped, trained and highly motivated LEAs to ensure durable peace and stability in the province after completion of the military operation under way in the tribal belt and Swat. The package is to be utilised for recruiting additional Police and LEA personnel and acquiring sophisticated weapons. The package will be delivered in installments, each tranche comprising PKR six billion would be handed over to the NWFP after every six months.

June 20

15 Taliban militants, including two key 'commanders', were killed by the SFs during a counter-insurgency operation at Charmang area of Bajaur Agency in FATA, a private TV channel reported. The 'commander' Omar, a foreigner, was also among those killed in the operation. The SFs also destroyed four hideouts of the Taliban during the operation which was carried out after Taliban militants blew up two boys' schools and a college in Bajaur on June 19.

22 suspected militants and six soldiers were killed in a daylong military action against the Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban in South Waziristan as the troops cleared a portion of the Wana-Jandola Road. Two fighter planes and a couple of gunship helicopters targeted the positions of the militants, who had occupied hilltops and blocked the Wana-Jandola Road between Tanai and Serwakai towns. Tribal sources from Jandola said that troops on June 19-night continued shelling the suspected militants' positions with artillery guns. They were, however, unaware of the casualties suffered by the militants. Military officials said 32 militants were killed when two warplanes and gunship helicopters bombarded the militants occupying the road between Tanai and Serwakai. They claimed that the Tanai-Serwakai portion of the Wana-Jandola road had been cleared of the militants. The remaining militants affiliated with Baitullah Mehsud were reported to have fled their positions in the area. However, the militants denied any losses in the operation.

June 21

12 militants were killed and seven others sustained injuries when gunship helicopters and fighter planes targeted their suspected hideouts in different areas of South Waziristan Agency, while 27 militants died in the military operation in Bajaur Agency.

Tribal sources said SFs continued shelling Taliban hideouts in the Makeen, Kaniguram, Badar and Mula Khan Serai areas of South Waziristan, destroying four compounds of the militants. SFs claimed that 12 militants were killed and seven others injured in shelling by gunship helicopters and fighter planes. Another main compound of the militants in Mula Khan Serai was reportedly destroyed while a madrassa (seminary) was also targeted by the gunship helicopters.

An AP report from Islamabad stated that military jets and artillery targeted suspected Taliban hideouts in Bajaur Agency, killing 27 militants.

SFs claimed to have killed seven more Taliban militants in various parts of Swat District, even as thousands of internally displaced families were awaiting the Government's call for return to their native villages. In a statement, the ISPR said during an exchange of fire at Langer in Khwazakhela, a militant was killed and six others arrested, while 15 sub-machine guns, one sniper rifle, one 8MM rifle, communication gadgets and grenades were also recovered. SFs, it claimed, successfully secured the areas around Peuchar, Kharkai, Kharkarai and Biha. An encounter took place between the two sides in Biha in which six militants were killed and 10 others arrested. The troops also recovered 20 machine guns, G-3 rifles, two rocket launchers with seven rockets, 12x12 bore rifles, two grenades and 6,000 rounds of SMGs and two other rifles.

The SFs killed six militants and suffered four casualties, besides injuries to eight others, in parts of the Swat Valley. The ISPR said militants attacked positions of the SFs in Shahdand Banda, Dewlai and Totano Banda. "Six terrorists were killed during the exchange of fire," the ISPR said in its daily update to the media. It said SFs secured Kotlai, Chungai and Zarakhela areas in Kabal sub-division and started action in the Dagai area. One soldier sustained injuries during the exchange of fire with the militants. "Terrorists ambushed security forces' vehicle on the Odigram-Akhun Killay Road. As a result, three soldiers embraced martyrdom and seven others sustained injuries". SFs have reportedly commenced a clearance operation from Malakand to Thana in the nearby Malakand Agency. During the operation, the troops clashed with some militants and in an exchange of fire a soldier was killed.

Seven suspected militants were killed in a clash with a Lashkar (the village militia) in Patrak area of Upper Dir District in NWFP. Local people said the clash took place in Shekhan Khwar near Patrak.

Five Taliban militants were killed and two soldiers were wounded in the Dir Lower District.

Four persons, including two women, were killed after armed assailants opened fire on the residence of tribal leader Wadera Wazeer Khan at Dera Bugti in Balochistan. A Sui Police official said the victims could not be identified.

June 22

The ISPR Director-General Major General Athar Abbas said at a media briefing in Islamabad that the SFs are in the final phase of eliminating terrorist hideouts and camps in Swat. Abbas said: "In the north, Biha Valley — the last stronghold of terrorists — has been fully secured and in the west, Shamozai area is being cleared. Search operations are being carried out in the secured areas to ensure that they are safe for the return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs)." The military spokesman said various search and cordon operations were conducted by security forces whereby neutralising a number of IEDs and destroying a number of small and big tunnels, while 22 more terrorists were killed and five others were arrested in Malakand. He said 14 terrorists were killed by the SFs during the ‘link up operation’ at the Shamozai Bridge, while eight large size IEDs planted by terrorists were also neutralised. The SFs successfully secured Biha Valley and also cleared Bartana South of Chuprial. He said three small size tunnels were destroyed at Loi Namal while locals handed over a terrorist to the troops at Bahrain while four others were arrested at Wanai Bridge, Shalkosar, Bashkhela and Drushkhela.

Athar Abbas said so far 1,592 terrorists had been killed in the operation while 60 to 70 others had been arrested, who were being interrogated. He said the arrested terrorists also included some Afghans and Uzbeks.

Three persons, including two women, were killed and another sustained injuries when a rocket hit a house in Zardad Killay in the jurisdiction of Hovaid Police Station of Bannu District in NWFP.

Two Policemen were killed and seven people, including three Policemen, sustained injuries when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the Thakot Police check-post in Battagram District of NWFP, completely destroying the check-post. "An explosion occurred in a small truck when it reached the Dandai bridge in Shangla district (of Swat) ... it was a suicide attack," said Gul Wali Khan, the District Police chief in Shangla, told. The attack was the first-ever suicide attack in Battagram District.

At least 21 people, both militants and civilians among them, were killed and several others injured during air strikes and retaliatory actions by the SFs in Waziristan. According to locals, women and children were also among the dead and injured. Air force planes reportedly bombed suspected militant hideouts and training facilities in areas dominated by the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan. SFs also secured a main supply route between Maulvi Khan Serai and Serwekai. According to officials and locals, the planes shelled houses of Malik Mohammad Amir Khan and Kabir Khan Berki in Salay Rogha area and killed 11 suspected militants and injured five others. Sources said the militants had occupied the houses whose owners had moved other areas, along with their families. Helicopter gunships also targeted suspected locations in Tor Wam, Tiarza, Bronda, Sararogha and other areas of the Mehsud tribe. Troops shelled militants’ positions in Spenkai Raghzai from their base in Jandola. The sources said that troops had entered Spenkai Raghzai, but could not take complete control of the area.

Helicopter gunships shelled a residential compound in Shinkai area of North Waziristan. According to sources, 10 people, including two women, were killed when the house of a tribesman, Jalal Afghani, was bombed in North Waziristan.

Five militants were killed when Cobra helicopters targeted a suspected location near Miranshah in North Waziristan.

More than 45,000 people are reportedly leaving their homes before the start of a military operation in South Waziristan, officials said. Colonel Waseem Ahmed, spokesman for a Government unit overseeing humanitarian affairs, said he expected the number to rise to at least 60,000. About 37,000 people had already left their homes in South Waziristan, said Manuel Bessler, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, citing military figures. Bessler said Pakistan presented a unique problem for humanitarian officials because 80 percent of the displaced were not in UN camps, but were staying with family and friends in ‘host’ communities.

Three Shias, including a union council chief, were killed in Quetta, the Balochistan capital, by unidentified men in a suspected sectarian incident. Unidentified armed men reportedly opened fire on Talib Agha, Union Council 47 chief in Quetta, when he was on his way home along with his driver and security guard.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that TTP Swat unit chief Maulana Fazlullah had been trapped by the SFs. The minister told reporters in Islamabad that the militant leader had been spotted and there was no question of his escape. He said "By and large we know the location where he is hiding." "But the question is that it is not one Fazlullah. There are many Fazlullahs who have to be eliminated," he added. However, the ISPR Director-General Major General Athar Abbas said at a media briefing that he had no information about Fazlullah. Malik also claimed that the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, against whom a military operation was in the offing, was still in the tribal area, refuting reports that he might have escaped to Afghanistan. Malik stated, "We have information about where he is and we will not give him any chance to escape." He also said a brother of Fazlullah had been injured during the operation in Swat and members of his family had been detained in Haripur. He said the mid-level command of militants had almost been eliminated.

If it were in a position to do so, Al Qaeda would use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in its fight against the US, a top leader of the group said in remarks aired late on June 21, The News reported. "God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the Mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans," Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, said in an interview with Al Jazeera TV channel. Abu al-Yazid was responding to a question about the US safeguards to seize control over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in case militants came close to doing so. "We expect that the Pakistan Army would be defeated (in Swat) ... and that would be its end everywhere, God willing."

June 23

Approximately 80 people, including a senior commander of the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants, Khwaz Wali Mehsud, were killed and several others sustained injuries in two separate attacks by US spy planes on a suspected militant hideout and funeral prayers at Lattaka village of Ladha sub-division in South Waziristan Agency. A US drone fired three missiles at a suspected militant hideout at Lattaka village, killing six militants, including senior Taliban commander Khwaz Ali, who was said to be one of Baitullah Mehsud’s trusted commanders. Five other people killed in the attack were said to be local tribal militants. Tribal sources said it was the first-ever attack by US spy planes on the Shabikhel area of South Waziristan - hometown of Baitullah Mehsud. Later, when the militants and villagers offered funeral prayers of the deceased militants at the village graveyard, two more missiles were fired on the venue. Sources close to the militants told that majority of the people after attending funeral prayers of the slain militant commander Khwaz Ali had started leaving the venue and few were there to have a final glimpse of Ali when they came under a missile attack. They said two US drones fired two missiles on the gathering killing over 60 people, majority of them militants.

Six militants were killed in the Shadas village of Maidan area in Lower Dir District when gunship helicopters targeted the house of a local Taliban commander, identified as Miftahud Din alias Shabar, who is blamed for attacking convoys of the SFs in Shadas, Kala Dag and Hayaserai areas.

Five army men, including a major, a captain and three jawans, were killed when a unit of the Baloch Regiment was ambushed at Charbagh in the Malakand Division of NWFP. According to the ISPR, the troops were returning after a search operation when the incident took place at 7pm.

The News has reported that Maulana Shah Dauran, deputy leader of the Taliban in Swat District, was injured after a military operation against the militants. Official sources said he was among several militants hit during a military attack in the Kabal area of Swat.

SFs are reportedly carrying out search and sweep operations in various parts of the Swat valley in the final phase of the military operation, the ISPR said. It said that in the last 24 hours, the SFs had arrested three Taliban militants during a search operation in Mangai and recovered some arms and ammunition.

A Taliban commander from South Waziristan opposed to the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and part of an apparent plan to isolate the leader of the Pakistan Taliban from his tribesmen ahead of a likely military operation in the area was shot dead. Qari Zainuddin, a 26-year-old Mehsud tribesman, who led his own group of militants, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in his office in Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP, from where he had recently given interviews to Pakistani and international media denouncing Baitullah Mehsud as an "agent" of America and India. Qari Zainuddin, leader of the Abdullah Group, was shot dead by his guard, Gulbuddin Mehsud, Police official Salahuddin told reporters. "We confirm that Qari Zainuddin is dead," he said. "We were asleep after morning prayers when Gulbuddin opened fire, killing Zainuddin on the spot," Kamal Mehsud, one of Zainuddin’s guards, said. The assailant escaped in the ensuing confusion, he added. Sources said that Misbahuddin Mehsud, Zainuddin’s younger brother, had been nominated as the new chief of the Abdullah Group. However, the group made no formal announcement in this regard.

June 24

SFs killed seven more Taliban militants in clashes in parts of the Dir and Swat Districts, while six soldiers, including two officers, were also killed. Six militants were killed in a search operation at Kota in Dir, and seven others were arrested, the ISPR said. Further, the SFs carried out a search and sweep operation at Charbagh and Mangaltan, where two officers – Major Attique and Captain Amir – and four soldiers died and three were injured. The SFs have reportedly consolidated their positions in Kabal, Akhun Kalle, Dadhrah, Khazna and Gardi.

Three Policemen, including an officer, were killed when some miscreants fired rockets and mortar shells at the Arbab Tapu check-post in the jurisdiction of Matani Police Station of provincial capital Peshawar.

Prominent Afghan Taliban commander, Maulvi Sangeen, denied reports of his death in the June 23-drone attack in South Waziristan. He called from an undisclosed location to prove he was alive. "We have nothing to do with internal fighting in Pakistan. Our job is to fight Jihad against the occupation forces in Afghanistan," said the Taliban commander. He said neither he had traveled to South Waziristan to attend the funeral nor suffered any loss. Commander Sangeen said he will soon issue a video statement to prove that he was safe. Maulvi Sangeen is affiliated with top Afghan Taliban Commander Sirajuddin Haqqani and is in-charge of Paktika province in Afghanistan.

Sources close to the Taliban commander and trainer of suicide bombers, Qari Hussain, denied his death in the drone attack on June 23. These sources claimed that Qari Hussain was far away from the place of the attack.

Police claim to have arrested at least 43 suspected terrorists from various parts of the Punjab province as part of a countrywide crackdown against militants. Officials revealed they had arrested 25 suspected Taliban militants from Islamabad, some of who were plotting attacks on foreign targets. "We have arrested 25 Taliban and recovered suicide jackets from them. Six of the men arrested had been on the most wanted list," Islamabad Police chief Kaleem Imam said. "These terrorists, who hailed from Swat and Waziristan, were planning sabotage activities in Karachi, Lahore and other big cities… Their targets mostly were law enforcement agencies, vital installations and foreign dignitaries," he added. Confirming the threat, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has claimed that one of the men arrested had told investigators he had been preparing for attacks on embassies, including the Swedish mission. The Punjab Inspector General of Police, Tariq Saleem Dogar, told a top-level meeting in Lahore that 18 terrorists and suicide bombers had been arrested from Punjab and suicide jackets recovered over the past month and a half.

Baitullah Mehsud’s deputy and spokesman Wali Rehman said his network had killed Qari Zainuddin. He disclosed to the media that the TTP chief had ordered the killing of the defecting commander. Qari Zainuddin, who was an opponent of Baitullah Mehsud, was shot dead by Gulbadin, one of his guards, at his residence in Dera Ismail Khan. "We killed Qari Zainuddin because he was involved in activities against Taliban interests in the tribal belt. His killing had been necessitated because of his dubious activity… Anybody who is found to be involved in anti-Taliban activity will face the same fate," Wali Rehman said.

57 personnel of the PAF ranging from chief technicians to officers were arrested over their alleged contacts with terrorists and involvement in anti-state activities. The arrests were reportedly made during the last one and a half to two years after conducting an inquiry. Sources disclosed that six officials were sentenced to death. Among them were Khalid Mehmood, Senior Technician Karam Din, Technician Nawazish, Niaz and Nasrullah while 24 were arrested and dismissed from service for opposing the policies of then President Pervez Musharraf. The PAF personnel, allegedly found involved in having contacts with terrorists, were given strict punishment. 26 PAF personnel were court martialled for their ‘involvement’ in terrorism. Those arrested were working in airbases including Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra, Minhas Airbase, Sargodha Airbase, Lahore Airbase, Faisal Airbase and Mianwali Airbase. Spokesperson for the PAF, Air Commodore Humayun Waqar, said action was taken against the PAF personnel according to law and arrests were made in President Musharraf’s tenure. He said no new arrests have been made adding that several cases have already been decided.

June 25

Eight Taliban militants were killed and three of their hideouts destroyed when helicopter gunships targeted parts of Orakzai Agency in FATA. Sources said gunships targeted Taliban hideouts in Atmankhel and Ferozkhel areas of Lower Orakzai Agency, killing eight militants.

Fighter jets targeted the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud’s strongholds in the Zadranga and Shagha areas of South Waziristan Agency’s Ladda sub-division, killing six Taliban militants.

June 26

20 Taliban militants were killed and 15 others wounded when Security Forces shelled TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud’s hideouts in South Waziristan. According to a private TV channel, fighter jets bombarded Taliban hideouts in the agency’s Ladha, Saam and Makeen sub-divisions.

Four persons, including three SF personnel, were killed and 24 others injured in two remote-controlled bomb attacks on a security convoy in North Waziristan Agency. Local sources said that an army convoy from Bannu in the NWFP was proceeding to Miranshah in the morning when it was targeted with a remote-controlled bomb on the Chashma Pul – around two kilometers from agency headquarters Miranshah. The attack killed three SF personnel and a pedestrian and injured 20 soldiers. The same convoy was targeted a second time as it reached Nooruk, 20 kilometers from Miranshah. The second explosion injured four SF personnel.

Police killed five suspects, believed to be linked to Baitullah Mehsud, in an encounter in Karachi and also recovered large cache of arms and explosives. The militants were killed near Al-Asif Square in Sohrab Goth. Senior Police officials said the militants were planning a terrorist strike in the city. Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar Ahmed Khan said the terrorists were in the guise of internally displaced persons and were hiding in a small quarter behind a mosque near Pioneer Garden. However, their six accomplices escaped under the cover of fire, while taking advantage of darkness. Superintendent of Police Anwar Khan said one terrorist was identified as Shahid alias Shah Hussain, a Karachi based commander of the TTP.

A Taliban suicide bomber killed two soldiers on June 26 when he blew himself up near an army vehicle in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), in the first such attack in PoK. The military said in a statement that three other soldiers were injured in the early morning bombing in Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK, and rushed to a nearby hospital. Hakimullah Mehsud, a deputy of the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, told that the assault was launched to prove that Baitullah had not been weakened by more than a week of strikes on his suspected hideouts in South Waziristan Agency. "We are in a position to respond to the army’s attacks, and time will prove that these military operations have not weakened us," Hakimullah said over telephone. A Police officer said the army installation had probably been attacked to give a message to the authorities that militants could expand their area of operation and hit security forces anywhere, including PoK. The barracks fall under the 5-AK Brigade of the Azad Kashmir (AK) Regiment which is reportedly taking part in the operation against militants in Swat and adjoining areas.

Terrorists have plans to attack the American embassy, consulates and diplomats, according to an intelligence report. Sources told Aaj Kal that the National Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry had already notified all provincial home departments of the threat. According to the intelligence report, a target has been assigned to a man named Muhammad Ayub, a resident of Quetta.

June 27

42 Taliban militants were killed and 50 others injured in the ongoing military operation at South Waziristan, Dir and Kurram Agency in FATA. SFs bombarded Taliban hideouts in the Ladha and Wana areas of South Waziristan, killing 15 Taliban militants and injuring 15 others. In Upper Dir, four Taliban militants were killed and five others were injured in a clash with a local lashkar (tribal militia) in the Ghazi Gai area. Jet aircraft bombed various areas in South Waziristan, killing 16 Taliban militants and seriously wounding 10 others. Sources said that of the 16 killed, four were foreigners, three belonged to Orakzai Agency and the rest were locals.

June 28

22 soldiers were killed and 35 others injured in two separate attacks by militants in North and South Waziristan agencies. In addition, 22 militants were also killed in the day-long military operations by SFs in the region. 20 Pakistan Army soldiers, including a senior officer, were killed and 35 others sustained injuries when dozens of militants, affiliated with Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, ambushed a military convoy in the Madakhel area of North Waziristan Agency. Further, 12 militants and two soldiers were killed in the ongoing offensive in neighbouring South Waziristan Agency. Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban in North Waziristan claimed responsibility for the attack on the military convoy and warned to continue similar attacks on the SFs in the region till the US drone strikes were not stopped. Ahmadi phoned from Miranshah and claimed 60 soldiers were killed and 15 vehicles were destroyed in the ambush. The Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas confirmed the attack and said 12 soldiers were dead and 10 others wounded. Athar Abbas told that 10 terrorists were later killed when the Pakistan Army gunship choppers targeted positions of the terrorists where they had ambushed the military convoy. Official and tribal sources said the convoy was traveling from Madakhel to Wocha Bibi area near the border with Afghanistan when ambushed by the militants.

12 militants were killed and seven others sustained injuries as jetfighters bombed suspected hideouts of the Taliban in South Waziristan. Tribal sources said gunship helicopters and jetfighters bombed militant hideouts at 10:00 am in Saam, Kacha Lungerkhel, Kuram Garhi, Ladha Serai, Tangi Budenzai, Makeen, Janata, Srarogha, Kotkai, Garhagah and suburbs of Ladha sub-division, killing 12 militants and injuring seven others. Six houses of civilians were reportedly bombed by the jetfighters in Saam area. Sources said four compounds of the militants were also targeted by the gunship helicopters in the mountainous areas of the agency.

People are reported to have started migrating from Waziristan amid shelling by the SFs towards the Tank and Dera Ismail Khan Districts in the neighbouring NWFP.

Four militants were killed and several houses were destroyed when SFs targeted militant positions in different areas of the Nawagai sub-division in Bajaur Agency. The SFs targeted militant bunkers and hideouts in the Charmang, Hasham, Cheenar, Babara and Manogai areas with mortar and artillery guns.

Chief of the Hindu community in the Battagram city of Battagram District said that the Taliban had threatened them to pay Jazia (tax) or accept Islam. "It depends on you to choose between Jazia and Islam otherwise you would face abduction and suicide attacks," Dr Oam Parkash quoted the Taliban as saying. He said that so far he had received two calls during the last two days: first by a Taliban commander and then by a militant. "They demanded Rs6 million from me," the Hindu leader added. The Taliban is reported to have threatened that "if you or any other member of your community were kidnapped then we will not release the kidnapped person even after payment of Rs10 million as ransom". Parkash said that he had made clear to both callers that the Hindus in the region were not in a position to pay such a huge amount. Parkash said that 15 Hindu families were living in Battagram but none of them had enmity with anyone in the District. "The government should take precautionary measures to protect the Hindu community as the Taliban have threatened even to target our place of worship in Battagram," he added.

June 29

Four Taliban militants were killed as jet aircraft bombed suspected Taliban hideouts in South Waziristan Agency. The aerial attacks hit a guesthouse used by the Taliban at Kani Guram village, killing four militants.

Four soldiers who had been injured in a Taliban attack on their convoy in North Waziristan have died in a military hospital, the Inter-Services Public Relations chief Major General Athar Abbas said in a press conference. The number of troops who died in the attack has now reached 16, including Lieutenant Colonel Tahir, Captain Abid and Lieutenant Zeeshan. However, some other reports stated that the death toll has reached 30.

21 Taliban militants were killed in overnight clashes with an anti-Taliban militia in Kurram Agency, tribal elder Ali Akbar Toori and lawmaker Sajid Toori said. Four militiamen were also killed.

SFs claimed to have killed at least 13 suspected militants in attacks on their hideouts at Bazaar Zakhakhel area of Landikotal in the Khyber Agency, while seven members of a family were killed and four others injured when an artillery shell struck a Hujra (guesthouse) in the Sra Shaga area of Jamrud sub-division.

SFs shelled the suspected militant hideouts in Kobikhel area of Bazaar Zakhakhel. At least 13 militants were killed and few others were injured, the FC sources claimed but without giving the names of the slain militants. However, the villagers at Kobikhel denied the presence of militants in the area and said that all the slain persons were local residents.

Acting on a tip-off, the SFs shelled suspected hideouts of militants in the mountainous Chora area with artillery from the Forte Slope Camp in Bara sub-division. One of the shells hit the house of Aqal Jan in Sra Shaga area, killing seven persons, including three children, and injuring four others of his family.

SFs claimed to have killed eight militants in the Khwazakhela area of Swat District. An ISPR statement said the SFs raided a compound in Khwazakhela, killing eight militants. Weapons and explosive devices were also recovered in the raid, it added. In addition, sources said SFs commenced search and clearance operations from Shalkosar to Jukhtai and Balasur to Shah Dherai, arresting an alleged militant, Muhammad Raheem, near Shangla.

Previously known as pro-government militants, the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) formally scrapped the peace deal with the Government in, what they termed, protest against the US drone attacks. Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led militants, called from Miranshah, headquarters of NWA, and said their Shura (executive council) members had decided in a meeting to scrap the peace accord. Hafiz Gul Bahadur has said he had scrapped the peace accord in protest against the frequent US drone attacks in NWA. He claimed that the drones had carried over 50 attacks since signing of the peace accord in NWA in which hundreds of people, including women and children, had lost their lives. The Taliban commander has also reportedly demanded an end to the military operation against the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants and drone attacks in the adjoining South Waziristan Agency.

The death toll in the June 28-attack on a military convoy in NWA rose to 30, as 10 more seriously wounded soldiers succumbed to their injuries. The slain troops included a colonel, a captain and a lieutenant.

Police in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) has revealed that groups like the LeT and JeM are shifting bases to PoK following a clampdown on their activities in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26, 2008. In a confidential report submitted to the Government of Pakistan, the PoK Police has said these groups have acquired large pieces of land in and around PoK capital of Muzaffarabad and are pursuing a "jehadi" agenda under the garb of religious activities. "After the ban imposed on the JuD, the front of LeT by the UNSC, Pakistan forces had taken control of their offices... The activities of the outfit had gone underground for some months, but have again become active," the BBC quoted the report as saying. The report said that the JuD has constructed a mosque, a school and a dispensary on the land acquired by them in Dulasi and further construction is on. The PoK Police report also mentions the activities of other jihadi groups like the JeM and HuM which have also constructed madrassas (seminaries) near Muzaffarabad. The JeM has also set up an office and seminary near Muzaffarabad. Police has noted that most of the activities of the militant groups have been observed in Neelam Valley, near the Line of Control. Extremist organisations have also reportedly set up offices in Kandil Shahi.

June 30

SF stated that Taliban militants in the Biha Valley of Swat District had slaughtered 18 of their own injured comrades, as they could not be moved out along with the retreating militants. "It has been reliably learnt that during the clearance of Biha Valley, 18 wounded terrorists, who could not be taken to safety, were slaughtered by their own people on orders of their commanders," an ISPR statement said.

The SFs killed 16 militants and arrested 23 others in Swat while three soldiers died and eight others, including three officers, were injured.

Two Afghan border guards, four women and two children were killed when a suicide bomber struck a security post close to the town of Torkham on the Afghan side of the border. The suicide bomber - reportedly disguised as a woman - blew himself up while being searched at a Pakistan-Afghanistan check-post. The bomber had crossed into Afghanistan from the Pakistani side of the border. According to officials, the suicide bomber dressed as a woman blew himself up inside a room used by female security guards to search women going to Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Seven suspected militants were killed as jets continued to shell their positions in North Waziristan. However, it could not be verified whether the dead were militants or non-combatants. Local people and sources said that planes had bombed militants' hideouts in Wacha Bibi area, west of Miranshah, where terrorists had ambushed a military convoy and killed 27 soldiers on June 28. Ten militants were killed when troops returned fire.

In the first-ever suicide attack in a Baloch-populated area of Balochistan, at least four people were killed and 11 wounded when a bomber targeted a hotel in Kalat. The attack in Kalat District appeared to be aimed at disrupting supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan. The bomber detonated his explosives inside a hotel in the Sorab area of the District, 250 kilometers southeast of provincial capital Quetta. Most of the victims were reportedly Baloch tribesmen. Witnesses said the suicide bomber, dressed in white traditional clothes, parked his explosives-laden vehicle outside the hotel on the Quetta-Karachi RCD Highway, and then went into the hotel. When he blew himself up, the ensuing blast also served as a detonator for the explosives in the parked vehicle.

The PoK Police have stated that the banned JuD, LeT front is expanding its operations and recruitment in the region. A confidential report submitted to the Pakistan Government has revealed that the group had purchased 65 kanals of land in the Dulai area of Muzaffarabad, the PoK capital, to construct a mosque, a school and a dispensary, a private TV channel reported. The PoK Inspector General of Police Javed Iqbal told the channel his force was closely monitoring the group's activities. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, however, denied that banned Pakistani groups were expanding their activities. "No such report has come before the government claiming these organisations have revived their activities," he told. However, he added, it was a different matter if it was submitted by an intelligence agency.

July 1

A tribal Lashkar (militia) attacked Taliban hideouts in the Kurram Agency, killing 28 militants and suffering seven fatalities themselves, and the intensifying battles prompted them to ask for Army troops to help, a local lawmaker said. The fighting in the remote Kurram region was the latest in two weeks of battles between militants and tribesmen there that have killed 141 people, including more than 100 militants, two Government officials said. Their information could not, however, be independently verified.

14 persons were killed and 26 others injured in clashes between rival groups in Kurram Agency. Later, the elders of Upper and Lower Kurram succeeded in brokering a cease-fire after hectic efforts, sources said. Similarly, the rival tribes - Mastokhel, Hamzakhel, Ghundikhel, Alizai, and Shia Bangash of the Turi tribe and Parachamkani Masozai, Ali Sherzai, Zehmasht, Mangal and Sunni Bangash - were still at war with one another in Balishkhel, Sangeena, Khar Killay, Sadda city, Mingak, Makhzai and Tangai areas of Lower Kurram.

At least 28 militants, including an unidentified commander, were killed when gunship helicopters targeted the hideouts of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency. Sources said that three gunship helicopters targeted the hideouts of the Mangal Bagh-led group in Sandapal and Akakhel areas of Tirah Valley. An official of the Frontier Corps (FC), Major Fazal, claimed that 28 militants were killed in the action and among them was a commander. However, talking to The News from an undisclosed location, Lashkar-e-Islam spokesman Zar Khan denied any losses to his group. Tribal sources said the murder of Malik Guli Shah, a pro-government tribal elder in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, was the immediate reason for the military action. Suspected Taliban militants had killed a pro-government tribal leader, his driver and two gunmen while they were on their way to Peshawar, the NWFP capital. The vehicle of Malik Guli Shah was ambushed on the main highway near Tedi Bazaar in Jamrud. The driver and one of the gunmen were shot and killed immediately, while Guli Shah and the other gunman died at a Peshawar hospital.

The Pakistan Army ruled out launching a military operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan and pledged to honour the February 17, 2008 peace accord signed with the tribes despite the unprovoked attacks against its troops. However, violence continued in the area as three persons, including two women and a child, were killed and six others sustained injuries when military helicopters targeted Madakhel village.

SFs said that they had killed five Taliban militants in a clash in the Bannu District. "The Taliban ... raided a checkpost near Hindi Khel in Bannu ... one soldier was killed and six injured, while five Taliban were also killed," said the ISPR, adding that a militia in Dir District had taken control of over half of Shatkas village. The SFs also reportedly cleared Shah Dheri in the Swat District, the ISPR stated.

Police claimed to have foiled a sabotage attempt and defused three explosive devices planted in a car while one of the militants riding the vehicle blew himself up in provincial capital Peshawar. Suspected militants were reportedly riding an explosive-laden car and when signaled by the Police to stop on the Kohat road, they lobbed two hand-grenades on the Police that didn't explode. Senior Superintendent of Police Qazi Jamilur Rehman said the car with around five militants was coming from Darra Adamkhel and armed with automatic weapons they exchanged fire with the Police. "As the police encircled one of them near Mashokhel Mera, he blew himself up," he said. The others, however, managed to escape.

The United States imposed sanctions on an Al Qaeda backer and three leaders of the LeT, believed to be behind the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008. The US Treasury said it was imposing an assets freeze on the four, identified as Fazeelattul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari, Arif Qasmani, Mohammed Yahya Mujahid and Nasir Javaid. Ameen Al-Peshawari allegedly provided assistance, including funding and recruits, to Al Qaeda and the Taliban currently fighting to regain control of Afghanistan. Qasmani is said to be the chief coordinator for the LeT and Mujahid was the head of the group's media department. Javaid had allegedly served Lashkar's commander in Pakistan. The Treasury said its action came two days after Al-Peshawari, Qasmani and Mujahid were added to a UN blacklist of individuals.

Militancy in the FATA has cost Pakistan around $2,146 million while the fighting has so far killed over 3,000 civilians, a Government report said. The report - "Cost of Conflict in FATA" - prepared by the Planning and Development Wing of the FATA Secretariat said the social cost of the militancy was far greater than the cost of infrastructure, economic and the subsequent environmental loss. However, it said the cost of the military operation "is beyond the scope of this report and would be worked out separately by the concerned agencies". The report put the social cost of the conflict at $1,109 million, the cost to security and internal displacement at $572 million, the environmental cost at $188 million, the economic cost at $119 million and infrastructure losses at $103 million. "Pakistan is suffering a series of overlapping crises due to the conflict in FATA... and is need of immediate humanitarian assistance," the report said.

Claiming that the militants' network in Malakand Division had been dismantled, the NWFP Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain said in provincial capital Peshawar that reports about injuries suffered by the Swat Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah were yet to be confirmed. "The militants have either gone into hiding or run away from their strongholds in Swat, Buner and Dir Lower where security forces have expedited their offensive against them," he said while briefing the media. The minister also said the Government had information about the serious injuries sustained by Maulana Fazlullah and his spokesman a week ago but there was no solid evidence of his whereabouts and health condition. "Interior Minister Rehman Malik may have confirmed the report when he made a claim about serious injuries suffered by Fazlullah," Mian Iftikhar said.

July 2

SFs said they had killed 23 Taliban militants in various areas of Swat District over the last 24 hours. "The security forces consolidated their positions around Shah Dheri, where 17 Taliban were killed in a clash," said the ISPR in its latest update. Five more militants were killed during a search operation in Kanju.

36 persons were injured when a young suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a bus carrying employees of the Army-run Heavy Mechanical Complex at the Peshawar Road near Chur Chowk in Rawalpindi. The suicide bomber was the only reported fatality. Initially, the death toll had been given as six but it was revised to one killed (the bomber himself) by the security agencies. The Additional Inspector General of Police, Nasir Khan Durrani, confirmed that it was a suicide attack, saying that body parts of the suicide bomber and other evidence had been collected. Eight vehicles, standing around the targeted bus, were completely destroyed while the windowpanes of buildings and shops in a radius of over half-a-kilometer were damaged. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

After the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led militants in North Waziristan, another pro-government militant commander, Mulla Nazeer, also scrapped his peace deal with the Government in South Waziristan Agency. A senior associate of Mulla Nazeer, Saada Janan, called from Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan, and claimed their Shura or council unanimously decided to scrap the peace accord with the Government to protest the frequent US drone attacks in their territory. Asked about a similar stance already taken by Taliban commander in North Waziristan, Hafiz Gul Bahadur over US drone attacks, where drones did not fire missiles during the past two months, Saada Janan opined that all the three Taliban commanders - Baitullah Mehsud, Mulla Nazeer and Hafiz Gul Bahadur - in February 2009 had formed the Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahideen or council of holly warriors, in which he claimed, all of them promised to fight alongside if anyone of them was attacked.

July 3

13 persons were killed and seven others sustained injuries in a US drone attack in South Waziristan Agency. Tribal sources said a US drone fired three missiles at the office of Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud in Serwakai sub-division at 9 am, killing 13 persons present in the office and injuring seven others. Another drone attack was carried out in the Mantoi area of Ladha sub-division, where three missiles were fired at a madrassa (seminary), completely destroying the building. However, no loss of life was reported in the attack. An official of the political administration confirmed the drone strikes and added that authorities were trying to ascertain the casualties.

An AP report stated that US missiles struck a training facility operated by Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and a militant communication centre in South Waziristan Agency, killing 17 people and injuring 27 others. In one attack, two missiles struck an abandoned seminary in Mantoi that was being used by the militants belonging to the Mehsud's group for training, officials said. In another strike, a missile hit a militant communications centre in the nearby village of Kokat Khel. In total, 17 people were killed and 27 others were injured, they said. However, Maulvi Noor Syed, an aide to Mehsud, told The Associated Press that three Taliban militants died in the strikes. "We lost only three Mujahideen in today's American missile attack," Syed said, adding "These attacks cannot cause any damage to us."

Eight persons were killed and 12 others wounded when fighter planes targeted a hotel in Deegan Bazaar, 25 kilometers from Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency. Sources said people were having breakfast at the hotel when two fighter planes struck at 7:30 am, killing eight persons and injuring 12 others. A gunship helicopter targeted another hotel in Manzarkhel area, 25 kilometers from Miranshah. No casualty was reported in the attack.

The internal threats endangering the country's existence require immediate attention, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani said. "While external threats continue to exist, it is the internal threat to Pakistan that needs immediate attention," the COAS said while addressing the 91st Officers Commissioning Parade at the Pakistan Naval Academy.

July 4

Fighter planes and gunship helicopters heavily targeted suspected positions of militants in the Taliban-controlled Orakzai Agency in the FATA, killing 26 militants a day after a military helicopter crashed in the area. Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas confirmed the bombing and said the action was taken as a reaction to the attack of militants on SFs and a rescue team on July 3. He said the militants opened fire on the SF personnel and rescue team when they went there to retrieve bodies of the soldiers killed in the helicopter crash. Tribal sources said six gunship helicopters heavily bombed various parts of Ferozkhel area in lower Orakzai soon after the helicopter crash. The sources said two warplanes and six gunship helicopters resumed bombing of suspected hideouts of the militants at the hilltops of Chappar and Ferozkhel, located between lower Orakzai and Khyber Agency.

15 men of an armed tribal Lashkar (militia) and three militants were killed when fierce clashes erupted in the Fam Pokha and Kharai Darra areas of Ambar sub-division in Mohmand Agency. Sources said the militants attacked the armed men of the tribal Lashkar of Utmankhel tribe in Fam Pokha area, killing 15 people on the spot. However, official sources put the death toll at 12. Further, the sources said three militants were killed and seven others sustained injuries in the pre-dawn clashes in Fam Pokha and Kharai Darra areas. The slain militants reportedly belonged to Dawezai area of Mohmand Agency.

July 5

Ten militants were killed in shelling by the SFs in the Mangaltan area of Charbagh sub-division in Swat District, the military said. "Gunship helicopters shelled the militant hideouts in Mangaltan area of Charbagh town. At least, 10 militants were killed in the shelling," Major Nasir Khan, a military spokesman in Mingora, said. Nasir said the air attacks occurred after fresh reports of the militants' movement in the area.

SFs said that three soldiers were killed and six others wounded while a few terrorists were arrested in the Malakand Division. According to the Inter-Public Services Relations, SFs raided the house of a terrorist in Mohalla Nehrabad in Kuza Banda and recovered one Suzuki pick up, one small machine gun, two magazines, one pistol and 175 rounds of miscellaneous caliber. During an exchange of fire with the militants near Bari Kot, three soldiers were killed and four others injured.

Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told that the military had killed a commander loyal to the TTP Swat unit chief Maulana Fazlullah on the outskirts of Mingora. "Ehsan alias Abu Jandal, was killed two days earlier in Qambar area. He was a mid-level commander," Athar said.

Seven persons were killed and 12 others sustained injuries when missiles fired by jet fighters missed their targets, hitting the civilian areas in Dattakhel in North Waziristan Agency.

Three imprisoned militants were killed and two civilians sustained injuries when militants fired several rockets at the Bajaur Scouts Fort in Khar, headquarters of the Bajaur Agency. Sources said that the militants fired rockets on Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar from a hilltop in Kohi Mor area and one of the rockets struck the building of quarter guard, killing three militants. The other rocket landed in the ground of the fort compound, causing no casualty. Two more rockets fired by the militants landed near the civilian population injuring two persons.

A UK-based fundamentalist group has hatched a plot to overthrow Pakistan's Government through a "bloodless coup" and establish a "caliphate" in which Islamic laws will be rigorously enforced, a media report said. Followers of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Pakistan, aim for a "bloodless military coup" and creation of the caliphate in Islamabad. Members of the group, which describes itself as "the Liberation Party in Britain", claim they had targeted the UK as a base from which to spread Islamic rule across the world. The report said a dozen British Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists are currently based in Lahore and Karachi, or keep traveling between the UK and Pakistan, and there are many more.

July 6

SFs killed 14 Taliban militants in the Tiligram area of Swat District. According to the ISPR, "Security forces killed 14 terrorists during an exchange of fire in Tiligram. A huge quantity of ammunition and explosives, four IEDs, one 14.5 gun barrel and 26 detonators were also recovered." The SFs, it added, during a search operation in Banjut area recovered 50 mules, loaded with arms and ammunition, medicines and ration items and arrested an unspecified number of terrorists. In the Dir Lower District, SFs confiscated 2,156 rounds of small machine gun, 9,728 rounds of light machine gun, seven hand grenades and eight magazines of small machine gun from a vehicle at the Kharkanai Chowk.

The NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti who visited the Swat Valley said the militants would not be allowed to regroup in the area and they would be defeated. The Chief Minister, who also visited Buner District, announced doubling the strength of Police force in Swat and Buner. He said the number of Police stations would also be increased.

Five persons, including a prayer leader and two brothers, were killed in separate incidents of sectarian violence in Dera Ismail Khan. A private TV channel reported that unidentified people shot dead a Shia rickshaw driver in Gali Bagh Wali. He was identified as Bakht Wadha, a resident of Dinpur village. Meanwhile, two Shia brothers were killed when unidentified men on a motorbike fired at them. Police said the brothers, identified as Azmat Ali and Muhammad Ali, were at their shop on Grid Station Road. Further, two people, including a prayer leader, Amanullah, were killed when unidentified men opened fire on four people sitting at a shop near Wanda Mouchian Wala area. The channel also said traders shut down their businesses in the city following the incidents.

Seven militants were killed and several others injured when jets shelled militant hideouts in North Waziristan. Officials and local people said the jets had attacked militants’ positions in Wuchabibi and Madahkel areas of Dattakhel sub-division, at about 3:30pm. "Seven militants were killed and 12 injured when jet fighter planes pounded Taliban hideouts at Madda Khel and Wuchabibi," an official based in agency’s main town Miranshah said.

SFs intensified attacks on the Taliban in Bajaur Agency, killing four militants and injuring six others in the region’s Charmang sub-division. The SFs also reportedly destroyed numerous Taliban hideouts in Charmang, defused several remote-controlled bombs, arrested 15 suspects and recovered missiles from their possession.

President Asif Ali Zardari has stated that the military will turn its guns on extremist groups it formerly supported as proxy forces in its battles with India, according to The News. Zardari said in an interview that operations would in the future target the figures who were the military’s "strategic assets". "I don’t think anybody in the establishment supports them any more… I think everybody has become wiser than this," he said. "Military operations are all across the board against any insurgent, whether in Karachi, Lahore or whether he is in any part of Pakistan," said Zardari. The President is reported to have said "My problem is terror. I have focused myself on terror. The PPP has focused itself against the extremist mindset. Terror is a regional problem, it cuts across borders… I would love to be remembered for creating a Pakistan where militancy — I know it can’t totally be diminished — is defeated."

July 7

A suspected US drone fired two missiles at a militant training centre in the Laddha subdivision of South Waziristan Agency, killing 16 militants and injuring 10 others. Five foreigners were among the dead, security officials said. The camp allegedly run by militants loyal to Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was in Chenakai area of the Shabikhels, a sub clan of Mehsud tribe. There was no report if any high-value target had been hit in the attack carried out at about 10am. Sources said that a local commander of Baitullah was among the dead. The missile strike destroyed a compound which a high-ranking official described as a former office of Baitullah Mehsud, who has a five-million-dollar price on his head and a bounty of $615,000 in Pakistan for allegedly masterminding multiple bombings.

Helicopter gunships targeted militants’ hideouts in the Datakhel area of North Waziristan Agency, killing four militants.

SFs said that they had killed four Taliban militants and arrested 34 of them from various areas of Swat and Bannu Districts. The ISPR said that Taliban commander Muhammad Rasool was among the dead in Shukdara. Further, a local Taliban commander, identified Wahab, was killed and 14 other suspected Taliban militants arrested in a house-to-house search operation in Bararai near Khawazakhela. The forces also conducted search operation in Bannu’s Maddi area, killing a militant in a clash and arresting seven others.

The federal and Punjab Governments filed identical petitions in the Supreme Court challenging a Lahore High Court decision, releasing Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, chief of the banned JuD (the LeT front). Deputy Attorney General Shah Khawar and Punjab Advocate General Muhammad Raza Farooq filed the petitions on behalf of their respective Governments. The petitions request the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of ending the detention of Saeed and Col (r) Nazir Ahmad.

July 8

48 militants were killed and several others injured in two separate attacks by US drones in the South Waziristan Agency. However, some reports quoting officials of law-enforcement agencies and political administration put the death toll in the two attacks at 58. According to sources, besides the tribal militants, the dead also included four Arabs and seven Uzbeks. "Almost 90 per cent of the militants traveling in the convoy were killed in the drone attack," said an unnamed security official. Sources close to the militants said a convoy of pick-ups was carrying militants from Ladha to Srarogha for a meeting of militant commanders when it was attacked. They said three drones were flying over the region during the attack. The drones reportedly fired seven missiles and destroyed all the five vehicles on the spot, killing at least 40 militants. Earlier, sources from South Waziristan said eight militants were killed and 12 others injured in the first drone attack at a training camp of the militants at Karwan Manza village of Ladha Subdivision. They said two US drones were seen flying over the area during the attack. The sources said the building was being used for training the newly-recruited militants. Senior commander of the Baitullah Mehsud group, Noor Wali Mehsud, was reportedly running the camp. He, however, remained safe. The drones fired six missiles at the camp that razed it to the ground. The Taliban while confirming the drone attack at the training camp, however, denied losses to their men.

A suicide bomber died on the outskirts of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP, when explosives hidden in a mango cart went off before he could reach the intended target – possibly the NWFP Assembly speaker, according to witnesses and Police. "The bomber is the only person who died," senior Police officer Ghulam Muhammad told reporters after the incident in Malkhandher on Nasir Bagh Road. Unconfirmed reports indicated that five people had been injured. Witnesses said that a teenager, aged around 16 years, was waiting near a bridge when his explosives went off. One eye-witness said the explosives had been hidden under mangoes to dodge the troops. Bomb disposal squad chief Tanveer said the explosives weighed around 20 kilograms and "pieces of a suicide jacket" had been found. Police believe the bomber’s original target was the NWFP Assembly Speaker Karamatullah Chagarmati, who was using the Nasir Bagh Road en route to a funeral.

The military operation in Swat and adjoining Districts is "complete" and various areas of Malakand Division have been taken back from the Taliban, but the army will stay on in the valley to conduct search-and-destroy operations wherever required, said the NWFP Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. Addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad, Kaira said, "The Swat operation has been successfully completed, and the government will announce a schedule for the phased return of IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] within the next two days." Abbas said Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani had presided over a high-level meeting at the General Headquarters to discuss a host of issues related to the operation.

The army said the Taliban’s command-and-control structures, logistics and training infrastructure had been either destroyed or disrupted. They also said that a large number of Taliban leaders had been killed or arrested. The meeting did not rule out isolated incidents of terrorism in the area. "The army will, therefore, stay in Swat," it said. The military spokesman confirmed that Swat Taliban unit chief Maulana Fazlullah was seriously injured and another militant leader, Abu Jandal, had been killed. He said Taliban leader Shah Dauran was also reported to have been killed. Replying to a question, Abbas said most of the terrorist commanders and leaders were in the Swat valley and only a few of them had moved out. However, there was no possibility of the militants regrouping and operating in the valley, he added.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the Al Qaeda leadership resides in the FATA of Pakistan and the United States is determined to defeat them. "The top priority, with respect to that strategy, is to defeat al Qaida, whose leadership resides in the FATA - in the federal areas, the tribal areas - in Western Pakistan," Mullen said in his remarks at a luncheon held at the National Press Club in Washington. Referring to the recent developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mullen said things are now moving in the right direction and the United States now needs to remain engaged in both the countries. "A year ago, not many people would have said that the Pakistani military could pull that (Swat) off, and yet they have made an awful lot of progress," he said.

South Waziristan Agency’s political administration has asked residents of the areas where a military operation is underway to shift to safer places. The channel said tribes residing in Ziarat Ray, Toormandi, Sevay and Madi Jan had been directed to shift to safer areas, such as Tank and Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP, within 48 hours.

Intelligence agencies have warned the Government that the Taliban may attempt to hijack commercial airliners, a private TV channel quoted an intelligence report. The agencies suggested fundamental changes in the security procedures for commercial airliners to avert the risk of hijacking. According to the report, detained Taliban militants have disclosed that the Taliban frequently use commercial airlines to travel.

Pakistan has, for the first time, acknowledged at the highest level that militant groups were created and nurtured by it for "tactical" objectives. Speaking to retired civil servants, who met him to discuss national issues, President Asif Ali Zardari said militants and extremists had been "deliberately created and nurtured" as a policy for "short-term tactical objectives." According to him, "Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralized but because they were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term tactical objectives. Let's be truthful and make a candid admission of the reality". "The terrorists of today were heroes of yesteryear until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well," Zardari said emphasising that Pakistan cannot be left alone at this stage of the war on terror.

July 9

39 militants were killed when military planes bombed Taliban hideouts in the Orakzai Agency. According to unconfirmed reports, about 14 camps of the militants were destroyed in the Starsam, Drogai and Behram Garh areas of Chappri Feroze Khel in the lower and Ghiljo in upper Orakzai agency. Independent sources confirmed that 39 militants had been killed and eight injured in the strikes. Muhammad, a spokesman for the Darra Adamkhel-based Taliban commander Tariq Afridi, admitted that 18 of their fighters, including a senior ‘commander’, were killed in the air strikes on their hideouts in Qasimkhel village of Ferozkhel town in Orakzai Agency. Tribal sources told that two fighter planes and three gunship helicopters targeted suspected positions of the militants in Qasimkhel, Behram Garhi, Toi Mela and the mountains between Orakzai and Khyber tribal regions. Further, a woman and her child were killed when a house owned by local tribesman Ghuncha Gul came under strikes by the planes.

12 militants were killed when Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter planes targeted their suspected hideouts in South Waziristan Agency. The jets pounded suspected Taliban hideouts in four villages in Ladha and Kani Guram areas, according to four unnamed intelligence officials. Two of the officials said 12 bodies of militants were recovered from destroyed houses where they were staying. The other officials confirmed the bombing, but had no details of casualties. However, independent verification of the targets and casualties was not possible because the region is remote and largely inaccessible to journalists.

SFs claimed to have killed three militants and injured five others in the ongoing operations in various areas of Bajaur Agency. Sources said the SFs targeted suspected locations of the militants in Charmang area of Nawagai sub-division with artillery and mortars. The sources said three militants were killed and five others sustained injuries while several suspected hideouts of militants were destroyed in the shelling.

At least five Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were killed and 14 other people sustained injuries in a series of bomb and landmine blasts in Dera Bugti, Sibi and Quetta. Sources said a landmine planted in the Marwar area of Dera Bugti District exploded, hitting a Frontier Corps vehicle. Five FC personnel were killed and three injured in the incident. "It was an anti-tank mine which destroyed the FC vehicle," said official sources. Nine persons were wounded when a bomb exploded in Sibi Bazaar, some 160 kilometers east of provincial capital Quetta. Official sources said the bomb had been planted in a shop on Liaquat Road. It exploded after the owner had closed the shop, injuring nine passersby. A bomb fixed to a bicycle parked in front of a Police Station exploded when it was being defused by the Police personnel. One man was injured in this incident.

The SFs arrested 157 suspected militants and demolished over 35 houses in the limits of Safi sub-division of Mohmand Agency and Darra Adamkhel in NWFP, in separate operations. Sources said that SFs along with the political administration carried out a search operation in Karer, Palosai, Ghari and Darwazgai areas of Qandaharo in Safi. Over 150 militants were arrested during the operation while houses of 35 others were razed to the ground.

July 10

Ten militants and six SF personnel were killed in various areas of Bajaur Agency. Sources said the SFs targeted hideouts of the militants with heavy artillery and gunship helicopters in the Charmang, Chinar and Manogai areas, killing 10 militants. Several hideouts of the militants were destroyed in the operations. The sources added that two soldiers were killed and five others sustained injuries in the clashes.

Four Levies troopers were killed when unidentified militants attacked a check-post in Khar, the Bajaur Agency headquarters. Sources said the militants attacked the Bajaur Levies post with rockets and hand-grenades at 2:00 am, killing four paramilitary soldiers, Masood Jan, Rahatullah, Abdul Ghaffar and Muhammad Ishaq Jan.

Two suspected US missile strikes hit South Waziristan, killing at least eight Taliban militants. The first strike targeted one of TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud’s communication centres, killing at least three people, intelligence officials said. Two missiles struck the centre in the Painda Khel region, they told. Separately, quoting a private TV channel report, the Online news agency claimed at least five militants were killed in a drone attack in the Tiyarza area. It claimed the drone fired two missiles at the TTP hideouts.

Ten Taliban militants were killed during a clash with the SFs in the Zhob District of Balochistan. Quoting official sources, a private TV channel said the militants had been killed in retaliation after they attacked a security check-post in the Sambaza area of Zhob. Local administration and security officials told the APP news agency that an unknown number of Taliban militants had killed one SF official, Hazrat Mir, and wounded two others during the attack on the check-post.

SFs killed three militants and destroyed seven tunnels and eight hideouts during a search and clearance operation in parts of the Swat District, the ISPR said. The tunnels and the hideouts of the militants, according to the ISPR, were destroyed in Badar and Sar Colony areas of the valley.

July 11

Three security officials were killed and another six injured in a remote-controlled bombing in the Kohat District. The bombing targeted an army vehicle passing through the Pirwala Khel area.

Three Taliban militants were killed and several others injured during a military operation in the Bajaur Agency. The SFs attacked the Chinar, Kohi Manogai, Karkanai and Zirat areas in Charmang Valley with artillery, killing the three Taliban militants.

July 12

12 militants were killed in shelling by fighter planes on suspected hideouts of the Taliban in Sarwakai sub-division of South Waziristan Agency. Sources said the fighter planes targeted the compounds and hideouts of the militants in Parwand and Novely Khan Serai areas in Sarwakai. Unconfirmed reports said 12 militants were killed in the operation. A military statement said one soldier also died in an exchange of fire with the militants in South Waziristan.

SFs claimed to have killed five foreign militants in the Maidan revenue division of Lower Dir District in the NWFP. Official sources told that the SFs fired mortar shells on a vehicle carrying militants, killing five of them. The militants were reportedly foreigners and local people did not know them. They said that bodies of the militants were later taken away by other militants.

The militants killed three workers of the ruling ANP in the Pir Baba area of Buner District. Sources said the militants attacked Malik Pur village in Pir Baba and killed three ANP activists, identified as Shamsher Ali Khan, Gohar Ali Khan and Usman Ali Khan. The militants have been holding Jamil Ali Khan, brother of Gohar Ali, as hostage for the last one month and have demanded PKR 10 million as ransom.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said Osama bin Laden and the top Al Qaeda leadership are not in Pakistan, making US missile attacks against them futile. "If Osama was in Pakistan we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months… If he and all these four or five top people were in our area, they would have been caught, the way we are searching," Rehman Malik told. He added: "According to our information, Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar."

July 13

11 persons, including six children, were killed in a blast in a seminary in a village on the outskirts of Mian Channu near Multan city in Punjab province. The explosion, which occurred at 9:05am, also damaged around 30 houses. The blast was apparently caused by a huge amount of explosives stored in the house of a cleric. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the cleric, variously identified as Hafiz Riaz or Master Riaz, and two other men who were in the house at the time, were arrested from a hospital where they were admitted for injuries sustained in the explosion. Police said they suspected Master Riaz of storing the explosives for "terrorism" purposes. Children of the village attended Koran classes at the house and a number of them were inside at the time of the explosion. Khanewal District Police Officer Kamran Khan told the media that two suicide jackets, detonators, six rocket launchers and some Jihadi literature were recovered from the incident site. Sources said Master Riaz was member of a proscribed outfit and had participated in the Afghan war for eight years.

Eight militants were killed and three others injured in a clash with a militia in the Mohmand Agency. Two militants were reportedly captured. Assistant Political Agent Rasool Khan said the clash had taken place in the Anbar valley. One tribesman was injured in these clashes.

Six suspected militants affiliated with the Maulvi Nazeer-led Taliban were killed and 10 others injured in an exchange of gunfire after an attack by the militants on a roadside security post at Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan Agency. Officials and tribal sources said a group of the militants attacked Sur Pul check-post near Rustam Adda at 7am with heavy weapons. The paramilitary FC personnel returned the fire, killing six militants and injuring 10 others. According to the sources, the militants took away three bodies of their slain accomplices along with them and left behind three others.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in Islamabad that top militant commanders have been killed during the military operation in Waziristan while the TTP chief in Swat valley, Maulana Fazlullah, was seriously injured.

SFs arrested 13 Al Qaeda terrorists – en route to Punjab via bus – from Dera Murad Jamali in Balochistan.

A German court jailed for eight years a German man of Pakistani origin for helping to fund and supply Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s NWFP. The 47-year-old, identified only as Aleem N., was arrested in February 2008 and charged with giving 27,000 euros (38,000 dollars) as well as materials, including night-vision equipment, to the group. The court in Koblenz found him guilty of belonging to a foreign terrorist organisation receiving explosives training at an extremist camp and of helping recruit volunteers to go to Pakistan.

July 14

23 militants were killed during clashes between a tribal militia and militants in the Ziaray Kandao area of Anbar sub-division in the Mohmand Agency. Four members of the militia were injured, sources said. However, official sources said only 18 militants were killed in the gunfight which continued for several hours. They said militants also destroyed five houses of the militia identified as Subedar Major Pasham Gul, Sultan, Zahir Shah, Baghdad Shah and Rozi Shah. Three volunteers of the tribal force were reported missing after the clashes.

SFs and political administration in a joint operation arrested 89 tribesmen and seized two vehicles under the collective responsibility clause of the Frontier Crimes Regulation in the Mullakhel and Akram Baig areas in Qandharo sub-division.

Two persons were killed and three others injured when militants attacked an oil tanker in the Chingai area of Landikotal subdivision in the Khyber Agency. Sources said an oil tanker loaded with 50000 litres of GP1 petrol was en route to Afghanistan via Torkham highway when the militants from the nearby mountains attacked it with rockets and other automatic weapons.

In the Swat Valley, SFs killed nine militants and arrested several others during search and clearance operations. According to an ISPR update, SFs conducted a search operation at Kuza Bandai and during the consequent encounter five militants were killed while four others were killed during clashes between the two sides at Tahirabad and Billogram.

The Government of Punjab disassociated itself from a case challenging the Lahore High Court order that released the JuD (the LeT front) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, as it filed an application with the Supreme Court (SC) to withdraw its petition that challenged the release. Appearing on notice, the Punjab Advocate General (AG) Raza Farooq informed the SC that the Punjab Government had decided to withdraw its petition against Saeed’s release, as it had insufficient evidence against him and his aide, Col (r) Nazir Ahmed. Appearing on the behalf of the federal Government, Deputy AG Shah Khawar requested the court for additional time to seek the Centre’s instructions on the issue. Accepting the request, the court reportedly adjourned the hearing until July 16.

July 15

SFs claimed to have killed the most wanted terrorist leader Abu Laith and 13 other Taliban militants, including two foreigners, during the ongoing military operation in Swat valley amid the arrival of displaced people. According to the ISPR, the SFs conducted a search operation in Peuchar and killed Abu Laith, a Swat Taliban commander in Peuchar, their former headquarters. "The security forces carried out search operation in Akhund Killay near Kabal and killed eight militants, including two foreigners. One soldier embraced shahadat and three soldiers including an officer were injured during exchange of fire," the ISPR said. During a search operation in Reema, the SFs claimed to have killed three more militants.

The troops have reportedly pushed back the Taliban militants in the 75-day old military operation and there has been no active fighting for the last two weeks. The latest killings of the militants took place at a time when the people displaced from the Swat valley have been returning to their homes since the last three days. However, Sajid Mohmand, the Police chief in Swat, said that "The situation in Swat has not improved to the extent of preventing violent incidents in the valley in the near future." "There are reports that some militants are still hiding in the mountains and these are the elements which may deteriorate the situation in Swat," he said.

Five militants and two civilians were killed and seven others wounded in air strikes and rocket attacks in South Waziristan Agency. According to Security officials, planes shelled two compounds occupied by militants in the Sararogha and Laddha areas of South Waziristan, killing five militants and injuring six others.

Reports from Miranshah indicated that columns of infantry units with tanks moved into North Waziristan and a curfew was clamped on several parts of the Agency. Witnesses said hundreds of troops had reached their base in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, from Mirali, along with 25 tanks and armoured personnel carriers and over 100 other vehicles. All bazaars and markets in the two towns are reported to have remained closed.

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahri accused the US of leading a crusade to turn Pakistan from a Muslim nuclear power into a divided nation and urged Pakistanis to join the jihad to resist. Taliban were in a tug-of-war with the US-allied Government as they push to make Pakistan a "citadel of Islam" in the region, Zawahri said. "It is the individual duty of every Muslim in Pakistan to join the mujahideen," Zawahri said, Reuters reported. He is reported to have said, "The crusade aims at eradicating the growing jihad nucleus in order to break up this nuclear capable country, and transform it into tiny fragments, loyal to and dependent on the neo-crusaders."

July 16

SFs killed eight Taliban militants in the Loi Namal area of Matta sub-division in the Swat District. The ISPR said that SFs carried out search and clearance operations in parts of the valley. "SFs conducted a search operation in area around Loi Namal and Pansarat and killed eight terrorists, including local commander Bilal," the ISPR claimed. A number of tunnels and hideouts were unearthed in Matta. The SFs have also reportedly wrested the headquarters of the Taliban - Peuchar. During the operation in Loi Namal, the ISPR said 20 terrorist hideouts were destroyed and eight machine guns, one rifle and huge quantity of ammunition recovered.

Three persons were killed and four others sustained injuries when an IED, planted by unidentified miscreants, exploded on the Ghulam Khan Road, eight kilometers from Miranshah, headquarters of the North Waziristan Agency. Official and tribal sources said a local passenger vehicle on its way from Ghulam Khan to Miranshah Bazaar when it hit an IED at 9:30 am, killing three persons on the spot. However, the identity of the victims could not be ascertained.

India and Pakistan agreed to renew the bilateral relationship, frozen since the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani agreeing that dialogue between their two countries "is the only way forward." While the joint statement issued after their meeting on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt said nothing about when and how the Composite Dialogue process would resume, the two Foreign Secretaries have been tasked with meeting "as often as necessary" in the run-up to a review by the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers in New York in September 2009. Speaking to reporters later, Dr. Singh said Gilani had been keen to resume the composite dialogue "here and now." "But I said that the dialogue cannot begin unless and until the terrorist acts of Mumbai are fully accounted for and the perpetrators are brought to book," the Prime Minister stated. Unless this happened, he stressed, "I cannot agree and our public opinion will not agree." There was no road map for resumption yet, he said, but added: "We have an obligation to engage Pakistan." Asked by reporters if the joint statement meant India was ready to resume the composite dialogue, Gilani said, "It is my understanding that they are convinced it is the way forward." He also drew attention to India’s readiness "to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues."

July 17

Five militants were killed and four others sustained injuries in a drone attack on a suspected hideout of the Taliban in Badar village, about 30 kilometers from Razmak in the North Waziristan Agency. Sources told that a CIA-operated spy plane fired two missiles at the house of a local cleric, Maulana Abdul Majeed. The Badar village near Gharium is located on the border between North Waziristan and South Waziristan. According to sources, the five militants killed in the drone attack had come from the adjacent South Waziristan and were affiliated with the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud. It was not clear as to whether the village cleric Maulana Abdul Majeed, whose house was reportedly targeted, died in the air strike or not.

Two soldiers and an equal number of Taliban militants were killed in the Swat and Dir Districts of NWFP. "A security vehicle – en route to Peochar from Shahid Khapa – was hit by an improvised explosive device near Serai… two soldiers were killed," said the ISPR. A local militia in Dir destroyed Taliban bunkers in Shahdas near Lal Qila and killed two militants and injured two others.

A 36-page dossier handed over by Pakistan has for the first time admitted that the LeT carried out the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks. The dossier terming Lashkar operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as the mastermind and admitting the Pakistan nationality of Ajmal Amir Kasab along with some others is said to have prompted India to be more accommodating with Pakistan at the NAM Summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt. Pakistan has reportedly given details on each of the accused, which includes Zarar Shah, who has been identified as the person in-charge of the communications, and there are also details of proclaimed offenders like Ajmal Kasab. The LeT has been referred to as a defunct organisation with no links to other outfits in Pakistan.

July 18

Six Taliban militants, including a local commander, were killed and several others injured after clashes with SFs in Bajaur, Swat and Malakand. According to the ISPR, a soldier was also killed and three others injured in sporadic clashes with Taliban fighters in the Shangla and Shakardara. Local Taliban commander Abu Bakar was killed during a search operation in Chamtalai. Four Taliban militants were arrested and one killed in a search operation around Kanju.

Jet fighters pounded militant positions in Orakzai Agency, killing seven people, including two suspected militants. Two children and three women are said to be among the seven persons killed when jets bombed a suspected militant hideout in Moputay, Upper Orakzai. Locals, however, put the death toll at nine. Gunship helicopters also struck areas in Chappar Ferozkhel, Lower Orakzai, but no casualties were reported.

Three fighters were killed and two others injured when Taliban militants attacked SFs during a search operation in the Kohi and Ray areas of Charmang, Tehsil Nawagai. The SFs also destroyed two Taliban hideouts.

A local Taliban commander was killed and four of his aides injured when a US drone targeted their hideout in the Shaktoi area of Ladha tehsil (revenue division) in the South Waziristan Agency of FATA. The political administration sources said the drone fired two missiles that landed near the house of local Taliban chief Ameer Abdullah Mehsud. Commander Zar Jan Mehsud of the Kekarai tribe died in the attack while four others sustained injuries. The sources said a meeting was underway in the compound when the missiles struck the house.

July 19

The Police launched a counterattack on Taliban militants in the Sambat Cham area of Matta sub-division in Swat District after the beheading of a Matta Police Station class-1V employee, killing one militant besides demolishing seven houses. In addition, three more militants were killed in the ongoing military operation in Swat. The class-IV employee, Muhammad Iqbal, was beheaded inside his home in Sambat Cham on the night between July 17 and 18.

SFs continued their search and clearance operations in parts of the Swat Valley. The Army-run ISPR claimed that three militants were killed during an encounter with the militants in Mauja Kandao.

The Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit rejected US allegations that terrorists involved in attacks on the US and India were living in Pakistan, calling the claim baseless. Reacting to a statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the perpetrators of 9/11 attacks in the US and the Mumbai attacks were in Pakistan, the spokesman said the culprits were in Afghanistan, not Pakistan. Talking to the media in New Delhi, Hillary Clinton had asked Pakistan to act against the culprits of the Mumbai attacks, adding that terrorism was a major problem which threatened global peace.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was keeping a close watch on the actions being taken by Pakistan against terrorists since the country had emerged as home to a "syndicate of terrorism". "We are watching it and we hope Pakistan will make progress against what is a syndicate of terrorism — Al-Qaeda, Taliban and many other terror organisations are connected in a way that is deeply troubling to us, and I know to India. But it is also now troubling Pakistan," she said in Gurgaon outside the Indian capital New Delhi. In response to a question, the visiting US Secretary of State expressed hope that the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks would meet their "day of reckoning" soon. Referring to Pakistan, she said, "I have also sent messages very directly to the Pakistani people that this (fight against terrorism) is in the interest of Pakistan, the future stability and security of Pakistan."

July 20

SFs claimed to have killed around 100 Taliban militants in a massive military operation in a cluster of villages in the Maidan area of Dir Lower District in the NWFP. Military sources said the SFs launched action in five villages of Maidan to dislodge the militants from their hideouts as they were launching rocket attacks from there on the Scouts Fort in Timergara. "We have inflicted huge human loss on them. According to the information we have received, the casualties of the militants must not be less than 100," a military official stationed in the area said. He said a large number of foot soldiers backed by tanks, artillery and mortars stormed the positions of the militants in Sherkhanay, Shedas, Misrikhanay, Sangolai and Saparay on July 19. The official said troops continued their operation for around 18 hours to destroy the Taliban hideouts. He said during the action, some 100 militants had been killed. Some 250-300 Taliban militants were hiding in these five or six villages, according to the official.

The NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the Taliban in Maidan were still active. He told media persons after a cabinet meeting that the provincial Government has decided to fix a bounty of PKR 500000 each on the heads of five top Taliban leaders of Maidan. They included 'commander' Hafizullah, Qari Shahid, Dr Wazir, Muftahuddin and Abdus Salam.

14 militants, including two 'commanders', and an Army officer were killed in clashes between the SFs and Taliban in the Swat District. Locals from the valley reported pitched battles between the two sides in the morning. They said the exchange of a heavy fire and mortar shell firing were heard from Koza Bandai village of Kabal area when the two sides clashed. Locals said the fighting resulted in the killing of 14 militants, including two 'commanders' identified as Zarqavi and Zulqarnain. Major Zahid of the Pakistan Army was also reported to have been killed during the encounter. Official sources in Mingora told that the operation was carried out in the Shahdherai, Damghar and Dardial areas of Kabal sub-division. The ISPR also confirmed the clashes, militants' casualties and the killing of the Army officer. According to the ISPR, the SFs conducted a search and clearance operation in Kamyrai near Dardial. During the exchange of fire, Major Zahid was killed, it said. 12 terrorists were killed in the exchange of fire with the troops, the ISPR added.

Suspected militants of the Mangal Bagh group killed four Policemen in an ambush on the outskirts of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. According to official sources, the Police team was patrolling the Sarband cattle fair on Bara Road at around noon when was attacked. Sub-Inspector Riaz Khan, constables Laiq Shah and Khudadad and driver Zahir Shah were killed on the spot.

July 21

SFs killed 11 Taliban militants in the Swat District, while suffering three fatalities. Locals said seven militants, including two local 'commanders' identified as Khalifa and Pehlwan, were killed in the Damghar and Mamdherai areas of Kabal sub-division. A media update of the ISPR said "During a search operation at Damgarh and Mamdherai, security forces spotted five terrorists clad in Burqa, trying to escape from the area. They were apprehended, along with short machine guns, while five terrorists were killed." It said three soldiers, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, were also killed during an encounter with the militants in the area. Locals said three militants were killed in Shahdherai area of Kabal during an operation by the SFs. They also said four farmers were killed in the evening of July 20 in the Bara Bandai area of Kabal. They were identified as Bilal, Abdullah, Shamsher Ali and Akbar Hussain.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that around 500 hardcore militants had been arrested so far from Swat, 90 per cent of whom were Afghan nationals. Talking to a private television channel, he said Swat had almost been cleared of the militants and the same approach would be adopted to pursue them in North and South Waziristan. The armed forces will stay in the militancy-affected areas until complete restoration of political and social infrastructure, he said, adding that efforts would be made to achieve these goals in minimum possible time. To a question, he said a sizable amount of foreign-made heavy and sophisticated ammunition had also been captured in the militancy-hit areas, which can be traded between the states only.

Continuing their operation in the Maidan revenue division of Lower Dir District in the NWFP, SFs claimed to have killed 12 militants, including two ringleaders, identified as Qari Hakimullah and Sher Khan. According to official sources, troops have taken control of militants' strongholds in Takatak, Undak, Misri Khani, Safaray and Kala Dag. Army officers told local journalists who visited the violence-hit areas of Maidan that 80 per cent of the revenue division had been cleared of militants. More than 100 militants were killed over the past two days. They said militants had taken positions in Takatak, Undak, Misri Khani, Sangolai, Safaray and Sher Khani.

July 22

28 militants were killed and several houses were razed during the ongoing military operation Rah-e-Rast in the Swat, Buner and Dir Lower Districts.

Ten militants were killed when military planes bombed suspected positions of militants in the South Waziristan Agency. The AFP quoted an official as saying that the planes bombed two places in the Sarwakai area of South Waziristan. "Our jets hit a militant base in Gurguri and a Taliban compound in Ous Pass in Sarwakai. Both were destroyed and a total of four militants were killed," the military official said. The militants killed in the strikes reportedly belonged to the TTP, he said.

Four bodies, including two of sons of a slain militant commander, were found on the Tank-Jandola road, Police said. The bullet-riddled bodies, said to be of Idrees and Sher Qanoon, the sons of late militant commander Gul Pir, Jamshed and Younus, were found near the Fauji bridge. Gul Pir, a supporter of Baitullah Mehsud, was killed during an operation in the Sheikh Utar area two days ago.

Three Taliban groups in South Waziristan Agency have formed a new anti-Baitullah Mehsud alliance, with Ikhlas Khan alias Waziristan Baba as its chief. A private TV channel reported that the Turkistan Bathni, Haji Tehsil Khan Wazir and Ikhlas Khan Mehsud factions have named the alliance Abdullah Mehsud group. The new group has reportedly already established offices in Gomal, Umar Adda, Jandola, Pang, and Sheikh Autar areas of South Waziristan. 42-year old Waziristan Baba believes that Baitullah Mehsud was behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He said he would avenge the killings of innocent people who fell victim to attacks launched by Baitullah. "Those who destroy hospitals and schools and kill our brothers and sisters are not our well-wishers," he said. The alliance comes after Baitullah assassinated archrival Qari Zainuddin - who was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards.

July 23

SFs claimed to have killed eight more militants and recovered a Prado used by the Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah during search operations in the Mauja Kandao and Dadrah areas of Kabal sub-division in Swat District. A spokesman for the Swat Media Centre told reporters that the SFs launched operations in Mauja Kandao, killing six militants. He said that a Prado used by Maulana Fazlullah was also recovered, besides another one. A media update of the ISPR said the SFs killed two militants and arrested three others in Dadrah area during a search operation. In addition, two bodies of militants, identified as Bakht Bedar and Akhtar Ali, were found in Mingora city.

The TTP denied claims that Maulana Fazlullah, the Swat unit chief of the TTP, was wounded, and threatened to unleash a renewed "holy war". Pakistan said on July 8 it had "credible" information that Fazlullah was hurt during a military operation in Swat. "Taliban chief Fazlullah is alive, healthy and has never been wounded," TTP spokesman Muslim Khan told over the telephone from an undisclosed location. "All of the Taliban leadership in Swat are alive and are in hiding with a strategy. We will continue our jihad until the enforcement of Sharia [Islamic law]," he said. "Army artillery and tanks cannot prevent us from achieving our objective," he added.

One of Osama bin Laden's sons "may be dead", a US counter-terrorism official told, after reports he was likely killed by a US missile strike in Pakistan earlier in 2009. "There are some indications that he may be dead, but it's not 100 per cent certain," the unnamed official said, adding "If he is dead, Saad bin Laden was a small player with a big name. He has never been a major operational figure." An administration official said the Al Qaeda leader's third-oldest son "was likely killed in Pakistan". National Public Radio (NPR) reported on July 22 that Saad bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by Hellfire missiles fired from a US Predator drone "sometime this year". US spy agencies are "80 to 85 per cent" sure that Saad bin Laden is dead, a senior counter-terrorism official told NPR, acknowledging it was difficult to be completely sure without a body to conduct DNA tests on. It was unclear whether Saad bin Laden was close to the location of his father, who is believed to be hiding in the mountainous tribal belt along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, when he died. According to the US Treasury, Saad bin Laden, who is believed to have been in his 20s, was part of a small group of Al Qaeda operatives who helped manage the organisation from Iran, where he was arrested in 2003. He also allegedly helped facilitate communications between Al Qaeda's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, following an Al Qaeda attack on the US embassy in Yemen in 2008. Senior Afghan Taliban and Punjabi militant commanders, having close association with Arabs, have denied the reports of death of Saad bin Laden. The Taliban commanders claimed they had been well-aware of events taking place in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but they never heard about Saad bin Laden's death.

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen said he believed the top leadership of Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, was in Pakistan. Talking to Al Jazeera TV, Mullen said Al Qaeda was on top of the US list of priorities and threats around the world. Mullen also said Pakistan's ISI had to change its strategic thrust in the long run, which, he said, had been to "foment chaotic activity you know in its border countries".

July 24

16 militants were killed by SFs in the Maidan area of Dir Lower District while five militants and a soldier were killed in different areas of the Swat Valley and Malakand Agency in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Rast.

The NWFP Higher Education Minister Qazi Asad said schools in the Swat Valley would reopen from August 1.

July 25

SFs shot dead at least 14 Taliban militants during operations across Malakand, Buner and Swat in the NWFP. "During last 24 hours, search and clearance operations were conducted in Swat and Malakand division", the ISPR said. 10 Taliban militants were killed in Buner, while four were killed in Swat, and the SFs also arrested 29 militants from various areas of the two Districts.

July 26

SFs killed a local Taliban 'commander' in Swat and six Taliban militants in the Bajaur Agency of FATA, after fighter jets targeted the group's positions in Lower Dir District of NWFP, killing at least 13 Taliban militants and destroying their hideouts. "SFs conducted a search operation in the area around Tal, Kamari Banda and Maira Banda, killing local commander Maaz of Qambar," said the ISPR. In Bajaur, the SFs targeted Taliban hideouts in Babra, Manugai, Chinar, Kohi Matak and Karkanai, killing six militants. Two soldiers were killed in an explosion near Sarkari Qila of Bajaur. In Lower Dir, the bombardment came late on July 25. "At least 13 Taliban were killed and 15 of their hideouts destroyed," a security official in the area said.

The bodies of three alleged US spies were found in the Bechi area of Mirali in North Waziristan Agency. Local people said that a note found with the bullet-riddled bodies said the three were spying for the US.

Police arrested the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad and three other people from his rented house in the Sethi Town area of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. The TNSM chief - who resurfaced on July 25 around two months after Operation Rah-e-Rast was launched against the TTP - has been accused of helping the Taliban and sabotaging the Government's fight against them. Witnesses told that around 12 Policemen raided Sufi Muhammad's house at around 2pm, and arrested the TNSM chief and three others - identified as Rizwanullah, Ziaullah and Tahir. Two of them are said to be Sufi Muhammad's sons. Addressing a press conference, the NWFP Information Minister Main Iftikhar Hussain confirmed the TNSM chief's arrest. He said Sufi Muhammad resurfaced "a day ago" and announced a meeting of the TNSM executive council in Malakand - an attempt that could have jeopardised peace efforts in the region. The minister said the arrests had been made to maintain law and order. He said the TNSM's actions in the past may also be investigated.

Security agencies arrested three terrorists believed to be of the Qari Saifullah group for their alleged involvement in attack (September 20, 2008) on Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

The chief of the Government's Special Support Group, General Nadeem Ahmad, has said that disguised Taliban militants may be getting money meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Gen. Nadeem made the comment at a crowded relief camp outside Peshawar, the NWFP capital, amid plans to hand out PKR 4 billion to IDPs. People queue for hours to have their identities checked and receive the money. But CNN said the cautious process is not foolproof. "It is certain that some of those receiving the money are Taliban, ready to return home and wreak havoc," the network reported.

July 27

Military helicopters killed 20 militants and destroyed four militant hideouts, including a training centre for suicide bombers in Tirah valley, 35km southwest of Landi Kotal in the Khyber Agency. "Military helicopters shelled militant hideouts in the afternoon, killing 20 rebels and destroying four of their hideouts," a spokesman for the Frontier Corps, Major Fazal-ur-Rehman, said, adding that the air strikes were ordered after an intelligence tip-off. Sources said three helicopters shelled Daras Jumat, a mosque in Akakhel area, near Bara, killing a boy and injuring three others. A vehicle and two shops were also destroyed. The mosque, believed to be a stronghold of the banned LeI, was damaged. Lashkar sources, however, said their organisation had nothing to do with the mosque.

11 militants were killed in a clearance operation by the SFs and local militia in the Swat and Dir Upper District, while 25 others were arrested during the ongoing. An ISPR media update said nine terrorists also surrendered in different parts of the Malakand Division. It said the local militia (Lashkar) killed 10 terrorists and arrested six others in the Karodara, Shakoh and Chopra Kandao areas of Dir Upper District. In a search operation in Langar village near Khwazakhela, one terrorist was killed, and two others were arrested, while seven terrorist hideouts were also destroyed.

The NWFP Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour said that 200 children of ages 6 to 13 years had been recovered from Malakand who were completely brainwashed for conducting suicide attacks. Talking to a private television channel, he said the Government would try to educate these children in such a way that they could live in a civilized manner. Around 20 children of the same mindset were earlier discovered from training camps of terrorists and were later trained and educated in the army institutions, he said. He said that such children were emotionally trained by terrorists in different ways. They firmly believed that after committing a suicide attack they would directly enter into paradise, the provincial minister said. These children are so influenced by their trainers that they even term their parents as non believers and would not hesitate to kill them, he said. He also said that these children were presently in the custody of army.

The LeT chief, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, will not be arrested since his alleged involvement in the Mumbai terrorist attacks has not been proved, a private TV channel quoted Interior Minister Rehman Malik as saying. Malik said Pakistan had demanded details of Indian citizens convicted in the Mumbai attacks. He also reportedly said Afghanistan had conceded there were Taliban training camps on its soil and Afghan President Hamid Karzai had ordered immediate closure of such camps.

July 28

A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a checkpoint in North Waziristan, causing an explosion that killed two SF personnel and injured five others. The bomber aimed for a checkpoint some three kilometers north of Miranshah, local Government official Rehmatullah said. Two intelligence officials confirmed the casualty figures and said the wounded include three paramilitary soldiers. Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the North Waziristan Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. He said the suicide attack on the SFs was a reaction from the Taliban against the silence of the Government over the US drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency, in which, he claimed, innocent tribesmen, including women and children, had died. He threatened to continue attacks on the troops if the drone attacks were not stopped.

SFs opened fire at a speeding car passing through the Frontier Corps checkpoint in front of the Miranshah Headquarters Hospital, killing three persons. Sources said all the three men who died on the spot were said to be Punjabi Taliban militants.

July 29

Four terrorists were killed and 23 arrested in 24 hours during search and clearance operations by the SFs in Swat and Malakand, the ISPR said. The SFs killed four terrorists and arrested three suspects during search operations at Amankot, Ahingro Derai, Minar Qambar and Landikas near Mingora. According to the ISPR, the SFs conducted search operations at Tal near Shah Dheri, resulting in the arrest of two terrorists and the demolition of 10 hideouts.

An anti-Taliban elder and cousin of a Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) was killed and his son was injured when suspected militants stormed their house in Shangla District.

Three militants were killed and four paramilitary soldiers injured during an exchange of fire in the Dosali area of North Waziristan Agency. According to sources, militants attacked the Gerdai Rogha post, about 40km south of Miranshah. Frontier Corps (FC) personnel returned fire and killed three of the attackers. An official said four FC troopers were injured in the clash.

July 30

The Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) executed four men after pronouncing them guilty of abduction and murder at a self-styled court, witnesses and a spokesman said. The executions by firing squad took place near Bara tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency. The LI announced the impending execution by mosque loudspeakers in Bar Qambarkhel village, 10 kilometers northwest of Bara, late on July 29 and urged locals to witness the killings, a local tribesman said. "Four blindfolded criminals with hands tied behind their backs were brought by LI men and lined up outside the mosque. Four LI fighters sprayed bullets, killing them on the spot," said witness Malik Qasim Khan Afridi.

Two Taliban militants and a trooper were killed in a clash between the Taliban and SFs in Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan Agency. Official sources told that the militants attacked the SFs on the Dattakhel-Miranshah road when they were setting up a check-post there. Two SF personnel and seven militants were injured in the clash.

It is still unclear if Pakistan's offensive in Swat has killed off the Taliban or simply scattered them, US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke said. "We don't know exactly to what extent the Pakistani army dispersed or destroyed the enemy," the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. "The test of this operation is, of course, when the refugees return. Can they go home? Are they safe? And we're just going to have to wait and see," he told a State Department press conference.

July 31 SFs killed six Taliban militants in the on-going military operation in Swat District, a statement by the ISPR said. "Security forces conducted a search operation in Charbagh and Allahabad and killed six terrorists and also recovered a cache of arms and ammunition along with material for preparation of IEDs," it said.
August 2

Paramilitary troops were deployed in the Azafi Abadi village, also known as Koriaan, in the Punjab province where 10 people were killed in violence between Muslims and Christians over the alleged desecration of the Koran. Pakistan Rangers personnel took up positions in and around Azafi Abadi, a day after it witnessed communal clashes. Persons from the two communities reportedly exchanged fire and over 80 homes of Christians were set ablaze by mobs. "We have arrested a number of suspects and exemplary punishment will be given to those involved in heinous crimes. This is a crime against humanity," Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister of Punjab, told reporters. He said some outlawed religious groups were involved in the violence but did not name them. A Police source said activists of the banned SSP and Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP) were involved in the violence. The Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and provincial minister Sanaullah said no Christian was involved in desecrating the Koran.

SFs killed four Taliban militants and arrested 27 others from the Swat District. According to the ISPR, two militants were killed and seven others arrested during search-and-cordon operations in Derai and Danda. In addition, two more militants were killed and two others arrested in Gorai, Kotlai and Daragai.

A terrorist with links to the Al Qaeda was arrested by security agencies from the federal capital Islamabad, Police said. The man, identified by Police as Rao Shakir, was arrested from the Bhara Kahu area of Islamabad. He was linked to several terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack on a bus of an intelligence agency, the suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September 2008 and an attack in Rawalpindi. Shakir is believed to be a member of an Al Qaeda-linked group suspected of involvement in the 2002 abduction and killing (February 1, 2002) of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Charges of rebellion against the state have been laid against the TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad in the Saidu Sharif Police Station in Swat District. A Police official said a First Information Report was registered against Sufi under sections 120-D, 121, 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. The official said Sufi was charged with inciting the masses during his address at Grassy Ground in Mingora on April 20, 2009. He said in his address, Sufi had called the Supreme Court and the high courts of Pakistan "un-Islamic". Sufi had also termed all judges, lawyers and pro-democracy clerics "rebels". Sufi was arrested along with his two sons, Ziaullah and Rizwanullah, from Sethi Town in the provincial capital Peshawar on July 26.

Afghanistan rejected reported claims by Pakistan's Interior Minister that President Hamid Karzai had admitted that 'terrorist' training camps in Afghanistan were operating against Pakistan. "This is absolutely not true. This is baseless," Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said at a press conference, also denying that Karzai had told his ministry to take action against these training grounds. Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik reportedly told a private television channel that Karzai had made the admission during a meeting in Kabul in July 2009. Malik was also quoted as saying: "Karzai directed his security adviser and interior minister to destroy and close down all training camps working against Pakistan." Rejecting this claim, Atmar said the president had rather pledged "firm action" against threats to Pakistan from Afghanistan should he receive evidence. Atmar also reportedly disagreed with the Pakistani minister's reported claim that 90 per cent of militants arrested in Pakistan were of Afghan origin. Kabul had "strong evidence" that Afghan as well as Pakistani, Central Asian and Al Qaeda-linked militants of various nationalities were operating from safe havens across the border, the minister said.

Holding the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) responsible for the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks, a British parliamentary committee said several major terrorist attacks across the world, including those in London, Madrid, and Bali, had their origins in the tribal areas of Pakistan. A report by the Foreign Affairs Committee quoted a former CIA chief as saying the Pakistan-based LeT had reached a "merge point" with the Al Qaeda. "It was from the tribal areas in Pakistan that the bomb plots in London, Madrid, Bali, Islamabad, and later Germany and Denmark were planned," said the report on 'Global Security: Afghanistan and Pakistan,' headed by lawmaker Mike Gapes. The report said the LeT, which was responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that targeted Westerners, in particular U.S. and U.K, nationals, also operates from these tribal areas. It added that a section within the Pakistani Army and the ISI still feels that "India, rather than the Islamic terrorists," was the main threat to it. "We welcome the increasing recognition at senior levels within the Pakistani military of the need for a recalibrated approach to militancy, but we remain concerned that this may not necessarily be replicated elsewhere within the Army and the ISI," the report said. It welcomed Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's remark that terrorism, not India, was the real threat to his country. However, the report raised doubts over "whether the underlying fundamentals of Pakistani security policy have changed sufficiently to realise the goals of long-term security and stability in Afghanistan."

August 3

The Baloch Republican Army killed five abducted officials, including a SHO, and threatened to kill the remaining abducted persons if their demands were not met within 24 hours. The BRA is reported to have thrown the bodies on Jathhar Kelji Road. Speaking to a private TV channel by satellite telephone, a spokesman for the BRA, Sarfraz Baloch, claimed responsibility for killing the officials, including the Dera Murad Jamali SHO Ahsanullah Khosa. The spokesman threatened that if the Government did not release arrested Baloch leaders within 24 hours, the BRA would kill the remaining officials and labourers in their custody. The officials and labourers were working on Government projects in different areas of Dera Murad Jamali, headquarter of Nasirabad District, when they were abducted.

Jets shelled Taliban hideouts and killed at least five militants near Swat. The aircraft raided Dok Darra town after intelligence reports said that a large number of militants had gathered in the area, military spokesman Major Nasir Ali Khan said. "The bombing destroyed three Taliban bases and killed five militants," he said. Local administration chief Javed Marwat confirmed the air strikes and said at least five militants were killed.

Three militants were killed and several others injured when the SFs targeted suspected hideouts of the militants in different areas of Salarzai sub-division in Bajaur Agency. Official sources said the SFs targeted the militant hideouts in Darra, Ghundai and Sor Dagay areas with artillery guns, killing three militants and injuring several others. They added that a number of sanctuaries of the militants were destroyed in the operations.

Elements in the intelligence agencies who were sympathetic towards terrorists had resigned and had been arrested, a private TV channel quoted Interior Minister Rehman Malik, adding they were officers of the rank of Major and wanted to target army generals. He said there have been some elements in the intelligence agencies who have had links with terrorists, including Baitullah Mehsud, Qari Ilyas and Qari Hussain and with banned organisations. To a question, he said South Waziristan had become a hub of anti-state activities and terrorists from various areas, including Hangu, Bajaur and Mohmand agencies, were operating against security forces. He also reportedly said the LeT and JeM supported the Taliban and Al Qaeda in destabilising the country.

The Supreme Court adjourned for an indefinite period the hearing of a petition filed by the federal Government challenging the release of the JuD (also known as LeT) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and his close aide Col (r) Nazir Ahmad. A three-member bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja is hearing the case. Attorney General Sardar Latif Khosa told the court on August 3 that the record of the case was with the Punjab Government, but Punjab Advocate General Raza Farooq had resigned and nobody else had been appointed in his place. He said the case could not proceed in the absence of the record, and called on the court to adjourn the proceedings. Advocate A. K. Dogar, representing Hafiz Saeed, did not object to the attorney general's request - which was accepted by the court. The federal and the Punjab governments had filed separate appeals with the Supreme Court against a Lahore High Court order freeing Hafiz Saeed and Nazir from house arrest. But the Punjab Government later moved an application for the withdrawal of its petition, and told the court that if the federal Government provided fresh evidence against Saeed, the provincial administration would reverse its decision to withdraw the appeal. In its application for the withdrawal of the appeal against Hafiz Saeed, the Punjab Government said the LeT chief and Nazir were put under house arrest on a directive by the federal Government, but the centre had "failed" to provide concrete evidence for their house arrest.

August 4

Five civilians and four SF personnel were killed and six civilians and an equal number of SFs injured in the North Waziristan Agency. Militants fired rockets and missiles at an army camp, northeast of Miranshah, killing four Army personnel and seriously injuring another six. A missile hit a house in the Chashma village, one kilometre south of Miranshah, killing three civilians and wounding three others.

SFs killed at least six Taliban militants in fighting in the Kabal and Barikot areas of NWFP, while a soldier was killed and another sustained injuries, a Police official. Sources said dead bodies of five of the slain militants were recovered. While three dead bodies were recovered from Manglor on the outskirts of Mingora, two other dead bodies were recovered from Landai Kas and Qazi Abad areas.

August 5

SFs said that they, in collaboration with local militias, had killed eight militants during the ongoing military operation in Swat and Dir Districts. "The local Lashkar [militia], during a search operation backed by the Frontier Corps, killed four terrorists at Dog Darra in Dir, including Taliban commander Shakoor," the ISPR said in a statement. The Lashkar also destroyed the houses of nine Taliban militants. The militia killed five militants, adding that three of the deceased were Afghan nationals, while the remaining two were residents of Swat. The ISPR said four more Taliban militants had been killed in two different areas of Swat. It said the SFs, during a search operation at Goratai, had killed three extremists, including an explosives expert. In a separate incident, another member of the Taliban was killed in Kotah near Barikot and some arms and ammunition recovered.

Four persons, including the second wife of TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, were killed and a few others sustained injuries in a drone attack on the house of Baitullah's father-in-law in Zangara village of Laddha sub-division in South Waziristan Agency. Taliban sources close to Baitullah Mehsud confirmed the killing of his wife in the drone attack, but denied reports that the TTP chief too was killed in the missile strikes. "Yes, I can confirm this bad news about the loss of his wife," said a senior Taliban commander based at Mirali in North Waziristan Agency. He, however, denied reports that Baitullah Mehsud too was killed in the strike. Official and tribal sources said the US spy plane fired two missiles at the house of Ikramuddin Mehsud. Officials said it was the first casualty of any close relatives of the Pakistani Taliban commander in US missile strikes. Baitullah Mehsud married the daughter of Ikramuddin, a tribal elder from the Shabikhel branch of Mehsud tribe, in October 2008. Baitullah is also from the Shabikhel Mehsud clan.

The Government announced that 25 extremist and militant groups and welfare organisations affiliated to them have so far been banned because of their involvement in terrorist activities. In a written reply submitted on August 5 in response to a question in the National Assembly, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the banned organisations included Al Qaeda, SMP, Tehrik Nifaz-i-Fiqah Jafaria, SSP, JuD, Al Akhtar Trust, Al Rasheed Trust (ART), Tehrik-i-Islami, JeM, LeJ, TTP, Islamic Students Movement, Khairun Nisa International Trust, Tehrik-i-Islam Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), LeT, Lashkar-i-Islam, Balochistan Liberation Army, Jamiat-i-Ansar, Jamiatul Furqan, Hizbut Tehrir, Khuddam-i-Islam and Millat-i-Islamia Pakistan. Malik said the Jama'at-ud-Da'awa, Al Akhtar Trust, and Al Rasheed Trust were banned on December 10, 2008, after they were named in the United Nations Security Council Resolution No 1267 and the Sunni Tehrik was placed on the 'watch list'. He said law-enforcement agencies were closely monitoring their activities and stern action was being taken against people taking part in objectionable activities.

August 6

Nine militants were killed and two others sustained injuries during an operation by the SFs in different areas of the Nawagai and Salarzai subdivisions in Bajaur Agency. The SFs targeted Taliban hideouts in the Chinar, Kohi, Manugai and Banda areas of Nawagai and Darra, Ghundi and Sur Dagai areas of Salarzai.

SFs killed seven Taliban militants and arrested 21 others in the ongoing military operation in Swat and Malakand, the ISPR said. The ISPR said SFs killed four militants during an encounter at Samsel Bandai near Kabal, while two others were killed during a search operation in Amankot. A Taliban militant was also killed in the Rashghatta-Kokarai area near Jambil.

The Interpol issued an alert asking member countries to help locate 13 suspects wanted for the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26, 2008 and notify Pakistan, who will then issue arrest warrants and seek their extradition, an Interpol statement said. The Government asked Interpol to issue a global alert for the fugitives, the international Police agency said. "The authorities in Pakistan are to be commended for making full use of Interpol's global network and tools," said Secretary General Ron Noble in the statement issued from the agency's headquarters in Lyon. "This demonstrates their commitment to allowing all of Interpol's 187 member-countries to benefit from and help with the investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks," he said. The 13 suspects were not named in the media statement, but Interpol said their names and other information would be included in the Police agency's databases and circulated worldwide.

There is a strong likelihood that TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and bodyguards, in a missile attack, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in Islamabad. "We suspect he was killed in the missile strike," Rehman Malik said, adding "We have some information, but we don't have material evidence to confirm it." His younger wife, daughter of Malik Ikramuddin Mehsud, reportedly died in the air strike. Four children were reportedly injured in the attack.

The Foreign Office said India had "not provided enough evidence" to put JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed on trial, but Pakistan is investigating him in line with the country's own laws. "It needs to be underlined that we have received information from India, but the material contained in dossiers on Hafiz Saeed is not really enough and doesn't strengthen our position in proceeding legally," said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit at a weekly briefing in Islamabad. However, he said that relations with India were moving in a "positive direction", and the stalled peace process would resume after upcoming meetings between the foreign secretaries and the foreign ministers of the two countries. "We hope that as a result of the next meetings between the foreign secretaries and the foreign ministers, there will be some progress in the context of resuming a sustained composite dialogue process," said Basit. He said both countries were trying to schedule the time and venue for a meeting of the foreign secretaries ahead of the talks between the foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September.

August 7

Quoting intelligence reports, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi confirmed that the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack in South Waziristan. "Based on information gleaned from intelligence reports, the news of Baitullah's death is correct. But we are going for ground verification, and when the information has been confirmed, then we will be 100 percent sure," he told reporters in Islamabad. He also told BBC Radio that it was "pretty certain" that the Taliban chief was dead. A Taliban commander and aide to Baitullah Mehsud, meanwhile, told that the TTP chief was killed in the US strike. "I confirm that Baitullah Mehsud and his wife died in the American missile attack in South Waziristan," Taliban commander Kafayatullah said by telephone. He did not give any further details. Baitullah Mehsud was allegedly killed in a drone attack on August 5 while visiting his father-in-law Maulana Ikramuddin's house in the Laddha sub-division. The attack also resulted in the deaths of one of his wives, Ikramuddin's daughter, and over half-a-dozen guards. "Information is coming from that area that he is dead… I am unable to confirm unless I have solid evidence," said Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The TTP deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad said he could neither confirm nor deny Baitullah's killing in the drone attack. Meanwhile, intelligence officials and Taliban sources have said that Taliban commanders were meeting in the FATA to choose a successor. It was unclear when they might reach a decision.

A spokesman for US President Barack Obama has said the White House cannot confirm the killing of the TTP chief, adding the people of Pakistan are now safer if reports are accurate. Describing Baitullah Mehsud as a murderous thug, the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on August 5: "We cannot confirm whether he is dead. There seems to be a growing consensus among credible observers that he is indeed dead."

19 persons were killed and more than 18 injured in a gunfight between pro and anti-Baitullah Mehsud groups in the Tank District of NWFP. The clashes broke out soon after media reports saying that the TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud might have been killed in a missile strike by US drones in South Waziristan on August 5. A private TV cannel reported that Baitullah's men attacked two offices of peace committees run by Turkistan Bhitani in the Imamkhel and Umerada areas of Tank. Around 200 armed militants reportedly took part in the pre-dawn raid. The gunfight continued for about two hours, the channel reported. Turkistan Bhitani, who had won the backing of the Government after challenging Baitullah Mehsud in Tank and South Waziristan, had set up the camps in Government school buildings. Turkistan Bhitani joined the anti-Taliban campaign after 40 of his men had been killed by supporters of Baitullah in 2008.

A Taliban commander killed six militants before being shot dead by another militant in the Batara area of Chagharzai in Buner District of NWFP. Sources said that the Taliban commander Shah Zar Khan from Choga area developed differences with his associates over the July 29 attack on the house of Haji Khalil, an activist of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Shah Zar is reported to have opened fire on his colleagues when they were offering Maghrib prayers, killing six of them on the spot, while he himself was killed by another militant, deputed to guard them. The militants later killed the son of Shah Zar who was stated to be a militant as well. Shah Zar was said to be a close relative of Haji Khalil and both hailed from the same village. Haji Khalil was killed after killing two of the Taliban attackers and injuring three others on July 29.

Ten people were killed and seven others sustained injuries during clashes between two rival militant groups in the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency. Sources said the fighting between LI and AI started when the AI cadres captured a post in the Kookikhel area. After a fierce clash, with both sides using heavy guns, the post was recaptured by the LI militants. Sources said the dead included six AI men, three from the LI and a non-combatant. Those killed from the LI also included 'commander' Rangeen Khan. The civilian was killed when a mortar shell landed at a house.

August 8

TTP spokesman Hakeemullah Mehsud and Taliban commander Waliur Rehman were allegedly killed in a gunbattle that erupted during a meeting to determine the future of the organisation, a few hours after Hakeemullah claimed Baitullah Mehsud is "alive". Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters the Government had received reports that only one of the two rivals for the leadership of the Taliban was killed. "The infighting was between Waliur Rehman and Hakeemullah Mehsud," he said, adding, "We have information that one of them has been killed. Who was killed we will be able to say after confirming." According to PTV, Rehman killed Hakeemullah after the latter was appointed the new TTP chief. However, a Taliban official in South Waziristan, where the meeting took place, told the Government had fabricated reports of the infighting. Noor Said, deputy spokesman under Baitullah, said: "There was no fighting in the shura. Both Waliur Rehman and Hakeemullah are safe and sound." However, an intelligence officer denied this, saying he had reports that Hakeemullah was dead.

Senior Taliban commander Qari Hussain, maintaining that Baitullah is alive, has threatened to unleash a wave of suicide attacks to "avenge the Government-sponsored propaganda against our leader".

August 9

A Khwazai peace committee chief, five others and 11 Taliban militants were killed in a clash in the Payazai sub-division of Mohmand Agency. A political administration official said a group of Taliban militants attacked the peace committee chief Malik Ajmal's residence at around 2 AM. Ajmal's security guards and volunteers retaliated, killing 11 militants. However, Ajmal and five of his men were also killed in the attack. Local official Javed Ali confirmed the incident. Ajmal Khan was a pro-government tribal elder, who captured 12 Taliban militants and handed them over to the Security Forces last week.

Insurgents shot dead four more Policemen and threatened to execute other hostages unless the Government withdraws troops and releases detainees in Balochistan, Police said. "The bodies of four more policemen were found early on Sunday. They had been shot dead overnight," senior Police official Kalim Ullah told reporters. The insurgents had set as a deadline for meeting their demands. The BRA claimed that it had killed four more kidnapped Policemen after the Government failed to meet its demands and thrown their bodies in lands. "We have killed four more policemen and released seven labourers on humanitarian grounds," said spokesman Sarbaz Baloch, in a telephone call to reporters in the provincial capital Quetta. "In a day or two, we will decide about the fate of other policemen, if our demands are not accepted by the government," he added. The Policemen and the labourers were taken hostages late in July 2009 in the Naseerabad District.

Two civilians and a Policeman were killed when Taliban militants ambushed a Police convoy in the Bannu District.

"Multiple sources are now confirming he (Baitullah) is dead," including at least two Taliban commanders, the ISPR spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said. He said the reports of infighting were "one of the biggest, latest indicators". According to him, "Why is there a fight, why this fight for succession? These are very strong indicators leading towards reasonable confirmation that he was killed." He said there were reports of a clash among Taliban guards at a meeting on Saturday evening and indications that some people had been wounded, but there was no credible information to suggest any of the Taliban leaders were among them. There are also conflicting reports that a major fight broke out between the two likely contenders to replace Baitullah - Hakeemullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman - with one or both being killed or wounded.

The US National Security Adviser James Jones said that evidence suggests that Baitullah Mehsud is dead, noting that the subsequent dissension within the Taliban represents an important moment in the struggle against violent extremism in Pakistan. "It goes to show that I think the strategy that we are engaged with Pakistan is actually having some effect, and that is good," he told.

Haji Turkistan Bhittani, a commander of the Abdullah Mehsud group, told various television channels that Baitullah Mehsud had been killed along with 40 militants in the drone strike and was buried in his house. He also said Qari Hussain, mastermind of several suicide attacks, was seriously injured in the attack. Bhittani added that Mufti Waliur Rehman and Hakeemullah Mehsud, the two leading contenders for the TTP chief's post, were also killed along with several aides when fighting erupted at a shura (executive council) meeting held to choose a new chief of the TTP.

August 10

SFs, backed by helicopter gunships and artillery, shelled hideouts of the militants loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur after a military convoy was attacked in North Waziristan. According to officials, 11 militants were killed when troops launched a counter-attack and fired heavy artillery and mortars to dislodge the militants from their positions. Local people said that a heavy exchange of fire continued for five hours and residential areas were also hit. The military convoy was going to Mirali from Dosali when it was ambushed near Asadkhel, injuring three soldiers. Gul Bahadur's spokesman Ahmadullah Ahmadi claimed that 32 soldiers had been killed and 14 military vehicles captured.

Two women and two children were killed and nine others sustained injuries when a shell hit a house in the Shalobar area of Bara sub-division in the Khyber Agency, during fighting between the SFs and the Lashkar-e-Islam militants.

Militants who had kidnapped Police personnel and labourers on July 30 claimed to have killed 10 more Policemen and thrown their bodies in the Chattar area of Nasirabad District in Balochistan. With the latest claim by the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA), the number of Policemen killed by the kidnappers has now reached 22. Police officials in Dera Murad Jamali told that they had just heard this claim of the BRA. "Until the bodies are found, we cannot say anything in this regard," an official said. On August 8, the BRA had issued another deadline of 48 hours to the Government to release detained Baloch leaders and workers and threatened to kill more Policemen if the demand was not met. The BRA spokesman Sarbaz Baloch told journalists on August 10 that the group had killed 10 more Policemen in retaliation for the military operation in Dera Bugti. He claimed the BRA had also attacked SFs in Dera Bugti and damaged a helicopter.

The TTP confirmed that the group's chief, Baitullah Mehsud, had been killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan on August 5, and announced a 15-day mourning period. Newly-appointed TTP spokesman Azam Tariq told the channel the group would observe a cease-fire during the mourning period. He said a successor to Baitullah had not been chosen yet.

The US said it is "pretty sure" that Baitullah Mehsud has been killed, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said. He said the development "shows that Pakistan has made progress in moving to root out extremists". However, a close aide of the TTP chief demanded that the Government prove Baitullah was dead. "I challenge (Interior Minister) Rehman Malik to prove that Baitullah is dead," Hakeemullah Mehsud, who was reportedly killed in a shootout on August 7, told journalists over the telephone. Hakeemullah said, "I am alive ... I am here to prove that I am alive and so is Baitullah," he said. "Baitullah is alive and healthy ... he will come before the media soon. There is no succession," he said. However, Hakeemullah's statement that Baitullah is healthy contradicted a statement by another Taliban leader, Maulana Noor Syed, who claimed the TTP chief "is seriously ill". In a telephone call to journalists from an undisclosed location, Hakeemullah said: "Look, I am here, safe and sound." The 30-year-old Hakeemullah reiterated that Baitullah was alive and promised that his videotape would be soon delivered to the media. Hakeemullah confirmed, however, that Baitullah's wife had been killed and added that the Taliban would soon avenge her death. "Drones are still flying in the area. The government is provoking Baitullah to speak on the telephone so that he can be targeted and killed, but he will not do so," he said.

Al Qaeda is trying to install a new "chief terrorist" in the Tribal Areas following the alleged death of TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. "Al Qaeda has been grouping in the same place (South Waziristan) and is trying to find somebody to install as the leader, as the chief terrorist in that area," he told BBC Radio. He said the Taliban were in disarray and fleeing the area following the apparent killing of their commander. He hoped this would result in the border regions being open to greater development. "All the credible intelligence that I have received on the drone attack has led me to finally confirm it (Mehsud's death)," he said to questions on whether Mehsud was actually dead. "It's one of the achievements and I also feel that after the killing of Baitullah Mehsud, the whole TTP ... it will take some time for them to regroup," he added. "Information gathered in the past three days has revealed that most Taliban are running away from the area," AFP quoted him as saying.

The Army will stay in Swat until the IDPs have been rehabilitated and reconstruction completed, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said. "I am confident your presence in the area will not only discourage anti-state elements from regrouping, but also improve the pace of development in the area," he told a gathering of soldiers during a visit to Malakand. Prior to his address, the Prime Minister was informed that the Army now controlled 90 percent of the Malakand Division.

August 11

SFs used helicopter gunships in an operation against the banned Lashkar-e-Islam in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency, killing 17 militants and destroying six hideouts of the militants. The Frontier Corps Media Cell said a huge ammunition dump was also destroyed in the Shalobar area. A paramilitary commander separately told that the operation was launched after militants fired rockets at a paramilitary checkpoint early on August 10 in an assault in Peshawar, the NWFP capital that killed two civilians. The pre-dawn rocket attack targeted a Frontier Corps base in the city's Hayatabad neighbourhood, Peshawar Police chief Sifwat Ghayur said.

14 militants were killed and seven others sustained injuries in another attack by a CIA-operated drone at Kaniguram town in the Ladha sub-division of South Waziristan Agency (SWA). Tribal sources told The News that the US drone fired three missiles at a house, which the militants had occupied from Zangi Khan Burki, a local influential trader, and turned it into their 'Markaz' or headquarters. Zangi Khan and his family had left their house and shifted to Karachi after tribal and foreign militants took over Kaniguram. Another house owned by the Agency councilor, Arif Zaman, located near the alleged headquarters of the Taliban, was also damaged in the attack. Sources close to the TTP said all those killed in the attack were local tribal militants.

Unidentified men killed eight Taliban militants in the Orakzai Agency and abducted two others, said locals and official sources. Official sources told that armed men attacked a Taliban vehicle - en route to Mashti Bazaar from Ghaljo area - in Garhi village, killing eight militants, including a brother of Taliban 'commander' Sakhi. They said the slain militants were members of the Mashti tribe. Locals said the assailants could be Taliban militants from a rival group of Mufti Ziaur Rehman from the Akhel tribe. In apparent retaliation to the killings, militants from the Mashti tribe abducted at least 50 Akhel tribesmen, including 16 militants.

The Taliban in Orakzai Agency announced that they would not attack the SFs during Ramzan and Taliban Sharia (Islamic law) courts would remain closed "until the tenth day of Eid". The group's spokesman in the agency told journalists over telephone that the Taliban leadership in Orakzai had decided to halt attacks on the SFs during the holy month of Ramzan. He said Taliban Sharia courts in the agency would remain closed from August 12 until the 10th day of Eid.

The SFs, during an 18-hour-long operation in Akhund Killay in the Kabal sub-division of Swat District, killed a militant commander and three others and showed their corpses to the media in Mingora. Briefing reporters, Lt-Col Akhtar of the IRPS media cell in Swat, said the operation against the militants in Akhund Killay continued for 18 hours. He said the militants had taken positions in bunkers at the hilltops while SF personnel had to move into the area by boats. He said the SFs succeeded in killing four militants, including 'commander' Rahim Shah alias Fauji. Two others killed in the operation were identified as Wajid and Said Rahim while the name of the third militant could not be ascertained.

The Khan of Kalat (the title of former rulers of State of Kalat. Kalat state is now part of Balochistan), Mir Suleman Dawood, announced the formation of a council for 'independent Balochistan' and rejected any reconciliation with the Government of Pakistan without the mediation of European Union and United Nations. Addressing reporters from London on telephone, he said the council would ensure the creation of an independent state of Balochistan. The Khan said Baloch separatist forces of Pakistan and Iran would have representation in the council. He said the names of members of the council would be announced later. He, however, said that Nawabzada Baramdagh Bugti, leader of the Baloch Republican Party, will be a member of the council, adding that he was in touch with him and other forces which stood for an independent Balochistan. The Khan of Kalat said the Baloch had observed their Independence Day because the British rulers had accepted the independent and autonomous status of the Kalat state on August 11, 1947. He said Kalat was merged into Pakistan in March 1948 and in reaction Prince Agha Abdul Karim launched a revolt. The Khan also said the Baloch had lost trust in Pakistani rulers. However, he said that if European Union and United Nations mediated then negotiations could be held with the Government of Pakistan.

The Government told the National Assembly that it had asked provinces to keep a watch on the banned Sunni militant outfit SSP, which is accused of fomenting recent violence in the Punjab province's Jhang and Gojra towns. Interior Minister Rehman Malik acknowledged there was a lot of truth in concern voiced by an opposition lawmaker from Jhang who said the Government must act against the SSP to avoid the kind of situation it had to face in Swat valley of the North West Frontier Province after Taliban militants were allowed to thrive there. Malik reportedly said it was a fact that the SSP had had been involved in terrorist activities in the past and added "The provincial governments have been asked to keep a watch on its activities."

Of the more than two million people uprooted by the anti-Taliban offensive in the NWFP, around 765,000 have now returned home, the UN Office for the OCHA said. However, it said the ongoing military operation is causing a fresh round of displacement for the region. Around 1.2 million IDPs are still living with host communities, while over 160,000 are sheltering in 21 camps, according to the OCHA. Nine camps have closed down following the IDPs repatriation, it added. But ongoing military operations in the Upper Dir District have forced others into camps. With schools in Lower Dir District having reopened, the IDPs are made to seek shelter elsewhere.

Pakistan has denied it had agreed to accept the bodies of four of the nine terrorists killed in the terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 (26/11) as has been claimed by the Home Minister of the State of Maharashtra in India. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit said in Islamabad that reports on this in the Indian media was baseless and fabricated. "He strongly condemned this attitude of the Indian media and said that it was not a suitable time to publish such kind of baseless news items when only very recently the prime ministers of Pakistan and India had held a very important meeting in Sharm El Sheikh while the next course of secretary level dialogue was going to be held in New York on the (sidelines) of the UN General Assembly session," Online stated. Basit also said Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi had never made any request to India on handing over the dead bodies of four of the 26/11 attackers. Maharashtra home minister Jayant Patil said in Mumbai on August 10 that Pakistan had owned up to four of the nine terrorists who were shot dead during the November 26-29 attacks by the LeT. Patil said he was informed that the Pakistan Government had accepted as its nationals four of the nine who carried out the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. The bodies of nine terrorists are lying in the morgue of the Sir J.J. Hospital for the past nine months and their condition is not very good, Patil added.

August 12

Fierce clashes broke out between supporters of the slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and rival Turkistan Bhittani at Jandola in South Waziristan and each side claimed inflicting heavy casualties on the other. According to sources, militants loyal to Baitullah attacked Bhittani's men in the Soor Gher area and set ablaze 33 houses. They said that seven supporters of Bhittani were killed and 15 captured. Bhittani's men claimed to have killed over 50 attackers. According to Associated Press, at least 70 militants were killed in the clash. Two intelligence officials said that militants used rockets, mortars and anti-aircraft guns against Turkistan's men. The officials, who cited wireless intercepts from the area, confirmed that at least 70 people had been killed. Bhittani claimed that 90 fighters were killed and more than 40 houses destroyed. A senior official confirmed the clash but did not give details about casualties. "The local administration has no writ in the area and we have no information about the number of casualties," he added.

Masked gunmen are reported to have killed seven Pakistani preachers at a mosque in Somalia. Six gunmen with assault rifles and pistols stormed the Tawfiq Mosque in Galkayo and forced six Pakistani preachers and a Somali man outside, said eyewitness Ismail Hasan. The gunmen then opened fire, he said. Residents said the attack took place after early morning prayers at the mosque in Galkayo town and targeted a group of 25 mostly Pakistanis who had arrived in the semi-autonomous northern region on August 11. "Six Pakistanis died on the spot while another Pakistani died in hospital. These men are preachers from Karachi, Pakistan," Galkayo District Commissioner Hussein Abdullahi told. Pakistan's acting ambassador in neighbouring Kenya, Manzoor Chaudhry, confirmed that Pakistani nationals had been killed in Galkayo. The exact death toll, however, was unclear because there have been conflicting figures from different sources, he said.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas denied a recent report that Taliban have attacked the nuclear facilities three times in two years, saying there is "absolutely no chance" the country's atomic weapons could fall into terrorist hands. Abbas said an article written by a UK-based security expert was baseless because none of the bases named actually had any nuclear facilities. "It is factually incorrect," he said. Shaun Gregory, a professor at Bradford University's Pakistan Security Research Unit, wrote that several Taliban attacks have already hit military bases where nuclear components are secretly stored. The article appeared in the July 2009 newsletter of the Combating Terrorism Center of the US Military Academy at West Point. The most recent assault, he wrote, was the August 2008 coordinated suicide bombings of the Wah Cantonment Ordnance Factory, which he said is considered one of Pakistan's main nuclear weapons assembly sites. The other two attacks were in late 2007 on the Sargodha Air Base, which Gregory identified as a nuclear missile storage facility and the air base at Kamra, the article said. Abbas, however, said none of the military bases named were used to store atomic weapons. He said the Wah Ordnance Factory makes small arms and ammunition, Kamra is an air force facility and Sargodha is an air force ammunition dump for conventional weapons. "These are nowhere close to any nuclear facility," he said.

August 13

12 Taliban militants were killed when helicopter gunships pounded several hideouts of Taliban 'commander' Hakeemullah Mehsud at Orakzai Agency in FATA. "We targeted hideouts of Hekeemullah Mehsud," said Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. Military sources in Orakzai said that six of the bases in Tora Cheena and Chappar Ferozkhel areas had been razed. The sources said dead bodies of 12 slain Taliban militants were seen from helicopters.

Seven persons were killed in gunfights between Taliban militants and a Lashkar (militia) in South Waziristan.

A tribal elder - who led a militia against Al-Qaeda-linked foreign militants in South Waziristan in 2007 - his bodyguard and two passers-by were killed in a remote-controlled bomb explosion at Wana in South Waziristan. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but local Taliban commanders accused Al-Qaeda-linked foreign militants who were flushed out from Ahmedzai Wazir areas in the spring of 2007.

August 15

A Taliban suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a security check post at Waliabad near Charbagh in the Swat District, killing three soldiers and a civilian. "An explosives-laden vehicle was rammed into a security check post in Waliabad near Charbagh, killing three soldiers and a civilian," said an ISPR statement. "We believe the bomber was aiming to hit a target in Mingora, where locals celebrated Independence Day on a massive scale," said an unnamed security official.

Unidentified militants blew up three NATO oil tankers supplying fuel to the US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan at a terminal in Pishin District of Balochistan. A Police source said around 10 masked militants entered the terminal, held the watchman at gunpoint and planted remote-controlled bombs there. They also planted a bomb inside a parked vehicle, but the Bomb Disposal Squad defused it.

August 16

18 bodies of suspected militants were found dumped in various parts of the Swat District while SFs killed six militants and arrested 12 others elsewhere in the valley during a search operation. Official sources said 11 bodies were found dumped on the roadside in Kanju Dheri and Dewlai areas in Kabal sub-division. Eight of the bodies were recovered from the Kanju area. Three bodies were recovered from Islampur, one in Kota Aboha, another from Gumband Mera and two more were found in Gorai area. Another unconfirmed report said three more bodies were found in the valley, raising the total to 21. In an interview with the BBC Urdu service, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the slain men weren't in the custody of the SFs and the military had no hand in the killings. He also said people who had suffered at the hands of the militants might have killed them to take revenge. Since July 13 when the displaced people started returning to Swat, a total of 102 bodies have been found dumped on roadsides and on the banks of Swat River. Almost all of them were reportedly stated to be of the militants. The SFs claimed to have killed six more militants at Ningolai in Kabal. The slain militants were identified as Sher Alam, Umar Rahim, Rehmat Ali, Muhammad Rafiq, Nawab Ali and Aftab. The forces also arrested 12 suspected militants from various parts of the District.

A soldier was killed and three others sustained injuries in a suicide attack near a SFs checkpoint in the Swat District. According to the ISPR, a suicide bomber was moving towards the Naway Killay check-post when the soldiers asked him to stop. However, the bomber entered a house near the check-post and blew him up, injuring four soldiers. One of the soldiers later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Unidentified armed men killed 18 Taliban militants on the Wana-Ladha Road in South Waziristan. The slain militants were affiliated with the Mullah Nazir group. Taliban sources in Wana said bullet-riddled bodies of 18 militants were shifted to Wana in the evening. They said the militants had gone to the Paktika province in Afghanistan to fight the US-led coalition forces and were returning home when they were attacked by the armed men. The sources also said the militants had come back to Pakistan and were hoping to reach Shakai after passing through the territory of the Mehsud tribe. The militants, under the command of Meeradin, were reportedly traveling in two pickup trucks, when they were ambushed by unidentified assailants at the Shawangi area in the Ladha sub-division in the morning on August 15. Ladha is inhabited by the Mehsud tribesmen and is under the control of the Baitullah Mehsud-led TTP. A senior Taliban commander of the Mullah Nazir group said they would not say as to who killed their men and why. "Either the government, the Uzbeks or the Mehsud Taliban could be involved in their killing. But right now, we cannot say anything concrete," he said. Another senior Taliban commander later telephoned from Wana and denied reports about the killing of Mullah Nazir in the ambush. "There is no truth in these reports. I offered Maghrib prayers with him on Sunday and he was safe and sound. This man, Turkistan Bhittani, is spreading lies by claiming that Ameer Sahib (Mulla Nazir) has been killed by the Baitullah Mehsud group," claimed the Taliban commander and a close aide to Nazir. He termed it part of a malicious propaganda launched by pro-government commander Turkistan Bhittani to create differences between the militants belonging to the Ahmadzai Wazir and Mehsud tribes.

Three passers-by were killed and 25 others, including some women and children, sustained injuries when SFs resorted to indiscriminate firing after a roadside bomb blast in the Darga Mandi area of North Waziristan Agency. Tribal sources said unidentified militants had planted an improvised explosive device on Gulam Khan Road in Darga Mandi, which went off soon after a convoy of the SFs passed through the area. The SFs opened indiscriminate fire after the incident, killing three passers-by and injuring 25 others.

August 17

SFs said that they had killed 13 Taliban militants in Swat District and arrested 28 militants, including 20 who surrendered in Dir District. "Troops conducted a search operation in Shaheed Sar near Sar Qala, and destroyed the Taliban headquarters there... 7 Taliban were also killed," said the ISPR, adding that six more militants were killed in a search operation at Derai. Separately, 20 Taliban militants surrendered to the SFs in Dir.

A Taliban spokesman from Swat said that his men would soon step up attacks. "We stopped our activity for a few days, but will resume during or after Ramzan," said Muslim Khan over the telephone. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for two weekend suicide bombings in the Swat Valley, saying that the blasts were a message to the visiting US envoy Richard Holbrooke that the militants remained strong despite the recent Army gains there. The bombings were "a gift to Holbrooke," Muslim Khan The Associated Press from an unidentified location. He said the weekend bombings in Swat were avenging the alleged killings of militants in the Army custody.

Seven persons, including three children and two women, were killed and nine others sustained injuries in a bomb blast in a passenger vehicle at a petrol station in the Shabqadr sub-division of Charsadda District in the NWFP. Driver Zahid Khan was getting fuel in his pick-up at the Attock Filling Station on Michni Road near Shabqadr town, around 20 kilometers northeast of provincial capital Peshawar, when the explosion occurred. The vehicle was carrying passengers from Shabqadr town to Anbar sub-division of the nearby Mohmand Agency when the blast occurred. Leader of the Mohmand Agency-based Taliban, Qari Shakeel, reportedly claimed responsibility for the blast, saying they would continue such attacks on locals until the Government stopped raising armed militias against the militants.

The bodies of nine Policemen taken hostage in July 2009 by insurgents were discovered in Balochistan. "We have recovered nine bodies of dead policemen. They were kidnapped by the BRA," said senior Police officer Kaleem Ullah. The corpses were found in Naseerabad, some 390 kilometres southeast of provincial capital Quetta, and the Police officers were thought to have been killed about four days ago, Kaleem added. The insurgents had taken 24 local Police officials and labourers hostage in late July. Three Policemen escaped, and the bodies of 12 others have already been found. Sarbaz Baloch, a spokesman for the BRA, had earlier in August claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and deaths in a telephone call to reporters in Quetta. He demanded that the Security Forces leave the city.

In the fresh wave of target killing incidents in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, four persons, including a cardiologist, were shot dead in two separate places. Police said cardiologist Dr Abid Iqbal Zaidi was shot dead by unidentified armed men on the Fatima Jinnah Road when he reached his private clinic around 6pm (PST). The cause of the murder is yet to be confirmed, but the Police stated that it is an incident of target killing. A man and his two sons were shot dead by unidentified armed men on Sirki Road. Police said the owner of a welding shop, Sher Ahmed, was on his way home along with his two sons - Shabir Ahmed and Jalil Ahmed - when they were attacked. Police said some unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate firing with automatic weapons on them. While Jalil Ahmed died at the incident site, Sher Ahmed and Shabir Ahmed succumbed to their injuries in the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital.

Armed men shot dead Allama Ali Sher Hyderi, chief of the banned SSP, along with his associate Imtiaz Phulpoto at Khairpur in the Sindh province. Sources said Allama Hyderi was returning home after delivering a speech at a religious gathering in the Dost Muhammad Abro village within the limits of the Ahmedpur Police Station when he was attacked. Police sources said one of the attackers, identified as Aashiq Ali Jagirani, was also killed in retaliatory fire by Hyderi’s bodyguards.

The SSP leader’s murder triggered violence in major towns of Sindh. There were reports of aerial firing and armed SSP activists forced shopkeepers to close their shops. The Army and the Rangers were called out to assist the Police in maintaining the law and order. The protesters removed the main railway tracks, suspending train link to the upcountry. There were reports that the house of the suspected killer had been torched by the people in Luqman town. Two persons were killed and another sustained injuries in firing by paramilitary forces that tried to stop an angry mob from removing railway tracks.

Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi has been named as successor to Allama Hyderi. Allama Hyderi, who hailed from Khairpur, was the fourth SSP chief to be killed since it was formed in the late 1980s. After the Sunni outfit was banned by former President Pervez Musharraf in February 2002, it was operating under the name of Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jama’at.

Police arrested a key Taliban commander from Bhara Kahu in the national capital Islamabad. A police official told that Qari Saifullah, who was found injured and is being treated at a hospital, was a member of the TTP. He said Saifullah was a close associate of the slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and an accomplice of another high-profile terrorist, Fidaullah, who had been arrested by the Police sometime in June 2009. Saifullah reportedly told the Police he had been injured in a drone strike in South Waziristan. Police have also arrested Saifullah’s brother Zahid from the Secretariat Police precincts.

Pakistan asked India to share information that formed the basis of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s fears of more terrorist attacks allegedly being planned in Pakistan. "Acting Indian Deputy High Commissioner Mr P. Kumaran was called to the Foreign Office by Director-General of South Asia Afrasiab Hashmi and told that Mr Singh’s remarks warranted serious and prompt attention," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said. Addressing a conference of chief ministers on internal security in the Indian capital New Delhi, Manmohan Singh had said that there was a surge in infiltration and Pakistan-based terrorist groups were planning attacks in India. Hashmi is reported to have reminded Kumaran that both countries had agreed in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt to share information on terrorist threats. The joint statement issued at the end of the Gilani-Singh meeting in Egypt had said: "The two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats." Kumaran was reportedly told that Pakistan needed information before it could act against groups planning the attacks. "In all sincerity, we would request India to share information that they have and for our part we stand ready to cooperate fully in pre-empting any act of terror," Hashmi was quoted as saying. Combating terror, he claimed, required serious, sustained and pragmatic cooperation.

August 18

A militant on suicide mission rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into a check-post on the Bannu-Miranshah road in North Waziristan Agency in the evening, killing four Security Force personnel and injuring eight others. The bomber reportedly struck the Esha check-post located near Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan, which was manned by army and paramilitary personnel. An official said that an army soldier and three paramilitary personnel were killed in the attack.

Three militants were killed in a clash between the militants and the local Lashkar (militia) in lower Orakzai Agency. Tribal sources said militants belonging to the banned TTP clashed with the Lashkar of armed tribesmen in the Qazikhel and Storikhel areas. The clash continued for four hours and three militants belonging to Swat and South Waziristan were killed and several others injured. The bodies of four unidentified persons were found elsewhere in the Orakzai Agency. However, it was not known who killed the four men.

A tribal Lashkar (militia) in the Khwezai area of Mohmand Agency in FATA captured and handed over to the SFs a top militant commander and spokesman for the TTP Maulvi Omar. Maulvi Omar a.k.a. Said Muhammad was also deputy to Bajaur Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Muhammad engaged in fighting against the SFs since August 6, 2008. He used to reportedly sell perfumes in a pushcart in the Inayat Killay Bazaar in Bajaur Agency in the past and at one stage, studied and taught in a madrassa (seminary). In recent weeks, the TTP had appointed another spokesman named Azam Tariq, though Maulvi Omar insisted that he hadn’t been replaced.

August 19

SFs said that they had killed five Taliban militants in Bajaur Agency. "Taliban fired at a security convoy near Kuz Chamarkand ... troops retaliated and killed five Taliban," said the ISPR.

Unidentified armed men shot dead three persons, including a soldier of the Bajaur Levies, in the Shago area of Bajaur Agency.

The body of a suspected Al Qaeda leader was found in a house in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. According to officials, the body with multiple wounds was of Abdullah Noori, son of Abdul Qadir, an Algerian believed to be Osama bin Laden’s top aide. They said the man had been suffering from kidney ailment and was being treated by a private physician in a rented house in the Tehkal area on the University Road. Ten other people in the house were also arrested, but seven of them were later released. The other three are said to be foreigners, one of them from Algeria.

Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, a senior leader of the outlawed TTP, claimed to have taken over the leadership of the militant organisation on a ‘temporary basis’. He told the BBC Urdu Service he was now acting chief of the TTP, replacing Baitullah Mehsud for a ‘short time’ because he was ‘sick’. Maulvi Faqir claimed that Baitullah was ‘alive but sick’. "But even if Baitullah is killed it will not affect the Taliban movement," he added. About the reported dispute over succession, he said neither Mufti Wali Rehman nor Hakeemullah Mehsud had the authority to declare anyone as Baitullah’s successor. In a speech on his FM radio Maulvi Faqir accused the peace committee of Mohmand Agency of violating a ‘peace accord’ between militants and tribal elders by capturing TTP spokesman Maulvi Umar. He warned that the TTP would avenge Umar’s capture. "The Taliban will take action against those members of the peace committee who captured our spokesman," he said. Maulvi Omar, he claimed, was functioning as a journalist and his arrest would not affect the movement. He, however, said that despite the ‘violation’, the agreement would remain in force. A local militia captured Umar in Mohmand Agency in the night of August 17 and later handed him over to the Security Forces. Faqir told the BBC that Muslim Khan had been appointed TTP spokesman in place of Maulvi Omar. Muslim Khan is currently the spokesman of the Taliban in Swat.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) summoned the banned TTP Swat unit chief Maulana Fazlullah and 10 other militants to surrender or appear in the court within seven days. The ATC Judge Khalil Khan Khalil asked Fazlullah, who is the son-in-law of TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad, to surrender to the local Police or appear before the court, along with 10 other militants, within seven days to defend terror charges against him or else the court would initiate hearing against him and his associates under Section 19(10) of the Anti-Terrorism Act in absentia. The court issued summons for 11 militants, including Fazlullah, Yousaf, son of Khalid Khan, Tahir, son of Bihram, Hadi, son of Habib Khan, Muhammad Hussain, son of Nusrat Ahmed, Aziz, son of Fazal Majeed, Anwar, son of Jamshed, Qadir, son of Fazal Rahim, Sher Ali, son of Feroz, Ziaur Rehman, son of Naseebzada and Muhamamd Rasool.

August 20

Four bodies, believed to be of militants, were recovered from the Charbagh and Nawagai areas of Swat.

Dialogue with the Taliban is possible only if they lay down their weapons and accept the writ of the state, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. Talking to journalists in Islamabad, the Foreign Minister said the return of the internally displaced people from Swat was proof that the Taliban were on the run. He said the Government was democratically elected and "will never shut the door on dialogue". To a question, Qureshi said, "We have achieved great success by turning the people’s opinion against the Taliban and now the local population is rising against them and knows that the Taliban are a bad influence."

August 21

A pre-dawn drone attack killed at least 21 militants in North Waziristan Agency. According to sources, missiles fired by the suspected US pilotless plane hit a residential compound in Dandy Derpakhel village near Miranshah, frequented by militants mostly from the Punjab province. Militant sources claimed that women and children, and not their men, had been killed in the attack. The compound was adjacent to a large seminary set up by the Afghan militant ‘commander’ Jalaluddin Haqqani, said to be close to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. An unnamed official said the compound was used as a training centre for militants but he was not sure which group was running it. The air strike targeted Siraj Haqqani, a Taliban ‘commander’ blamed for masterminding ambushes on American troops in Afghanistan, intelligence officials said. It was unclear if Siraj Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, was among the people killed in the attack, the officials said, adding that three women were among the dead.

SFs killed at least 12 militants in different areas of Mohmand Agency and destroyed several of their hideouts. SF sources said at around 2:00 pm, two gunship choppers shelled militant strongholds in the Ghani Baba, Michni and Seperay areas of Yakkaghund sub-division. "Twelve militants were killed and four of their hideouts destroyed during the operation," the Frontier Corps said in a statement.

A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was besieged by the SF personnel in Kohat. Official sources said the Police were informed that a 15-year-old suicide bomber would attack a mosque or imambargah anytime in the city. The SF personnel spotted the bomber in a bazaar with two hand-grenades in his hand and a firearm on his shoulder, the sources said. Seeing the Police party, the bomber ran away and forced his entry into the house of Inayatullah Jan in BB Pakdaman Street and took his family members hostage. Later, the women and other members of the family, except one Safdar Hashmi, were allowed to go out of the house. Eyewitnesses said the only hostage, Safdar Hashmi, managed to escape from the house and the Police party headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police Abdullah Khan fired tear-gas shells and bullets at the house. The bomber later blew himself up when he couldn’t escape. The house also suffered damage in the explosion. Later, Safdar Hashmi, while talking to the media, said the bomber was 15-year-old and hailed from Punjab.

August 23

Three persons were killed and 15 others sustained injuries in a powerful suicide blast close to the house of the slain AI spokesman, Mobin Afridi, in the Momin Town area of Peshawar, the NWFP capital. The blast also destroyed four houses and damaged eight others in the street. "Three people, including two women, were killed and 15 others injured when the suicide bomber blew himself up in a street after he ran short of ammunition," said SSP Qazi Jamilur Rehman. The bomb disposal squad estimated around eight kilograms of explosives were used in the attack. A large number of ball bearings and nails were also used in the blast to increase its intensity. The SSP said the attack was probably linked to the blast in Hayatabad in the evening, which killed Ansar-ul-Islam spokesman Mobin Afridi and his associate Haji Khan. The suicide bombers perhaps wanted to attack the house of Mubin, where people had gathered to offer condolence to his brother Sahibzada, who had rushed from Saudi Arabia to attend the funeral, and other members of the family on his death, sources said.

Unidentified men killed pro-government tribal chief Malik Sarwar Khan Wazir and three others in South Waziristan. Sarwar was traveling from his home village of Dazha Ghundi to Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan, when gunmen attacked his vehicle, officials said, killing him, his son Bakhmal Khan, brother Gulzar and an uncle of ‘commander’ Nek Muhammad. However, the four persons had been killed along with Sarwar. Sarwar, a tribal chief, had played an important role in fighting against the Taliban in Wana.

The Taliban have killed chief Baitullah Mehsud’s father-in-law and other relatives on suspicion of spying on the former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief, the Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. Malik told in an interview that he had credible information to this effect. Recent media reports have suggested the Taliban had taken a number of Baitullahs’ relative’s hostage on suspicion that they might have given away the TTP leader’s whereabouts to the US, leading to his subsequent death in a drone strike in South Waziristan. Mailk also said the SFs had arrested three would-be suicide bombers from capital Islamabad in July 2009, who planned to attack the Parliament House. He told the channel that the SFs had foiled the terrorist plot that aimed to target the National Assembly building and other Government installations in the federal capital. Malik also said operations against the Taliban would continue during Ramzan. "There will not be a ceasefire during Ramzan. We are not interested in a ceasefire," he said. "The Taliban have not kept their commitments in the past. We will continue our targeted actions against them," the minister added.

Taliban militants in Pakistan are committed to helping the fight in Afghanistan and consider US President Barack Obama their "number one enemy", a top commander said amid uncertainty about whether a new leader had been appointed to head the TTP. Waliur Rehman made the remarks in an interview. Speaking on August 22 - before aides to another Taliban ‘commander’ said a second contender, Hakeemullah Mehsud, had been appointed the next chief - Rehman said Baitullah had given him full control over the TTP and that a new leader "would be chosen within five days". He did not refer to the claim that Hakeemullah had become the leader. Rehman is reported to have met the AP journalists in a forest near Makeen village in South Waziristan. "We are with Afghan Taliban. We will keep on helping them until America and its allies are expelled," he said, adding this did not mean an end to attacks in Pakistan. "American President Obama and his allies are our enemy number one… We will sacrifice our bodies, hearts and money to fight them," he said.

The ‘commander’ Faqir Mohammad, who had proclaimed himself as successor to the slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, on August 20, announced on August 22 that Hakeemullah Mehsud was the new leader of the TTP. "I am stepping down as leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban in the larger interest of the movement," Faqir Mohammad, the TTP leader from Bajaur Agency and Baitullah’s deputy, told reporters on phone from an undisclosed location. "There were a few problems on certain issues last week, but they have been resolved now," he stated. According to him, "I am the most senior leader of the TTP after Baitullah and the sacrifices I rendered for it are no less. However, due to some unavoidable reasons, I am stepping down. There is no factionalism within the TTP now." Faqir Mohammad claimed that a 42-member shura (executive council) of the TTP met in Orakzai Agency and it unanimously endorsed Hakeemullah as new leader of the Taliban in Pakistan. The shura appointed Azam Tariq the new spokesman for the TTP to replace Maulvi Omar, who was arrested by Security Forces in Mohmand Agency a few days ago.

August 24

SFs killed four militants during a search operation while 11 bullet-riddled bodies of the militants were found in the Sar Tiligram area in the Swat Valley. Sources said the SFs continued a search operation in Sar Tiligram area and killed four militants identified as Sherzada, Yasin, Sabir and Bakht Rawan, besides recovering 11 bullet-riddled bodies of the militants.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead Afghan journalist Janullah Hashimzada in the Jamrud area in Khyber Agency when he was on his way to Peshawar from Afghanistan. He was traveling in a passenger coach to Peshawar to reach his home in Hayatabad when four gunmen, driving a white colour car, intercepted the vehicle in the Surkamar area on the highway linking Pakistan to Afghanistan. Driver of the coach Abbas said the four gunmen came out of their car and forced him and the cleaner to disembark. "Then, two gunmen entered the coach and shot Janullah in the forehead four times, killing him on the spot," he said. Another passenger, Ali, also an Afghan national, sustained bullet injuries and was shifted to the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar. Janullah was the bureau chief in Pakistan for Afghanistan's Pashto TV channel, Shamshad.

August 25

Troops killed three Taliban militants and arrested seven others, while 11 locals - who were forced to get terrorist training - surrendered at Swat and Malakand in the NWFP. "Troops conducted a search operation in Taghan, Bishbanr near Gat and killed two Taliban, while another was killed and one arrested during a search operation in Asharbanr near Khawazakhela," said a statement by the ISPR.

TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud died in August 2009 after a US missile strike, his "successor", Hakeemullah Mehsud, confirmed, vowing revenge on the US for the attack. Hakeemullah also declared himself the new leader of the group. Disputing the US and Pakistani version of events, the Taliban said Baitullah had survived until August 23. "Baitullah was injured in a drone attack and died on Sunday afternoon," Hakeemullah told over the telephone from an undisclosed location." He remained unconscious after being seriously injured in a drone attack and died on Sunday. Now the shura [meeting of elders] has unanimously appointed me new head of the TTP," said Hakeemullah. "We will take revenge and soon. We will give our reply to this drone attack to America. The effects of our attack will go up to Washington," he added. Hakeemullah said Waliur Rehman had been named Taliban chief for South Waziristan. "All of the Taliban are united. The news about the differences and fighting are baseless and those spreading such type of news will face failure," he further added. The AP news agency said Wali had confirmed Baitullah's death and the announcement that Hakeemullah would lead the TTP.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik dismissed reports that a new TTP chief had been appointed as "all speculation", and said the group was in disarray. "It is all speculation until Hakimullah Mehsud himself comes forward and says that he [is] the TTP chief," he added. "Our information is that they have not been able to appoint anyone despite the lapse of so many days since Baitullah's death because now they are fighting among themselves," he further mentioned. Foreign Minster Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said he doubted the TTP had appointed a new leader. "My information is that there is no decision taken yet," Qureshi told a press conference at Istanbul in Turkey. "There are a lot of claimants. There is confusion. We have to wait and see who the next chief is going to be," he added.

August 26

Three persons belonging to Punjabi community were killed and three others critically injured in a targeted killing claimed by the BLUF at Jinnah Road of capital Quetta in Balochistan, when Baloch national parties observed a "black day" in addition to a shutter down strike on the third death anniversary of Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan Bugti, former Chief Minister and Governor of the province. All businesses, public and private institutions were shut down following the Balochistan National Front's call for a shutter down and wheel-jam strike.

Unidentified militants blew up an oil tanker carrying fuel to Afghanistan near a bridge along the Torkham border in the Khyber Agency of FATA. Border officials said the driver and his helper had gone to a nearby mosque to say their prayers when the tanker was blown up.

Richard Holbrooke, the top US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told that the deadly Taliban insurgency in both countries relies heavily on funding from the Persian Gulf. Such donations, he told, outpaced even the multibillion-dollar exports of opium and heroin from Afghanistan. "It seems to be ... individuals carrying money in their suitcases," he said. "Sometimes they are taking advantage of the pilgrimage. Sometimes from hawala. Sometimes from charities," he added.

August 27

A suicide bomber blew himself up as Security Force personnel gathered at sunset to break their daily fast (Muslims keep fast from dawn to dusk in the holy month of Ramadan), killing at least 22 soldiers and injuring 10 others at Torkham in the Khyber Agency of FATA near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. An injured soldier said that a man entered the compound where the soldiers had gathered and blew himself up when they offered him to break the fast with them. The bomber targeted soldiers from the Khyber Zakhakhel tribe, and sources said the political authorities of Torkham were tipped off about a week ago about the attack. A suicide bomber was also recently arrested from Torkham.

10 persons were killed and five others injured when a drone fired two missiles at a house in the Kanigaram area of Laddha tehsil (revenue unit) of South Waziristan Agency.

Seven Taliban militants were killed and four others arrested in a clash with the Police at Buner in the NWFP, a private TV channel quoted a local Police official as saying.

More than 80 percent of the 2.2 million IDPs from Swat and Malakand in the NWFP have now returned home, Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of the Special Support Group for the displaced, said. "There are those who are saying to us 'We will take you to the tunnels, we will take you to the caches, we will take you to the places where they have been storing ammunition and explosives and suicide jackets'," the relief official said. He also said, "Insurgencies don't go away in months, they go away in decades. We have seen this in our own neighbourhood - in Sri Lanka, India and Afghanistan - but this is the first time that we are talking about dealing with it so effectively in months."

August 28

Six militants and a minor were killed when gunship helicopters targeted a hideout of militants in the Charbagh area of Swat District. Acting on a tip-off, gunship helicopters targeted the base of militants near River Swat in the Charbagh area, killing six militants and injuring several others. A press release issued by the Swat Media Cell said the base was being used as a launching pad for preparing suicide bombers and using them for carrying out terrorist activities in Kabal, Kanju and Mingora city. Sources said a minor, identified as Ayaz, son of Fazal Rabbi, was killed while Ma'ab and Sajjad Ali were injured when helicopters targeted militant hideouts in Charbagh.

Five militants were killed in a clash with the SFs in the Thana area of Malakand Agency in the early hours. Official sources said unidentified militants opened fire on the convoy of the SFs on Palai Road, west of Thana, at 4 am, and the troops returned the fire, killing five militants. Some of the slain militants were reported to be foreigners. Five Kalashnikovs, a rocket launcher, rocket shells, five hand grenades, five wireless sets and explosive materials were also recovered from the militants.

The Lahore High Court has asked the authorities not to restrain the free movement of nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry also issued contempt or court notices to five Police and administration officials of Islamabad on Dr Khan's petition challenging his official protocol and terming it a violation of his fundamental rights. Petitioner's counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar submitted that Dr Khan had earlier filed a petition challenging his virtual house arrest by the Musharraf regime under the garb of providing security while the Islamabad High Court had declared him a free citizen. The counsel submitted that Dr Khan had agreed to a security protocol because the Government not only wanted to ensure his security owing to his sensitive status but the Islamabad High Court had also issued directions in this regard. The counsel submitted that the security protocol included conditions like informing the security agencies in advance of his movement. The authorities, however, restricted his movement to his house in violation of the court orders and the security package agreed with them. The court, after hearing the arguments, reportedly directed the Government not to restrain Dr Khan's movement in any manner.

The TTP claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Torhkam in the Khyber Agency that killed 22 Khasadar force personnel, saying it was their first retaliation for their former chief Baitullah Mehsud's death. As reported earlier, a suicide bomber blew himself up as troops gathered at sunset to break their daily fast in the holy month of Ramadan, killing 22 soldiers and injuring eight others at Torkham near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on August 27.

August 29

SFs killed at least 18 Taliban militants, including six would-be suicide bombers, during the ongoing offensive against the Taliban in Swat. Helicopter gunships were called in after intelligence and locals said a suicide attack mastermind was present in the Chaharbagh town of Swat. "At least six would-be suicide bombers were killed in the shelling by helicopter gunships. The place was being used as launching pad for training suicide attackers," an army statement said. The bullet-riddled dead bodies of six suspected Taliban were found in a village in Swat, eight kilometres from Mingora, Police said. "Six badly mutilated bodies were found from two different places at Odigram," Ghulam Farooq, a senior Police official said. The military sources said it continued search and clearance operations across Malakand and Swat. "Security forces carried out a search operation at Thana area and killed five terrorists during an exchange of fire," military sources added. Another Taliban militant was killed during an operation in Dandial.

August 30

16 Police recruits were killed and 11 others sustained injuries after a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body at the Mingora Police Station. The volunteers for the new community Police force were conducting drills in the yard adjacent to the station when the attacker detonated his explosives, said local Government administrator Atifur Rehman. Authorities were investigating reports the attacker - possibly in uniform - might have hidden among the dozens of recruits, he said. "Initial investigations suggest the attacker climbed the small boundary wall and blew himself up, but there is also a report the suicide bomber was already inside," he added.

18 militants were killed and several others were arrested during the ongoing military operation in the Charbagh sub-division of Swat District. Brigadier Tahir Hameed said search and clearance operations against the militants continued in Balash Banar, Gutt and Mangaltan areas during which 18 militants were killed and many others were arrested.

A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), his driver and two militants were killed in an ambush in the Karak District of NWFP. Police said DSP Shafqatullah Khattak, posted in the Anti-Terrorist Squad in Bannu District, was on his way to Latamber from Bannu when the militants rammed their vehicle with the Police van and at the same time opened indiscriminate fire on the Policemen. The Police retaliated and as a result of the collision and firing, DSP Shafqatullah, his driver Naeemullah Shah and two terrorists, Abdullah Noor and another person, whose name could not be ascertained, were killed.

Three militants were killed while eight others were arrested, four of them reportedly well-trained suicide bombers, during an encounter with the paramilitary FC soldiers at the Dosali checkpoint on the Esha-Razmak Road in North Waziristan Agency.

Several vehicles carrying supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan caught fire after a huge bomb blast followed by heavy firing on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border near Chaman in the Balochistan province. Police sources told APP that hundreds of heavy vehicles, mostly carrying supplies for the NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan, had to stop on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border near Chaman as all types of cross border movement had been suspended due to security reasons for the last two days.

August 31

SFs killed at least 15 Taliban militants in various clashes in the Swat District. One soldier was also killed in crossfire between the army and the Taliban. "The security forces conducted a search operation in Allahabad near Charbagh. In an exchange of fire with the terrorists, five Taliban and one soldier was killed," an ISPR statement said. The SFs also killed seven more Taliban militants and arrested 11 of them during a search operation in Maira. Further, three more Taliban militants were killed during an operation in Lundai Sarand.

At least 36 bodies, believed to be of militants, were found dumped in various locations of the Swat valley. Official sources said 30 bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped in the Manglawar and Banjot areas while the body of another militant, identified as Bacha Rahman, was recovered from the Nawagai area in Barikot. Three bodies were found in the Kanju area while two were recovered from Akhund Killay. Bodies of the Taliban militants were dumped on roadsides after being killed in mysterious circumstances, the sources said. So far a total of 230 bodies have been found dumped on roads and riversides in the Swat District.

Three militants were killed when two groups of Taliban exchanged fire in the Ferozkhel area of Orakzai Agency. Tribal sources said a group of militants belonging to the TTP unit in Darra Adamkhel allegedly attacked a seminary at Mehmoodabad in Lower Kurram, triggering retaliation by the Orakzai-based TTP.

September 1

At least 40 militants were killed as SFs launched a massive operation in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency. The operation, codenamed Bia Daraghlam (here I come again) was launched in the aftermath of a spate of beheading in the region, sources said. Locals said nearly 35 beheaded bodies were recovered from different areas of Bara over the past one month. Briefing journalists about the operation, sector commander of the SFs, Brigadier Faiz, and Political Agent of the Khyber Agency Tariq Hayat Khan said 40 militants had been killed and 43 were arrested. The arrested militants were produced before the media along with the arms seized during search operations. The two officials said four militant hideouts were destroyed during the operation. They also said the ground forces were supported by military helicopters that targeted the hideouts of militants. Locals said the banned LeI activists did not offer any resistance to the operation which was launched in the morning. They had reportedly already vacated their areas to take refuge in the nearby mountains.

Security Forces killed 15 Taliban militants in fresh clashes in the Swat District. According to the Swat media centre, 15 militants were killed in clashes in Kokari and Jameel on the outskirts of Mingora, while two SF personnel were wounded. Brigadier Salman Akbar, heading the military operation in Kabal sub-division, told journalists that about 105 Taliban militants - including a close aide of Maulana Fazlullah and a dozen trained suicide bombers - surrendered in Kabal. He said they also handed over 193 Kalashnikovs, one pistol, seven guns, one rocket launcher and other modern weapons. He added that militants were contacting SFs to surrender to the army. He said that around 165 militants had surrendered over the last three days.

September 2

16 more militants were killed and 35 others arrested on the second day of Operation Bia Daraglam in different parts of the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency. Two explosive-laden vehicles, houses of six commanders, including those of Abid Murad, Tayyab and Sabeel, and six hideouts of militants were destroyed in the operation. At least 59 militants have been killed and 78 others arrested during the operation so far. Political Agent Khyber Tariq Hayat Khan told reporters that the operation would continue till the neutralization of all terrorists.

Five persons were killed when artillery and mortar shells hit a residential area in the Mohmand Agency. Three persons, identified as Gul Mohammad, Sher Mohammad and Welayat, were killed when stray shells fired from an unknown direction hit their houses in Musa Kor. Two persons were killed in shelling in Ghaljo Dara.

Three people were shot dead in the industrial town of Hub in Balochistan. According to Police, Syed Walayat Hussain, his friend and a bodyguard were going to Karachi after attending a religious function in the Dureji sub-division when motorcycle borne assailants opened fire at their car on the Sakran Road. Police said it might be an incident of sectarian killing.

The Federal Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi was injured and his driver killed when unidentified men attacked his car near the GPO Chowk in Sector G-6 of capital Islamabad. The minister was attacked by two gunmen riding a motorbike when he was passing through GPO Chowk after he had left his office. According to an eyewitness, the men followed the minister's car, which was not accompanied by any security escort, soon after he left his office, firing at his vehicle at the Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Senior Superintendent Police Tahir Alam Khan said. The firing killed the minister's driver Muhammad Younis on the spot. The minister was reportedly shot in his left shin and his security guard was also seriously wounded. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in a brief comment it was a target attack. Later, the Police found a bag with two pistols, a Kalashnikov and hand grenades that the attackers had thrown a few hundred yards away from the incident site.

A division bench of the Lahore High Court granted bail to 11 activists of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD, the Lashkar-e-Toiba [LeT] front), who were in jail since the UN imposed sanctions on the JuD. Abdul Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif and others were arrested from Bahawalnagar under the Anti-Terrorism Act. During the course of hearing, Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Jamshed argued that the JD was a banned organisation but its activists continued collecting funds, distributing religious literature and doing other activities. However, the accused-petitioner's counsel Irshadullah Chatta stated that there was no notification regarding the ban on JD. He argued that an organisation could not be banned until a notification under Section 11 B was issued. He said the Government had already admitted in the Hafiz Saeed case that it had no substantial evidence against the JD. The bench comprising Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif and Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry after hearing the arguments granted them bail against surety bonds of PKR 100,000 each. The released JD activists included Muhammad Siddiq, Abbas Dogar, Saeed Amir, Arif Ali, Muhammad Akram, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Master Abdul Shakoor and Muhammad Anwar.

September 3

Three persons, including two FC personnel, were killed in an exchange of fire with gunmen from the BRA in Turbat District's Thump area. Official sources said an FC team was ambushed during a routine patrol. The insurgents opened fire at the FC vehicle on the Zubeda Jalal Road, killing the two soldiers. The FC troops consequently retaliated and killed one of the attackers. Murtaza Baig, a spokesman for the FC in provincial capital Quetta, confirmed the attack and added that three FC troopers had also been injured in the clash. However, unverified local accounts suggested that six FC soldiers had been killed, but the figure could not be independently confirmed. The BRA has claimed responsibility for the attack. The slain insurgent was identified as Meer Jan Miral, reportedly a Balochi poet.

A militia (Qaumi Lashkar) killed three militants in an exchange of fire in the Kabal sub-division of the Swat District, while seven militants were arrested in the area during a search operation by the SFs. Sources said the militiamen traded fire with the militants in the Galoch area in Kabal, killing three unidentified militants. Besides, bodies of two militants, identified as Rozi Khan and Ansar, shot dead by unknown persons, were recovered in the Panr and Haji Baba areas.

September 4

SFs claimed to have killed two militants in the Ambar area while one Mohmand Rifles trooper was killed and two others sustained injuries during a search operation in the Baizai sub-division of Mohmand Agency. Sources said the SFs exchanged fire with the militants for about three hours in Ambar area early in the day, killing two militants. There were reports that military helicopters bombarded and destroyed suspected hideouts of the militants in Atam Killay, Lakhkar Killay and Tani area in Baizai near the Afghanistan border.

Five terrorists were killed and 24 others were arrested during a clash with the Security Forces in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency in the FATA.

September 5

At least 43 militants were killed and several others were injured in a military operation in Tirah valley and Kambarkhel areas of Khyber Agency. Troops pounded Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) bases in Gogrina and Sandapal areas of Tirah valley. An LI centre - being used as a hideout and training facility - was destroyed, and at least 35 militants killed in that attack. Official sources said six militants were killed in Kambarkhel area of the Bara tehsil (revenue division), while two suspects were arrested from Shakas area. Security sources added that 15 houses were also demolished in Kambarkhel area of Khyber Agency's Bara tehsil.

September 6

At least 33 militants were killed when the SFs targeted two militant centers - Tarkhokas Camp and Narai Baba Markaz - on the sixth day of the counter-insurgency operation Operation Bia Daghalam at Khyber Agency in the FATA. "Security forces ... targeted Tarkhokas Camp [and] Narai Baba Markaz," said the FC in a statement. "Both centres and six vehicles ... [were] destroyed. Thirty-three militants ... [were] killed," added the FC. AFP quoted FC spokesman Major Fazl Rehman as saying that helicopter gunships and fighter jets strafed the militant boltholes, with the strikes targeting the Lashkar-e-Islam outfit.

Three Policemen were shot dead by unidentified militants at Hasan Abdal in Punjab in apparent act of targeted killing, a senior Police Officer said. The victims were identified as Muhammad Yaseen, Bashrat Shah and Muhammad Naeem. "The police officials were sleeping in the guardroom after taking the pre-dawn meal when they were shot dead," Police Officer Arshad Mahmood said. "All had a single bullet wound to their forehead. It appears to be a targeted killing," he added.

The SFs killed three Taliban militants and arrested 12 others from various parts of Swat in the NWFP. "On a tip off, security forces conducted a search and cordon operation in Liluani near Alpurai. In an exchange of fire, three Taliban were killed and two were apprehended," an ISPR statement said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani revealed that the terrorists who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3 were financed by the LTTE. Gilani said that he had been told by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse during his recent visit to Libya that the LTTE had funded the terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including the commando-style attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore's Liberty market roundabout. The Prime Minister said that both countries were investigating this possibility, adding that the LTTE may have funded other attacks in Pakistan as well. He also said that Interior Ministry officials would visit Sri Lanka to follow up on this lead.

September 7

SFs killed 10 militants in the remote Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on the seventh day of Operation Bia Daraghlam. Security officials said 12 houses being used by militants had been destroyed in the Akakhel, Shalobar, Malikdin Khel and Sipah areas of Bara, while a militant stronghold and five hideouts were destroyed in Tirah valley.

A missile fired by a US drone hit a house and a madrassa (seminary), killing at least five persons and wounding six others, security officials said. "The strike targetted a madrassa and an adjoining house in Machikhel village in North Waziristan," a security official told. "At least four people were killed and six others injured," the official said.

Five soldiers were killed when a remote-controlled bomb exploded in South Waziristan, a day after troops killed 33 Taliban militants as part of a weeklong campaign in the Khyber Pass, officials said. The blast struck a routine military patrol en route to Wana from Tayarzai. "The patrol was sent ahead of a military convoy to check the security on the road and a bomb planted by the Taliban went off and killed five soldiers," an intelligence official said.

The former ISI chief Khalid Khwaja said that Osama bin Laden introduced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief to the Saudi royal family in the late 1980s, and - during a meeting - the former Prime Minister had asked the al Qaeda chief to provide employment to Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia. Khwaja - who was close to Nawaz Sharief in the late 1980s and early 1990s - made the claim in an interview. "During his first visit to Saudi Arabia as chief minister of Punjab in the late 1980s, no one from the royal family gave Nawaz importance," he said. "Thereafter, on Nawaz's request, Osama introduced him to the royal family… A close aide of the Sharif family and I arranged at least five meetings between Nawaz and Osama in Saudi Arabia," added Khwaja.

September 8

24 militants were killed and their hideouts destroyed in the counter-insurgency Operation Bia Daraghlam at Bara in the Khyber Agency. "Security forces killed at least 24 militants and destroyed two militant headquarters and two hideouts," said a statement by the Frontier Corps.

At least seven people - including four children who were on their way to school - were killed when unidentified militants tried to abduct the schoolchildren in the Lower Orakzai area of FATA.

In the Orakzai Agency, six militants were killed and four hideouts destroyed in air strikes at a village east of Kalaya.

A US missile strike from a drone killed at least 10 Taliban militants in North Waziristan. "The strike targeted a Taliban compound in Dargamandi village of North Waziristan, killing 10 militants," a senior security official told. Another official confirmed the casualties, and said a US drone fired two missiles at the compound. He said it was not immediately clear whether any "high-value targets" were present in the area at the time. It was reportedly the second US missile strike in North Waziristan in less than 24 hours.

Suspected Taliban militants set ablaze eight oil tankers near the Western Bypass in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, when those tankers were carrying fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan. It is the first such attack in Quetta.

September 9

Troops killed 15 Taliban militants during operations in the Swat area of NWFP. "Fifteen Taliban were killed in Banjut, Jambil and surrounding areas during a search-and-cordon operation," said the military in a statement, adding that a huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosives was also seized during raids. The ISPR said a soldier was killed in fighting.

Three persons were killed and two others critically injured when unidentified militants opened fire at the houses of pro-Government Bugti tribesmen in Loti area of Dera Bugti District in Balochistan. According to the local Police and hospital sources, the armed men, who were on a motorcycle, fired at the houses killing three persons, including a couple.

Three suspected Taliban militants were killed after they attacked a Police vehicle on patrol at unspecified place in FATA. Police also seized six grenades, a klashinkov, a gun and a pistol.

September 10

21 Taliban militants, including six foreign nationals, were killed and 14 others arrested by the troops in Swat. Security sources said the Taliban militants were killed during a search operation in Banjot. According to the sources, six of those killed are said to be Uzbeks holed up in a house. The Swat Media Centre confirmed 15 deaths in the area.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in an interview that Pakistan is still studying the evidence provided by India against the LeT chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and could not take action against him on the basis of "hearsay". Malik also said India must stop blaming Pakistan for not being cooperative in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks case. He attributed any delays to "foot-dragging" by New Delhi in providing information the Pakistani investigators had asked for.

Pakistani Army said at least 135 militants - including local commanders Murad, Alam Shah, Habibur Rehman and Tehseen - have so far been killed in the counter-insurgency Operation Bio Daraghlam at Bara in Khyber Agency. Also, 19 militant centers and 119 houses owned by militants have been destroyed. Troops have also confiscated arms and ammunition - including 129 sub-machineguns, 167 rifles, 53 Kalakuf rifles, 121 pistols, eight grenades, rocket fuses, and 50,070 rounds of 30-bore pistols. Hashish, opium, cellular phones, generators, passports, batteries, cars, motorcycles, foreign currency and computers have also been seized.

September 11

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that no dossier on Balochistan was handed over to the Indian Prime Minister Manmonah Singh. "No, we didn't. Actually, we flagged the issue on Balochistan. We asked for a positive attitude and asked for non-interference inside Balochistan," he said.

The UN said it was providing assistance to more than 100,000 people displaced by the military operation in Waziristan. Citing Pakistani authorities, a UN press release said over 128,000 people uprooted from Waziristan had been registered, while thousands more, whose places of origin have yet to be verified, still remained.

September 12

The SFs, backed by helicopter gunships, killed at least 22 terrorists in the Tirah and Sandapal areas of Khyber Agency in the FATA during the ongoing operation against Taliban-linked militants. Official sources said 12 vehicles and three Taliban hideouts were also destroyed in the operation.

Unidentified militants shot dead three Shinwari tribesmen on the main road in Landikotal. Two of the deceased were brothers, identified as Arshad and Jamshed Shinwari. One of them was the son-in-law of former senator Hafiz Abdul Malik, who is a brother of Zakat and Usher Minister Noorul Haq Qadri. The three men were driving from Torkham to Peshawar when they were attacked near Khyber Takya.

The SFs shot dead eight Taliban militants, including three Afghans, and injured nine others during operations in Swat and Malakand areas of the NWFP. A security officer was also killed and another injured in the clashes, the ISPR said. Sources said that the SFs arrested nine militants, while 12 others surrendered to them.

Five militants and a trooper were killed when the troops carried out a search operation at Samter near Banjot. One soldier was injured, while nine militants were arrested in the incident.

Two Policemen were injured in a suicide blast near Doaba Police Station in the Hangu District of NWFP. An eyewitness said the suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into the main gate of the Police Station five minutes before evening prayers during the Ramadan season. They said the militant failed to enter the Police station and blew himself up at the gate, injuring two Policemen.

September 13

Three troopers were killed and two others wounded and three vehicles destroyed, when a bomb blast targeting a security convoy was triggered in the Mandi Kas area of Khyber Agency. The roadside blast also injured two SF personnel and destroyed three vehicles. The SFs cordoned off the area following the attack and at least three people were killed when troops pounded the area.

Four people were killed and three others injured when a landmine exploded in the Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti in Balochistan. The mine went off as Ahmed Ali, along with his family, rode over it on an ox-drawn cart, District Police Officer Ashfaque Jamali said.

Two Taliban militants and a soldier were killed at Kuz Bamakhela near Matta in Swat, when troops conducting a search operation were attacked by the Taliban.

September 14

27 Taliban militants were killed in clashes with the SFs in the Malakand area of NWFP. The sources said that about 15 Taliban militants were killed in clashes in Charbagh. The dead bodies of four Taliban militants were also found from Charbagh, said officials. The sources said that Taliban fleeing Batkhela clashed with troops in Derai Jolgraham. At least eight Taliban militants were reportedly killed in that clash. A trooper was also killed in the fighting.

Military officials said that about 152 Taliban militants surrendered before the SFs in the Swat District.

Eight militants and a solider were killed during fighting in the Kamarkhel area of Bara tehsil (revenue unit) in the Khyber Agency. The Security Forces cleared the area after intense fighting in Naraikarawal village, where militants were holed up in a house. The militants and soldier were killed in a gun battle, said the officials. A militant 'commander' was also killed in the gun battle.

A US drone fired a missile targeting a car in the Mir Ali tehsil (revenue unit) of North Waziristan Agency, killing four persons and injuring one. The missile hit the car around 5am (PST) when it was passing through Khushali Turikhel village - 30 kilometres east of the Agency headquarters Miranshah. According to unconfirmed report, there were two foreign nationals among the dead.

September 15

At least five Taliban militants were killed and four others wounded in air strikes on hideouts at Bajaur Agency in FATA, which also destroyed an illegal FM radio station and bunkers. Official sources said the strikes were carried out in Darra, Chinar and Jirga areas.

Three Taliban militants were killed and 18 others arrested in the ongoing military offensive at Swat and Malakand in NWFP. According to the Swat Media Centre, SFs conducted a search operation in Mangaltan, killing three Taliban militants.

September 16

A top Taliban 'commander', identified as Sher Muhammad Qasab, was arrested and three of his sons were killed by the troops at Chaharbagh in the Swat District. "Wanted terrorist commander Sher Muhammad Qasab, whose duty was to behead security personnel and anti-Taliban civilians and carried a head money of Rs 10 million, was arrested during an operation. Qasab was captured injured," the military said in a statement. Qasab's arrest followed earlier arrest of Muslim Khan and Mehmood Khan, two of his associates and close aides of the Swat Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah. An Army official said that Qasab "was running a slaughter centre at Chaharbagh where he himself used to slaughter opponents and security personnel."

September 17

Troops killed 10 Taliban militants, including a local Taliban 'commander', in a pre-dawn exchange of fire near a river at Swat. The Taliban militants were trying to cross a river at night and infiltrate Mingora when Police and troops intercepted them, said the military in a statement from Swat. "Police and army acted jointly, and as a result of an exchange of fire, 10 Taliban were killed," said the military. Residents who identified the slain militants said they included an important local Taliban 'commander' identified as Amjad Ali.

Pakistani officials said an al Qaeda 'operations chief' in Pakistan and an Uzbek 'commander' were believed to be killed in the US missile strikes in North Waziristan in early September 2009. The 'operations chief' was identified as Ilyas Kashmiri and the Uzbek militant as Nazimuddin alias Yahyo.

The authorities registered two cases against LeT chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed on charges of delivering anti-State sermons and collecting charity to fund terrorist activities. The cases were reportedly registered in Faisalabad with the Madina Town Police Station and the People's Colony Police Station in Punjab province.

September 18

30 people were killed and more than 50 injured in a suicide attack in Kohat District of NWFP. At least 13 shops were also destroyed, and shockwaves were felt as far as a kilometre away, witnesses said. "Some 30 people have so far been killed ... it is suspected the attack was carried out using an explosives-laden car," said senior Police officials. Reuters reported that the bomb was believed to have contained about 150 kilogrammes of explosives. Locals put the death toll at around 40. The blast took place in Kacha Pakka area, 17 kilometres from Kohat city. Shopkeepers said most of the victims were Shias and coalminers waiting for buses. "It appears the attack was carried out to target Shias," they said. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of one of their leaders. "We carried out the attack to avenge the killing of Muhammad Amin," Usman Haider, claiming to be a spokesman for the outfit, told BBC over telephone.

Unidentified militants opened fire at the funeral procession in Kohat, killing four people. The men reportedly opened fire during the funeral of a man killed in suicide bombing in the Kacha Pakka area.

Troops killed 13 militants during an operation in Khyber Agency's Tirah valley and Dabori area of the Orakzai Agency in FATA. SFs also destroyed four vehicles and two militants' hideouts during an operation in the Dabori and Sandapal areas of Orakzai Agency.

The US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, said the partnership between Washington and Pakistan was indispensable and reaffirmed the US President Baraka Obama administration's commitment to help Pakistan counter extremism along its northwestern border with Afghanistan. "We will support [Pakistanis in] every way we can, in the [field of] media and everywhere else. We are not going to set up American broadcasting stations… We look forward to [the service] contributing to public debate in this democratic country," he said.

September 19

Five passengers were killed when Taliban militants opened fire on a vehicle in Swat. "Five passengers were killed near Jerona village in Malakand due to the Taliban's unprovoked firing on a pick-up van," according to an ISPR statement.

September 20

Troops killed eight Taliban militants and arrested 48 others in Swat. Among those arrested was also a first cousin of former Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan, who is already in custody.

At least four people were killed and four others injured, when unidentified militants opened fire at Pat Bazaar in the Hangu District of NWFP, where people were assessing damages to the shops blown up by a bomb blast.

Pakistan's law enforcement agencies are searching for 83 high profile terrorists wanted for various crimes, ranging from the attack on former President Pervez Musharraf to fanning the separatist movement in Balochistan. According to a list maintained by the Interior Ministry, 41 of the most wanted terrorists belong to Punjab, 21 to Sindh, 13 to Balochistan and eight to the NWFP. Of the 83 terrorists, Bramdagh Bugti tops the list with 31 information reports registered against him. The available data shows the majority of the terrorists belong to various sectarian and terrorist organisations, including the HuJI, SSP, LeJ and Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP). The majority of the "most wanted" belong to the LJ and the SMP and are wanted in various high profile cases, including assassination attempts targeting Musharraf, former premier Shaukat Aziz and the Karachi Corps commander; the blasts at the Sheraton hotel and foreign embassies; arms smuggling; target killings of rival groups, doctors, Police and intelligence officials and personnel; kidnapping for ransom; and attacks on imambargahs (Shia places of worship) and mosques.

September 21

Police officers foiled a plan to assassinate the NWFP Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak in Tatalai District, when they confronted four militants in a gun battle that ended with a teenage suicide bomber blowing himself up.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas were the focal point of terrorism and added that if the Taliban gets control over Afghanistan again, then the Al Qaeda would stage a come back. In a television interview, she said that US Government aims at ensuring protection to the US and its allied countries from the terrorists holed up in Pakistan-Afghanistan bordering areas.

September 22

At least 26 suspected militants were killed and several others injured, when gunship helicopters pounded militant hideouts in the Spina Tigha and Makeen areas of South Waziristan.

Eight suspected militants were killed in clashes with the SFs in the Razmak area of North Waziristan. Sources said a security checkpost in Upper and Lower Kofar in North Waziristan came under attack by some 600 militants. In the ensuing clashes, eight suspected militants were killed.

September 23

At least five militants were killed and four Security Force personnel wounded during a clash at Malakand Division in NWFP.

The factions of Pakistani and Iranian "spy services" are supporting Taliban that carry out attacks on coalition troops, Washington Post quoted top US and NATO Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley Mc Chrystal as saying. In a detailed analysis of the military situation delivered to the White House, the US military commander reportedly said he had evidence that the Taliban in Afghanistan were being aided by Pakistan's ISI and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He said they were contributing to the external forces working to undermine US interests and destabilise the Government in Kabul. "Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan," Mc Chrystal wrote, adding that senior leaders of the major Taliban groups were "reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI." "There is a mixture of motives and concerns within the ISI that have accounted for the dalliances that have gone on for years" with insurgent groups, Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA counter-terrorism official was quoted as saying.

The US Congress approved USD 2.376 billion in aid for Pakistan. According to a television channel, the aid was meant for the fiscal year 2008-09, adding that the US Government had also presented a USD 2.282 billion aid bill in the Congress for the fiscal year 2009-10. The assistance included both military and non-military aid.

September 24

Suspected Taliban militants killed seven members of a pro-Government tribal Lashkar (militia) at Janikhel area in the Bannu District of NWFP. The victims included tribal chief Malik Sultan, who was raising a militia against the Taliban in the region. "All seven were killed on the spot," Bannu District Police Officer Iqbal Marwat said. In retaliation, militiamen killed nine Taliban militants. Two Khasadar (a local Security Force) personnel were also killed in the skirmishes.

Taliban militants killed seven tribal chiefs. Their bodies were found from various parts of Bannu.

Troops killed eight Taliban militants while two volunteers of a local Lashkar (militia) were killed during operations in the Swat and Malakand areas of NWFP, the ISPR said. "Eight terrorists were killed by security forces in the Palai area near Dargai on Thursday. Two security forces personnel were also injured in the firing," the ISPR said. It said the Taliban attacked the SF personnel in Sar Colony and killed two Lashkar members.

A suspected US drone strike on premises allegedly operated by an Afghan radical killed 10 suspected Taliban militants in North Waziristan. "Ten dead bodies were recovered from the debris of the house and two Taliban were wounded in the attack," said an unnamed security official. "The target was a compound of Haqqani's men. According to our reports all of the dead belong to the Haqqani network," the official said. The area is considered a stronghold for the Taliban and Afghan former Soviet resistance commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, around five kilometres northwest of Miranshah. The building acted as an office where Taliban militants would come to receive orders and rest between bouts of fighting across the border in Afghanistan, local residents and intelligence officials said.

The Jama'at-ud-Da'awa [the LeT front] chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed has neither been formally arrested nor put under house arrest, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tariq Saleem Dogar said, adding, that the Police had merely "restricted his movement". The IGP also claimed that Punjab Police had solved all major cases of terrorism, including the suicide bombing targeting the 15 building in Lahore and other attacks in Rawalpindi and had arrested suspects. "The involvement of the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing in any incident of terrorism in Punjab has yet to be determined as investigations are underway and all those arrested so far are Pakistanis," added Dogar.

September 25

Troops killed 10 Taliban militants in the Nawaz Kot locality of Razmak area at North Waziristan Agency in FATA. Official sources said that Taliban militants fired 12 missiles on Razmak Army Camp, but no casualties to SFs were reported. SFs retaliated, killing 10 Taliban militants and injuring several others.

The Taliban movement is stronger than ever, despite the killing of its top commander and will stage more suicide attacks if the Army launches another offensive against it, a top Taliban 'commander' Qari Hussain Mehsud said. Qari Mehsud, known for training Taliban suicide bombers, met with an AP reporter on September 24 at a secret location in North Waziristan. "Our movement has gained more strength after the martyrdom of Baitullah Mehsud," he said, adding, "We are united." Mehsud said he had been appointed the latest spokesman for TTP's new chief, Hakimullah Mehsud. He acknowledged leading a group of suicide bombers who he said would act if Pakistan proceeds with military operations in the FATA.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that India would be responsible for the consequences if it did not share information regarding any future terrorist acts being planned, a private TV channel stated.

September 26

Two suicide attackers separately rammed their explosives-laden vehicles into a Police station in Bannu and a military-owned commercial bank in Peshawar cantonment area of the NWFP, killing at least 23 people and injuring around another 200, officials said. At least 10 people were killed in the attack in Peshawar, while seven, including two Policemen, were killed in the assault on the Bannu Police station. But a Police official in Bannu said 13 people had been killed. Around 94 people were injured in Peshawar and 64, including 31 Policemen, in Bannu. "It was a car suicide blast and according to our calculations 100 kilograms of explosives were used," Shafqat Malik, bomb disposal squad chief, said at the incident site of the Peshawar attack. "The suicide bomber sitting inside the car hurled a grenade and then he detonated himself and the car," Malik said, describing the target as a branch of a bank run by an Army welfare trust. Eyewitnesses said Police arrested two suspicious persons from the site of Peshawar blast, which occurred some 300 metres away from the headquarters of the 11 Corps and the US Consulate in the high-security zone. The TTP claimed responsibility for the Bannu attack and threatened to unleash bigger attacks on the Government to avenge the killing of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in August 2009.

Four persons, including two Policemen, were shot dead in various incidents of violence in Gilgit following a blast in a local bookshop. Officials said the explosives were placed in a bookstore in a busy market in Gilgit and the explosion killed one person and injured four others. Following the blast, enraged protestors started pelting shops with stones and one of the groups clashed with the Police as well, in which Superintendent Ali Sher was shot dead. A Police official was also killed when protesters fired at a Police van. Police said a 15-year-old boy, Kamran Hussain, was shot dead in the clashes.

September 27

The death toll in the September 26 suicide attacks in NWFP increased to 27 with the recovery of more dead bodies in the debris of the Bannu Police Station and the death of some of those critically wounded in the attack. Two suicide attackers reportedly rammed their explosives-laden vehicles into a Police station in Bannu and a military-owned commercial bank in Peshawar cantonment area separately.

September 28

12 Taliban militants were killed in a clash with the SFs at Razmak in North Waziristan. The clash erupted after Taliban fired rockets at the Shawaal Rifles Camp - 75 kilometres from Miranshah - killing two troopers and injuring five others. Official sources said at least "110 missiles have been fired at the army camp over the last 24 hours."

Six Taliban militants were killed and nine others injured when helicopter gun ships targeted hideouts at Upper Orakzai in FATA. Officials said the strikes - which targeted Ghalju, Mulla Pati and Khadezai areas - destroyed three Taliban hideouts.

Four persons, including a prominent anti-Taliban cleric, were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a car at Bannu in NWFP. "The attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into a vehicle carrying pro-government local leader Abdul Hakeem," said Police Official Iqbal Marwat. Witnesses said Hakeem was on his way to office when the bomber struck.

Local peace volunteers killed 10 Taliban militants, including 'commander' Momin alias Malang, in the Barikot tehsil (revenue unit) of Swat, even as troops arrested 10 Taliban militants and 10 others surrendered. A volunteer was also killed in the clash.

Troops handed over security arrangements in Mingora and other parts of Swat to the Police, and decided to wind up unnecessary check posts.

Rejecting US complaints that the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Omar was operating from Quetta in Balochistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said there is no "Quetta shura" in the country. "Over and again this topic has been coming up. But according to us the Quetta shura does not exist in Quetta," he claimed. "What we are requesting the US and the UK and all other stakeholders is to please give us real-time information. If you know that they are present you must be knowing their names, details ... if there is any sign of Quetta shura, we will smash it," he added.

September 29

Two suspected US drone attacks killed nine Taliban militants, while seven other militants were killed in air strikes and military action in different parts of Waziristan. The first drone attack targeted the house of local Taliban 'commander' Ifran Mehsud in Sararogha, a village northwest of Wana in South Waziristan. "A missile from a US drone fired on the compound of Irfan Mehsud killed five militants and injured six," said a security official in the area. He did not know if Irfan was among the dead. The security official said the spy plane unloaded two missiles on the compound, adding that reports suggested three of the dead could be Uzbeks. Another drone attack at Danday Darpa Khel - four kilometres north of Miranshah in North Waziristan - killed four Afghan militants and wounding two others. The house targeted belonged to Emarati, an Afghan national, and the Afghan militants killed in the missile attack were said to be from the Jalaluddin Haqqani group.

The Pakistan Air Force jet fighters bombed Taliban bunkers in Kotkai, killing three militants in the strike. The military also targeted the Makeen area with long-range artillery, destroying three hideouts and killing four militants.

There are more than 10,000 Taliban militants present in Waziristan, including Uzbeks and other foreign militants, a private television channel quoted Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Athar Abbas as saying. Abbas said the military operation was not aimed against any specific tribe or region but was launched to wipe out terrorist networks such as the TTP, and other coalitions of local and foreign Taliban in the Tribal Areas.

At least five militants were killed during a clash between two rival groups of the Lashkar-e-Islam outfit in the remote Tirah valley of Khyber Agency in FATA.

September 30

Two US drones fired one missile each at two vehicles Norat village - 20 kilometers east of Miranshah - on the Miranshah-Bannu Road in North Waziristan, killing five Taliban militants and injuring six others.

The entire Taliban leadership is in Afghanistan, said a Taliban 'commander' Hayatullah Khan. "Pakistan is not safe for us. More of our people have been captured in Pakistan than in Afghanistan so everybody is here including Mullah Omar," Hayatullah Khan, who said he was speaking from Afghanistan, although he declined to be specific, said. He also stated that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar was not in Pakistan and the US was only saying he was there to justify an expansion of its drone missile strikes. "The Americans are making the Quetta shura an excuse for an expansion of their drone strikes to Balochistan, nothing else," claimed Khan.

October 1

At least two Taliban militants were killed and several troopers injured when a Taliban militant blew himself up during a raid at Swat. "Security forces conducted a raid ... in Toprai near Gat. During the raid on a house, one of the two Taliban inside the house - who was wearing a suicide jacket - detonated the explosives strapped to his body, killing himself and the other Taliban and injuring two soldiers," said the ISPR.

October 2

Troops killed 27 alleged militants at Khyber Agency in FATA. According to sources in the Frontier Corps, attack helicopters shelled militant training centres in the Tirah valley of Bara District, killing 27 militants including two key commanders Ghulam Nabi and Farooq Swati. Two hideouts, three caves and 19 vehicles belonging to the militants were also destroyed during the operation.

Three militants were killed in a search operation at Zulamkot-Serai of Swat District. An ISPR statement said the SFs also conducted search operations in Shah Dheri and arrested local Taliban 'commander' Rehmat, besides arresting five militants at Shahid Khapa near Peochar and Sarsani.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari amended the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997. Any intimidation or terrorising the public, social sectors, business community and preparing or attacking the civilians, government officials, installations, Security Forces or law enforcement agencies can be tried under the amended Act.

October 4

The army killed nine Taliban militants - including three key commanders -in the ongoing military operation in Swat. According to the Swat Media Centre, six militants - including three commanders identified as Kota Younas, Noor Amin and Fazal Rabi - were killed in a clash with troops in Banjar village. The troops also killed three Taliban militants in the Bazdara area of Malakand. A Lashkar (militia) member was also killed in Bazdara.

A senior Afghan Taliban commander has confirmed that Uzbek militant commander Qari Tahir Yuldashev was killed in the US drone attack during the last week of August 2009 in South Waziristan. "Its true he is dead. Unfortunately he was staying at the same house which was struck by the drone in South Waziristan in August," the Taliban commander acknowledged when contacted by phone. Though he did not mention the village where Tahir Yuldashev was killed, he said the incident happened during the last week of August in South Waziristan. Other militant sources, however, said the Uzbek commander died in Kaniguram in South Waziristan, a place considered relatively safe for Taliban militants. The Taliban commander said Tahir moved to the adjoining South Waziristan after frequent US drone attacks in Mirali in North Waziristan in which his men suffered heavy losses. He lived in Ladha and Makeen in South Waziristan for sometime but then moved to another town when US Predator planes started focusing on known strongholds of the Taliban there.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said an operation against the Baitullah Mehsud group had already started and its training centres had been pounded by aircraft and artillery. He said various roads leading to South Waziristan had been closed but no decision had been taken about a ground operation.

October 5

Security Forces killed eight Taliban militants and arrested 13 others in Malakand in NWFP.

Five militants were killed when helicopter gunships targeted their hideouts on the Gurguri hilltop in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency. The helicopters shelled the hideouts for over two hours after militants attacked Fort Saloop, eight kilometres west of Bara Bazaar. Three soldiers were injured when rockets hit the fort, officials said. However, local people said five troopers had been injured.

A suicide bomber targeted the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) office in Islamabad, killing five persons, including a UN diplomat and two women employees. Six other staff members were injured. The terrorist is reported to have entered the WFP building in Frontier Corps uniform through the small gate. He walked to the reception and blew himself up at 1217 hours, an investigation agency source said. The WFP office is located in a tightly-guarded residential area of the national capital. The dead included a UN diplomat and Iraqi national Bootan Ali, in charge reception Gul Rukh, assistant in charge reception Farzana Barkat, Abdul Wahab and Abid Rehman. The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Bin Yameen, said the recovery of a severed head and two legs suggested that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. Over 80 employees, including about 20 diplomats, were inside the WFP office when the terrorist struck.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik informed the National Assembly that his ministry had reached an agreement with the Ittehad Tanzeemat-i-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP) for setting up a regulatory authority for seminaries. However, a leader of the Tanzeemat-i-Madaris termed it a premature announcement. In response to a question, Malik said the Government and office-bearers of the representative body of five wafaqs of madrassas had agreed that a regulatory authority would be set up to oversee the mainstreaming and working of thousands of religious schools in the country. Under the National Education Policy, the interior ministry has been asked to deal with the ITMP which represents over 20,000 seminaries. The minister said the seminaries would be answerable to the regulatory authority over monetary assistance received from the government for their mainstreaming and academic activities. However, the ITMP secretary general Qari Mohammad Hanif Jallandhry said it was a premature and one-sided statement because a paper for setting up the authority was yet to be worked out.

The new chief of the TTP, Hakeemullah Mehsud, thought by Pakistani and US officials to have been killed in infighting, appeared before a small group of journalists at an unspecified place in South Waziristan, vowing to avenge the killing of his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud and expedite attacks on US and Pakistani forces. The international media reported on October 3 that US intelligence agencies believed that Hakeemullah died in a fire-fight with a rival faction weeks ago. Hakeemullah was reportedly accompanied at the meeting with journalists by Fidayeen-i-Islam commander Qari Hussain Mehsud, Taliban's South Waziristan chief Waliur Rehman Mehsud and TTP spokesman Azam Tariq. He alleged that both Pakistan and the US were involved in drone attacks which had killed a large number of innocent women and children. Hakeemullah said Pakistan had been created in the name of Islam, but its rulers were subservient to the American and Jewish lobbies. He said "This is why we are opposed to the army and Pakistani rulers. The Taliban are not against the people of Pakistan," adding that the jihad would continue till the enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law) in the country. Hakeemullah also said that the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban were one and there were no differences between them. According to him, "The Afghan Taliban are fighting the allied forces under the leadership of Mullah Omar and we are his followers." He accused the government of violating several agreements it had reached with the Taliban and said: "If it (the government) accepts our demands, we are ready to hold talks."

October 6

Fighter jets bombed TTP strongholds of Makeen and Nawazkot in South Waziristan - killing six militants and injuring three others. Military sources said the strikes came a day after TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud vowed to launch attacks against the SFs in the country. "The air strikes are part of a major offensive being planned against the terror network," sources told. According to sources in Wana, the TTP holds considerable sway in both Makeen and Nawazkot, and the group has established its command-and-control structure there.

The TTP claimed it had carried out the suicide attack on the main office of UN's World Food Programme in Islamabad and vowed further attacks on Governments and foreign targets. TTP spokesman Azam Tariq claimed responsibility and said his organisation would not leave the people of Pakistan at the mercy of the Blackwater security agency. He also said the Taliban were ready to face a military operation in the FATA. Further, Azam Tariq said Interior Minister Rehman Malik had refuted the fact that new TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud was alive. "He (interior minister) should visit South Waziristan and he would have a chance to meet Hakeemullah there," he added.

October 7

SFs claimed to have killed six militants, including commander Nisar, in the Swat Valley. The ISPR said: "Important terrorist commander Nisar alias Ghazi Baba from Matta Tehsil has been killed this morning in Biha Valley." Nisar was carrying head money of PKR 10 million, the ISPR said, adding that he was involved in terrorist activities in Peuchar and Matta. Nisar was a member of the Taliban central shura and a close aide of Maulana Fazlullah. The ISPR said Nisar was involved in the killing of SF personnel and local elders. It said his son, whose name was not disclosed, had been arrested.

Afghan Taliban militants killed six militant leaders of the Hakeemullah Mehsud group for refusing to release two men they had kidnapped. The incident occurred in the Hangu city in the NWFP. According to sources, the two men, Shahid and Shah Nawaz, had been kidnapped three days ago. An Afghan Taliban shura (executive council) meeting held in the Orakzai Agency of FATA asked the militants to release the men and 'sentenced them to death' when they refused to do so. The shura was also reportedly attended by members from Waziristan. The sources said bodies of Hafiz Kamal, Hafiz Mujahid, Ghulam Mohammad, Basit and Manzoor were lying at a place on the Orakzai-Parachinar border with bombs tied to them.

Troops killed six militants and injured two others in a clash in the Razmak area of North Waziristan. According to official sources, the clash occurred when troops retaliated after the militants had attacked a military base and fired 11 rockets.

The Balochistan High Court has ordered the Station House Officer of Dera Bugti Police Station to register an FIR against former President Pervez Musharraf and others in the murder case of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. On a petition by Nawab Bugti's son Nawabzada Jamil Akbar Bugti, a bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa ordered registration of a case against the respondents, except the NWFP Governor Owais Ghani. The petitioner had nominated Gen (retd) Musharraf, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, former Governor of Balochistan, Owais Ghani, former Chief Minister Jam Mohammad Yousuf, former Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao and former Home Minister Shoaib Nausherwani. The court accepted the submission of the petitioner, but excluded the name of Ghani, who being governor of the NWFP, holds a constitutional position. Nawab Bugti was killed on August 26, 2006.

October 8

The SFs claimed to have killed 17 militants in Swat as General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, asserted that peace had been restored to 95 per cent areas of the District. The SFs conducted search operations in Tiligram, Benjot, Ser and Mangultan and killed 12 terrorists, the ISPR claimed. In another operation in Kasona, it added that troops killed five militants. Ashfaq Nadeem, while briefing the media at Circuit House in Mingora, said peace had been restored to 95 percent of Swat. He said majority of the militants had either been killed or arrested during the Army offensive and some had surrendered. He said curfew had already been lifted from most areas.

The bullet-riddled bodies of 15 suspected Taliban militants were found in Swat. "I can confirm that 15 bodies were found today, and our information is that they are Taliban… They might have been the victims of infighting among militant groups or killed by local people," Army spokesman Major Mushtaq Khan told AFP.

Four militants were killed in an exchange of fire with troops in the Shawal area of North Waziristan. The clash took place after a vehicle in an army convoy going from Daber Pepli camp to its base in Mana hit a bomb placed on the road and one soldier was injured. Troops pursued the militants and subsequently killed four of them.

Reports from Laddah stated that five militants were killed and several others injured when troops mounted a ground and air assault on suspected positions of the Taliban in South Waziristan. Sources said that three militants were killed in the Kalkala area and two in Shawal.

October 9

49 persons, including a woman and seven children, were killed and 90 others were injured when a suicide attacker detonated his explosives-laden car at the crowded Soekarno Chowk in Khyber Bazaar in Peshawar, capital of NWFP. A Police official said that people were busy in routine activities when a suicide bomber detonated the explosives laden in his car. Many of those killed and injured were passengers of a mini-bus that was passing through the area at the time of the blast. Seven children, many of them schoolboys, and a woman, were among those killed. The blast destroyed around 30 vehicles and partially damaged over 60 shops in the nearby markets. Windowpanes of hundreds of shops and offices were also reportedly destroyed. Among those killed or injured were patients and their attendants going or coming out of the nearby Lady Reading Hospital, the biggest public sector hospital in the NWFP. An official of the bomb disposal unit (BDU) estimated that around 50 kg of high-intensity explosives had been loaded in the car, being driven by the suicide bomber, while another official said the explosives were around 100 kg. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

Security Forces claimed to have killed nine militants and arrested six besides destroying a training camp and four other hideouts in the Tora Cheena, Sherakai, Akhurwal and Bostikhel areas of the gun manufacturing Darra Adamkhel town in NWFP. Official sources said four soldiers were injured in the shootout. The SFs, backed by gunship helicopters, targeted a militant camp in Tora Cheena area and killed nine militants, including an important 'commander' identified as Zubair alias Anas.

The SFs said they killed at least six terrorists in Swat. "Security forces conducted search operation at Banjot and Kasona near Malamjaba and killed six terrorists," the ISPR said.

October 10

Six Army personnel, including a Brigadier and a Lieutenant Colonel, were killed and five others injured when militants clad in Army uniform attacked the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army in Rawalpindi at around 11:30am (PST). The ISPR Director General Major General Athar Abbas said the militants, armed with sophisticated weapons aboard a Suzuki van, entered the office of the security staff outside the premises of the GHQ and took 10 to 15 officials hostage. They opened fire and lobbed hand grenades when they were stopped for checking at the first check-post. He said five of the 6 to 7 militants who attacked the GHQ were also killed in retaliatory actions by the troops. "Five terrorists, one of whom was a suicide bomber, were killed in the ensuing gunbattle. Three to four accomplices of the terrorists, however, managed to cross over the grassy grounds unnoticed during the shootout," Gen Abbas said. The SFs have cordoned off the entire area and a siege was continuing to arrest the terrorists alive. The slain Brigadier and Lieutenant Colonel were identified as Anwaar and Waseem, respectively. The Ajmad Farooqi faction of the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

Nine Taliban militants were killed and five injured in a clash between the SFs and Taliban militants at Dara Adam Khel in the NWFP.

At least four Taliban militants and three soldiers were killed in operations across the FATA. Four Taliban militants, including a key commander, were killed in the Laghari area of Mamoond tehsil (revenue unit) in Bajaur Agency. SFs neutralised four Taliban hideouts, sources said, adding that a Security official was also killed and two others injured during the attack.

October 11

In a successful 18-hour operation, the armed forces - in collaboration with Special Services Group commandos - killed four terrorists, arrested one and rescued 39 hostages at a security office outside the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, ending a siege that began on October 10. Three civilians and two SF personnel were killed, while seven SF personnel and three civilians were injured during the 18-hour operation - which culminated in the arrest of the ringleader, Aqeel alias Dr Osman. Although Aqeel was injured, sources said his condition is stable. Six soldiers and five terrorists had already been killed in the siege on October 10. The ISPR Director-General, Major General Athar Abbas, said that two army officials were killed and seven others injured in the commando operation. Three civilian hostages were also killed in the operation, he added. The ISPR chief said eight SF personnel, including a Brigadier and a Lieutenant Colonel, nine terrorists and three civilians were killed on October 10 and 11, while the total number of injured was 15 - 12 army personnel and three civilians. He said the operation to rescue the hostages began around 6am (PST), and continued for 45 minutes in the first phase - during which commandos rescued 30 hostages and killed four terrorists. He said the five terrorists killed in the first phase were armed with suicide vests and tried to resist the troops. "The terrorists had suicide jackets, improvised explosive devices, grenades... they wanted to blow up all the hostages and cause maximum damage," the AFP quoted him as saying. "Terrorist Aqeel alias Dr Osman was overpowered at around 9am in an injured condition when he tried to blow himself up and the rest of the hostages ... triggering a blast in adjacent offices of the security building ... five security personnel were injured in the final phase of the operation," he said. The siege began just before midday on October 10, when terrorists in military uniform and armed with automatic weapons and grenades drove up to the Rawalpindi compound and shot their way through a checkpoint.

21 militants were killed and eight others sustained injuries when fighter planes targeted their positions in different areas of Ladha and Makeen sub-divisions in South Waziristan Agency. Tribal sources said two fighter planes started bombing Ladha Sarai, Patowelai, Tangi, Bodinzai, Makeen, Bandkhel and other areas in the afternoon. They said that 21 militants were killed and eight others injured while five hideouts were destroyed in the air strikes. Political Agent of South Waziristan, Syed Shahab Ali Shah, confirmed that the Pakistan Air Force jets bombed different areas of Ladha and Makeen sub-divisions. He said that it was not a full-scale operation but a limited action to hit specific targets in the agency. "The air strike was imperative after the rocket attack on the Army camp in Razmak by the militants," he said, adding that arrangements had been finalised for a major operation, which would be launched after a final decision by the relevant quarters.

October 12

41 persons - including six soldiers - were killed and 45 others were injured in a suicide attack on a military convoy in the Alpuri area of Shangla District (which borders Swat District), NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain and a military official said. The bomber – believed to be 14 years old and on foot – targeted the convoy while it was passing through the busy Alpuri bazaar. The AP news agency, however, reported that the bomber detonated a car packed with explosives near the convoy. A military spokesman said that 12 shops and seven vehicles were destroyed when the young bomber detonated explosives. "Some vehicles loaded with ammunition were also part of the convoy... they caught fire after the explosion," said the spokesman.

At least 15 Taliban militants were killed and 16 others sustained injuries after SFs launched Operation Sherdil in the Mamoond and Salarzai sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency.

Jets bombed Taliban positions in South Waziristan, killing six Taliban militants. SFs said that three Taliban hideouts were destroyed in the Bajaur raids. The AP news agency reported that fighter jets bombed suspected Taliban hideouts. Meanwhile, 26 militants surrendered to the authorities in the Laghari area of Mamoond.

The TTP claimed responsibility for the GHQ attack, a militant spokesman told. "We claim responsibility for the attack on GHQ. It was carried out by our Punjab branch," said Azam Tariq, main TTP spokesman. "We have the capability to strike at any place in Pakistan... We can target many more important places," he told by phone from an unknown location.

Three commandos injured in the rescue operation at the GHQ in Rawalpindi died in hospital, raising the death toll in the incident to 22, a military statement said. "Three more Special Services Group (SSG) personnel who were injured in an operation yesterday to save hostages embraced martyrdom," the statement said.

A division bench of the Lahore High Court accepted two petitions moved by the JuD, (also known as LeT) chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, and quashed two criminal cases against him on charges of delivering a speech that urged Muslims to fight against the US, Israel and India. The petitioner’s lawyer, A. K. Dogar, said the cases had been registered under Section 11-F (4) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, but the section was not applicable to JD, as it was "not a terrorist outfit". The bench asked the Assistant Advocate General if he had any document to prove if JuD was a banned organisation, but it was found that no such notification had been issued by the federal or provincial Governments. Aziz also said that the JuD had not been included in the list of proscribed organisations, and the outfit was only on a "watch list" because of its alleged involvement in terrorism activities.

October 13

Six Taliban militants were killed when fighter jets targeted the group’s positions in South Waziristan, said officials, even as jets and helicopter gunships bombed Taliban hideouts and ground forces fired heavy artillery in Bajaur Agency, killing 26 Taliban militants and injuring dozens of others. Fighter jets are reported to have launched another round of air-strikes in South Waziristan, destroying around 15 houses in Makeen, Ladha and Barwand, said a local intelligence official. The military said in a statement that "Taliban fired 31 rockets" at a security convoy in South Waziristan, injuring two soldiers. Abdul Malik, a local Government official, said the military strikes in Bajaur Agency took place in the Damadola and Sawai areas.

The death toll from a suicide bombing in the Shangla District of NWFP increased to 45 from 41 even as the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack. "Two people died overnight and two more died this morning," a doctor told.

Security Forces said that they had killed five more Taliban militants and arrested five others in Swat. In addition, at least 33 more Taliban militants are reported to have surrendered to the SFs.

The Crime Investigation Department of Sindh Police claimed to have arrested a TTP ‘commander’ from the provincial capital Karachi. SSP Fayyaz Khan said that the TTP commander for Matta in Swat District, Ahmed Jan alias Ustad Jee, was arrested when the Police carried out a raid in the Korangi Industrial Area. An unspecified quantity of illegal arms was also recovered from his possession. SSP Khan said initial investigation revealed that Ahmed Jan hails from Matta and is associated with the banned militant outfits JeM and TNSM.

October 14

19 persons, including some militants and eight persons of a family, were killed and eight others sustained injuries when fighter planes targeted different areas of South Waziristan Agency. Four hideouts of the militants were also destroyed in the air strikes. Fighter planes are reported to have bombed the Maidan, Tangi, Bodinzai, Kacha Langarkhel, Sam, Ragh, and Salay Rogha areas in Ladha sub-division. At least 11 persons, including militants, were killed and seven others injured in the bombing. The sources added that a training centre of the militants, the house of a Taliban ‘commander’ and a hideout were destroyed in the Sam, Ragh and Salay Rogha areas, respectively, in air attacks. They said several houses were also damaged in the intense bombing by the Pakistan Air Force jets in Salay Rogha. Tribal sources said two fighter jets fired at a house of an 80-year-old tribal elder Malik Nekam Khan in the Spinkai area of Sarwakai Tehsil (revenue unit) at 3:00 pm, killing eight members of his family on the spot and injuring seven others. Some of the dead were identified as Faqir Khan Mahsud, Shama Gul Mahsud, three women and as many children. The head of the family, Malik Nekam Khan, also sustained critical injuries.

United States Consul General in Karachi, Stephen Fakan, has said it would be unreasonable to deny the presence of the Taliban in Balochistan. "We don’t want the Taliban or extremists to gain the kind of foothold in the province that is unhealthy for the people of Balochistan, too," said Fakan while talking to reporters in Quetta, capital of Balochistan. "Seeing how difficult it was to dislodge them, but when you squeeze these people there, so they have to move somewhere else and so in some parts of Balochistan, so we are focusing on the province from that perspective, and the US ambassador also tried to make the point some time back," he added. "I think that we have established over the years that the Taliban pass the borders between Afghanistan and Balochistan, and even some members of the government had said that they know they (Taliban) travel to Karachi, they travel to Islamabad and they move all around the country," the diplomat stated.

October 15

19 persons, including 14 SF personnel, were killed and 41 others sustained injuries in three separate terrorist attacks in Lahore, capital of Punjab province. All nine attackers were also shot dead by the SFs, officials said. The attacks were carried out at the FIA building on the Temple Road, the Manawan Police Training Centre and the Elite Police Academy on the Bedian Road. The District Emergency Control Room reportedly received the first call of a terrorist attack at 9:40am (PST) on the FIA building. After 15-16 minutes, the control room received other calls of attacks on the Manawan Police Training Centre and the Elite Police Training Academy at 9:55am and 9:56am, respectively.

In the first attack, a terrorist wearing an explosive vest attacked the FIA offices. The assailant reportedly opened indiscriminate fire at the people, killing six persons, including two FIA inspectors, on the spot. Police cordoned off the building and subsequently killed the terrorist. Police recovered a hand-grenade, seven chambers, some dry fruit and an explosive vest from the possession of the terrorist. The Police also arrested a suspected youth, aged around 20, from near the FIA building. However, at least three terrorists attacked the FIA building, killing seven people. A witness said the attackers shot dead two SF personnel, and entered the premises. FIA personnel inside the compound killed one of the terrorists, while FIA sources said one of the attackers was arrested. One of the gunmen escaped.

In the second attack, four terrorists stormed the Elite Force Training Centre and an encounter continued till afternoon until the SFs killed the two attackers and freed a family they were holding hostage. Two other attackers blew themselves up, Police said. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) Lahore, Major General Shafaqat Ahmed, told journalists that the Pakistan Army and Police carried out a successful operation and the training centre had been cleared of terrorists. The SFs killed two out of four terrorists — one at the main gate the other on the rooftop of a building. The other two terrorists blew themselves up. An Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police, Ghulam Jaffar, and a civilian, Adil, were killed and seven Policemen were wounded in the attack.

The attackers of the Manawan Police Training School, wearing Police-like camouflage fatigues, lobbed a grenade and opened indiscriminate fire at the trainees, killing 11 Policemen and a civilian and injuring 34 Policemen. However, nine Policemen died and 60 were injured when four attackers wearing suicide jackets attacked the compound. Three of the men blew themselves up, while one was subsequently killed by the Police. This is the second terrorist on the Manawan Police Training School. On March 30, 2009, eight police recruits and a civilian were killed when a group of 10 terrorists attacked the training facility.

The TTP’s Amjad Farooqi faction has claimed responsibility for the three attacks.

Military planes bombed suspected militant positions in the Laddah, Nawazkot, Khaisora, Saam, Sararogha and Tiarza areas of South Waziristan, killing at least 32 militants and non-combatants. 12 people were reportedly killed and seven others injured in the Kanigram and Karama areas of Laddah sub-division and nine in Nawazkot area adjacent to North Waziristan. Five people were killed when their car was hit in Maulvi Khan Sarai and six people died and five wounded in Tiarza.

While the Government is yet to formally launch a military operation in South Waziristan, the Pakistan Air Force has reportedly intensified attacks in the region. Over the past five days, more than 60 militants and non-combatants have been killed. "We are targeting militant hideouts with jetfighters and helicopter gunships in the first phase of an operation in South Waziristan," said Secretary Law and Order FATA, Tariq Hayat. "There are some 1,500 foreign militants including Uzbeks, Chechens, Arabs and Sudanese in South Waziristan," he added. Residents said jets carried out repeated sorties in the area.

Four Afghan Taliban militants were killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan. The slain men reportedly belonged to the Ghaznavi group of the Jalaluddin Haqqani network of the Taliban in Afghanistan "Three missiles were fired by the drone in Dandi Darphakhel area and killed four Afghan Taliban from the Haqqani network," officials told. The strike occurred in the backdrop of the army’s preparations for an operation against the TTP in neighbouring South Waziristan Agency.

Four militants were killed as the Security Forces targeted militant hideouts in the Utmankhel area of Orakzai Agency. Tribal and official sources said the jetfighters targeted the hideouts and compounds of the militants in Utmankhel area, killing four militants and targeting three compounds.

11 persons, including three Policemen, were killed and 22 others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the building of the Saddar Police Station located in the military area of Kohat in the NWFP. The DIG (Kohat region), Abdullah Khan, told reporters that a 22-year-old suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden double cabin vehicle just outside the main gate of Saddar Police Station, killing 11 people, including three Policemen Fayazul Hasnain, Muhammad Noor and Khurshid, and injuring 22 persons, including four Policemen. Among those wounded were two women and some schoolchildren passing by the spot. The blast destroyed the northern part of the Police Station building, eight vehicles, including a Police van, and the wall of the Pakistan Air Force’s Officers Mess, said the DIG, adding 100 kilograms of explosive material was used in the bombing. The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack. The claim was made by TTP central spokesman Azam Tariq who contacted reporters to confirm that the attack was made by the Taliban militants operating in Darra Adamkhel.

A day after the US Congress attached an explanatory statement to the Kerry-Lugar Bill to clarify its intent, US President Barack Obama signed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 in Washington. "This law is the tangible manifestation of broad support for Pakistan in the US, as evidenced by its bipartisan, bicameral, unanimous passage in Congress," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. The statement also that the United States wanted to engage Pakistan on the basis of strategic partnership, "grounded in support for Pakistan’s democratic institutions and the Pakistani people." "And this act formalises that partnership, based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people of Pakistan through sustainable economic development, strengthening democracy, rule of law and combating extremism that threatens Pakistan and the United States," Gibbs added.

October 16

15 persons, including three policemen, were killed and 19 others sustained injuries after a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the CIA’s Special Investigation Unit in Peshawar, the capital city of NWFP. The Bomb Disposal Squad Chief Shafqat Malik said that 60-70 kilograms of explosives had been used in the attack, adding that Police had recovered a leg of the attacker.

25 Taliban militants and three troopers were killed, as the military continued operations in South Waziristan and the Bajaur tribal regions of FATA. 12 Taliban militants were killed during the third day of bombings in South Waziristan while 18 others were injured. They said six terrorist hideouts had been destroyed and several houses had been damaged.

Helicopter gunships killed 10 Taliban militants during raids on suspected terrorist bases in Bajaur Agency.

In Bajaur, three more terrorists were killed and two injured during a clash between Security Forces and the Taliban in the Salarzai area, local sources said.

October 17

The Pakistan Army launched Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path of Salvation), combating the Hakeemullah Mehsud-led TTP killing 30 Taliban militants in air strikes targeting the Kotkai, Makeen and Ladah regions in South Waziristan of FATA on three different fronts. Four soldiers had also been killed and 12 others wounded on the first day of the offensives. "The ground offensive has started," military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said. "The headquarters of the defunct TTP will be surgically targeted to dismantle the network of the terror outfit," the APP news agency quoted him as stating on a radio programme. He said intelligence reports had revealed around 80 percent of the terror attacks in the country originated from South Waziristan, adding about 1,500 foreign terrorists were believed to be hiding in the area in addition to the locals. Meanwhile, the Government imposed a curfew in the region, shutting down all link roads to and from Waziristan and jamming the mobile and telecommunication systems in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Lakki Marwat and Bannu Districts. Official sources said the military was converging on Taliban strongholds from three directions — Jandola in the east, Shakai in the west and Razmak in the north. They said initial reports had revealed the Taliban were putting up "stiff resistance" to the army’s advances. The local population of the conflict-stricken areas has moved to safer places, with the UN predicting around 250,000 people fled their homes in anticipation of the operation. Authorities have set up registration camps for these IDPs in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan. Sources in the FATA Secretariat said 12,800 families had already been registered in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, adding, preparations were underway to accommodate more in the relief camps.

12 Taliban militants were killed and two injured in clashes between the SFs and Taliban in the Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies of FATA. Political administration officials told that three militants were killed in the Salarzai tehsil (revenue division) of Bajaur Agency, adding two others were injured.

A spokesman for the Frontier Corps Media Cell said that the SFs killed nine Taliban militants, including seven foreigners, in an overnight operation in Agra Post of Mohmand Agency.

Three soldiers were killed and six injured after two separate remote controlled bombings targeted SFs convoys in Waziristan. Sources told that a security convoy travelling to South Waziristan from the Razmak subdivision of North Waziristan was targeted two kilometres from the army camp. They said two soldiers were killed and four others injured in the bombing, which also destroyed the vehicle. Separately, a security official said that one soldier had been killed and two others wounded in a bombing in Jandola town of South Waziristan.

October 18

The Army claimed killing 60 militants and losing five soldiers with 11 others sustaining injuries in the past 24 hours as Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path of Salvation) launched in South Waziristan Agency entered the second day. In its advance towards the Taliban stronghold of Makeen, the SFs clashed with militants, killing 30 of them in the Jandola, Kotkai and Srarogha areas, said a statement of the ISPR. It said two soldiers died and four others sustained injuries in these clashes. The Mandana, Kund and Tarakai areas were secured from this side, added the statement. The operation progressed seven kilometres north of Shakai from the second direction where the SFs had captured areas like Boya Narai and Wozi Sar from the militants, said the ISPR, which also claimed that 20 militants and a soldier were killed while three soldiers were wounded in the same area. Securing some key heights around and south of Razmak, the Army said the advancing SFs killed 10 militants and lost two soldiers with four sustaining injuries.

In their first reaction since the launch of the ground offensive by the Army, the Taliban rejected the casualty toll mentioned by the ISPR and said only one of their men was killed and three injured in an air raid in the Makeen area. Calling media offices from an undisclosed location, Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq claimed the militants had inflicted "heavy casualties" on the troops and pushed them back from their strongholds. There was, however, no independent confirmation of the claims made by both the sides as mobile phones had not been working in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu since the launch of the operations on October 16-night while communication lines were out of order in North and South Waziristan.

More than 100,000 people have fled South Waziristan after the military operation was launched, officials said. "Around 100,000 people have been displaced. They are settling in neighbouring Tank and Dera Ismail Khan districts," Colonel Waseem Shahid from an army support group said. "Some 80,000 people had already left Waziristan before the operation. More people are coming out. In the last two days about 1,500 families or you can say some 22,000 people have left the area," he added. Officials said the number could rise to 200,000 with more families expected to leave in the coming days, despite an indefinite curfew slapped on parts of South Waziristan, home to a population of 600,000. A spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Pakistan confirmed that authorities had registered more than 100,000 displaced people. "Over the last five days, 3,065 families (around 21,000 people) registered... before this latest influx there had been about 80,500 people or 11,000 families," Ariane Rummery said.

All educational institutions run by the Federal Government and the armed forces and some top-ranking private sector institutions will remain closed for up to a week in Islamabad, cantonments, all major cities, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The channel said the Government had decided to close schools and colleges for a week because of security threats. The decision would not affect schools and colleges run by provincial Governments and other private sector institutions.

Iran has received information that "some security agents" in Pakistan were co-operating with elements behind the October 18 attack on the Revolutionary Guards, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying. Ahmadinejad called on Pakistan not to waste time in co-operating with Iran in apprehending the perpetrators. Iranian media said the Jundollah claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, which killed more than 30 persons, including at least five senior commanders in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan. "We were informed that some security agents in Pakistan are co-operating with the main elements of this terrorist incident... We regard it as our right to demand these criminals from them," Ahmadinejad said, without giving details. "We ask the Pakistani government not to delay any longer in the apprehension of the main elements in this terrorist attack," he said. The State television said Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned a senior Pakistani diplomat in capital Tehran, saying there was evidence "the perpetrators of this attack came to Iran from Pakistan."

The Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan alleged that the Jundullah chief had taken refuge in Balochistan in Pakistan. Mashallah Shakeri alleged that the Jundullah chief, Abdul Malik Regi, has taken refuge in an unknown region of Balochistan Province. However, Pakistan’s Foreign Office has denied that Islamabad has information on the presence of the Jundallah chief in Pakistan. Abdul Basit rejected the Iranian ambassador’s claim that the Jundullah chief is hiding in Balochistan.

October 19

Eighteen Taliban militants and two soldiers were killed and 12 soldiers were injured in the last 24 hours in South Waziristan, the ISPR Director General, Major General Athar Abbas said. He told journalists at a press conference that the SFs were advancing from three fronts: on the Jandola–Sararogha axis, on the Shakai-Ladha axis and from the south and southwest of Razmak. He said the SFs had surrounded Kotkai, the hometown of Qari Hussain – reportedly the "mentor of suicide bombers" - and secured Tor Ghundai (east of Kotkai) and Shishwarm (northeast of Kotkai). He said the SFs were consolidating positions after securing Sherwangi despite stiff resistance from the Taliban. Abbas said the troops were also consolidating their positions in the south and southwest of Razmak despite rocket fire from Makeen.

12 members of a displaced family were killed when a bomb hit them in South Waziristan. The dead included women and children. According to sources, the family was fleeing the army operation against militants in Hendi Zawar area. Unconfirmed reports suggested that they were hit by a shell fired from a jet plane. Some displaced people who had managed to reach Razmak area of North Waziristan said the family belonged to the Shabikhel tribe.

14 militants were killed and several others sustained injuries when jet fighters targeted militant hideouts in the Yakkaghund and Baizai subdivisions of Mohmand Agency. Official sources said fighter planes of the Pakistan Air Force targeted the militant hideouts in Karair, Koz Chinari, Shamshah, Spinki Tangi and Badmanai areas of the Yakkaghund subdivision and the Dawezai area of Baizai. They said the bombing killed 14 militants and many others wounded. Several militant hideouts were also destroyed in the air strikes, the sources added.

Three children were killed in the Dawezai area of Baizai sub-division when some bombs missed the target and hit the civilian area.

Six Taliban militants were killed and three others injured during operations by the SFs in the Salarzai and Mamoond sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency.

A Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore sentenced Hijratullah, a man charged with involvement in the March 30, 2009 attack on the Manawan Police Training School in Lahore, to ten years in prison. Security Forces had arrested Hijratullah near a makeshift helipad at the Manawan police training centre on March 30.

Law enforcement agencies have arrested at least 114 suspected Taliban militants from across the country during an ongoing security operation. The Sindh Police arrested 18 suspected militants, including a foreigner woman, from Guddu area of Kashmoor District. The District Police Officer Abdul Salam told reporters that in the last three days, they had arrested 49 suspects from the Sindh-Punjab border and other areas of Guddu. He said those arrested included Afghan, Iranian, Tajik, Uzbek and Turk nationals. Meanwhile, the Islamabad Police on October 19 arrested an activist of the JuD (the LeT) from Pir Wadhai.

Pakistan has informed Iran that Jundallah (Soldiers of God), the Pakistan-based anti-Shia militant outfit, which has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Zahedan, targeting the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is carrying out coordinated terrorist operations with the help of the TTP and the LeJ, to undermine Pakistan-Iran relations. According to interior ministry sources in Islamabad, the explanation has been conveyed to Tehran after the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alleged that the suicide attack, which killed at least 42 persons, had been plotted from Pakistan. Ahmadinejad had further alleged that Abdul Malik Rigi, chief of the Jundallah, who has claimed responsibility for the attack, operates from Pakistan. Jundallah, also known in Iran as the Rigi group (after its chief Abdul Malik Rigi), is a militant group of Iranian Baloch, who claims to represent their minority’s rights in Iran’s southeast province of Sistan-Balochistan. Their hideout is in Pakistani Balochistan. Initially, patronised by late Taliban ‘commander’ Nek Mohammad, the Pakistan chapter of Jundallah usually draws its cadre from Jihadi and sectarian groups like the SSP and the LeJ.

October 20

The army killed 20 militants on the fourth day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat against the TTP in South Waziristan, the military said, as troops intensified the battle for the control of Kotkai. The TTP claimed they killed seven soldiers in an attack, but the army said only four soldiers had been killed in the assault on positions around Kotkai – the hometown of TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud and trainer of suicide bombers Qari Hussain. The Taliban casualties have taken the death toll to 91 since the launch of the operation on October 16. "We are consolidating our positions around Kotkai, and control of this town will pave the way for deeper advances towards Makeen and other strongholds of the Taliban," said military officials. They said troops battling their way into Kotkai were facing resistance from the Taliban. "Fierce fighting going with the Taliban is in progress... we have to take full control of the town before we move deeper into Taliban territory," said the officials.

An ISPR statement said that the Security Forces were consolidating their positions on Jandola, and extending a security perimeter around Kaskai and Shisanwam. It said Taliban militants from surrounding heights were engaging the SFs with rockets and small arms. The army said important heights surrounding Sherwangi had also been secured, and "Taliban are abandoning their positions". Troops also seized arms and ammunition during the course of the operation’s fourth day. Long-range artillery, helicopter gunships and jet fighters are backing ground troops in the operation, fleeing residents told reporters in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan.

A report from Dera Ismail Khan has stated that the Pakistan Army has struck deals to keep two powerful tribal chiefs — Mulla Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur — from joining the battle against the Government, officials told. Under the terms agreed to about three weeks ago, Mulla Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur will stay out of the current fight in parts of South Waziristan. They will also allow the army to move through their own lands unimpeded, giving the military additional fronts from which to attack the Taliban. In exchange, the army will ease patrols and bombings in the lands controlled by the two warlords, two Pakistani intelligence officials based in the region told.

SFs killed three militants and arrested two others during the ongoing operation in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency, the Frontier Corps’ media cell said. During the operation in Dora, Gurgray and Landay Killay, two militants, identified as Najeeb and Shan, were killed.

Two suicide bombers targeted the new campus of the International Islamic University Islamabad in the H-10 sector of Islamabad, killing at least six students and staff members, including two female students, and injuring more than 29 others. This is the first terrorist attack on an educational institution in Islamabad. The first blast occurred at the cafeteria of the women’s campus at 3:07 pm while another took place at the Sharia bloc five minutes later, damaging the main structure of the building and dozens of cars parked near the blast site. The Inspector General of Police in Islamabad, Syed Kaleem Imam, said that a suspect, identified as ‘GM’, was arrested from the scene after the suicide attack at the cafeteria. He said the suspect belonged to Khanewal and had studied at the IIUI some seven years back. Kaleem Imam said according to the preliminary investigation, each bomber used 4 to 5 kilograms of explosive material and one and a half to two kg of pellets and ‘C-4’ kind of explosives were used in each suicide belt.

The provincial Governments ordered the closure of Government and private educational institutions across the country following the attack on the IIUI. The Sindh Education Department announced the closure of all schools in the province until October 25. The NWFP and Balochistan Governments have also announced the closure of all education institutions until October 25. Educational institutions in the federal capital had already been shut down until October 25. In Punjab, a private TV channel reported that all Government and private education institutions would remain closed until further orders. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told the channel all education institutions would reopen once the security situation improved.

The United Nations said that 170,000 people had been displaced from the South Waziristan Agency due to fresh violence and the military operation by the Pakistan Army against the Taliban and estimated that the number of IDPs would reach 250,000 in the next couple of days. Michele Montas, a spokeswoman for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, said the Pakistan Government had not set up any camps for accommodating the IDPs yet. She said the UN was well aware of the problems being faced by the IDPs arriving at the camps and provided 60 per cent of the fund meant for accommodating and providing food to the displaced persons. Michele said the UN was aware that most of the displaced persons were living with their relatives because the Government had not made any arrangement for their accommodation.

October 21

Fighter jets targeted Taliban hideouts in South Waziristan, as the army hoisted the national flag in the Shingwari area on the fifth day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat. An ISPR press release stated that, in the past 24 hours, 15 Taliban militants had been killed and 10 injured after jet fighters and long-range artillery struck Taliban positions in the Badar, Sam, Sararogha, Nanoo, Ladah and Makeen areas. It said four soldiers, including an officer, had also died in the same period.

12 persons, including Arab, Pakistani and Afghan militants, were killed and several others injured in a bomb blast in Surkot village, five kilometres east of Miranshah, regional headquarters of North Waziristan Agency. Tribal and Taliban sources said four houses were destroyed in the blast caused by explosives dumped inside the house in Surkot. Among those dead was reportedly Al Qaeda operative Abu Musa al-Misri (an expert at preparing suicide vehicles). However, militant sources denied the killing of any senior Al Qaeda operative in the blast, but admitted that some of the victims were "guests". They said a man with the same name — Abu Musa al-Misri — has already been declared dead in two previous drone attacks at Naurak and later at Khaisura in the Mirali subdivision of North Waziristan. A senior Taliban commander said the dead included Arabs, Pakistani and Afghan fighters, and some children of Arab militants.

Three militants were killed and as many injured during a search operation in the Charmang area of Bajaur Agency.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that Iran had been informed that Jundallah chief Abdul Malik Reigi is in Afghanistan and not Pakistan. He said Islamabad had forwarded knowledge of his whereabouts to Iran. Condemning the incident in Iran, he said Pakistan had already repatriated Reigi’s brother to Iran and would not hesitate to repatriate Reigi if he were on its soil.

October 22

SFs continued consolidating positions in the Tor Ghundai and Gurgurai Sar areas of South Waziristan on the sixth day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat. According to the ISPR, 24 militants and two Army soldiers were killed and four soldiers were wounded in different areas on the Jandola-Srarogha and Shakai-Ladha axis. There was no comment from the Taliban about the casualty toll. Sources said 12 of the slain militants were foreigners. Although Army officials confirmed the killing of two soldiers, independent sources put the death toll at four.

Displaced people arriving in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan through different routes said Taliban positions were being targeted with artillery, jet fighters and gunship helicopters in the Makeen, Ladha and Srarogha areas of South Waziristan. They said majority of the areas where the troops had reached and which were once considered the strongholds of Taliban had been vacated by the civilians. The ISPR statement said intense fighting took place in Tor Ghundai, which resulted in the killing of 13 militants while the rest fled into the nearby mountains. The troops secured the Tor Ghundai village after the battle. The area of Mizowam in this sector had been secured, said the statement. The troops captured the Gurgura Sar area on the Shakai-Ladha axis, and were attempting to strengthen positions north of Sherwangai.

Militants are reported to have attacked the SFs in Boay Naray, located west of Sherwangai. The attack was repulsed and in the consequent encounter 11 of the attackers were killed. One soldier was also killed and three others wounded in the clash that took place, said the ISPR statement.

Security officials said the troops started patrolling the Torwam-Sherwangai Road after seizing control of the Torwam Bridge, which was under control of the militants since 2007. The ISPR statement said the bridge was the key link between Torwam and Ladha.

Displaced people from South Waziristan continued arriving in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank. Many reaching the two cities were handed over tents and some food but the displaced people reportedly complained about lack of help by the Government. According to the ISPR, 7,184 families have been registered in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan since October 13. Five registration points have been established in the city of Dera Ismail Khan. The Government is, however, yet to establish a camp for the displaced people.

Five militants were killed and four others sustained injuries in clashes with the SFs in different areas of Bajaur Agency. Sources said that troops returned fire after a military convoy on patrol in the Charmang area of Nawagai sub-division was attacked. Three militants were killed and two others injured. One trooper also sustained injuries. Further, two militants were killed and two others injured in a clash in the Lowi Sam area of Khar sub-division.

SFs killed three militants and demolished seven houses and six hideouts during operations in different areas of the Mohmand Agency. Official sources said that the SFs continued advancing towards the remote borderlands in Baizai subdivision. The sources said a clash took place between the SFs and militants in the Manzari Cheena area of Baizai sub-division. Three militants were killed and several others injured during the clash.

SFs claimed to have killed an important Taliban ‘commander’ in the Banpur Sar area while three bodies, believed to be of militants, were found dumped in Barikot in Swat valley.

Unidentified gunmen attacked an army vehicle in the federal capital Islamabad, killing a Brigadier and his driver and critically injuring a guard. Police officials said Brigadier Moinuddin Haider was en route to his office in Rawalpindi when the assailants fired at his jeep at around 8:45am near Street No 5, G-11/1. Police and witnesses put the number of assailants at two – aged between 18-to-20 years – and said they were riding a motorbike. "It was an act of terrorism… The purpose was to kill and make news," military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas was quoted as saying by Reuters. Brigadier Moin reportedly arrived in Pakistan on leave a few days ago from Sudan – where he was part of a UN peacekeeping mission.

October 23

18 persons, including some women and children, were killed and six others sustained injuries when a bus hit a landmine in the Mohmand Agency. According to Mohmand Rifles, the bus carrying wedding guests from Rawalpindi hit the mine at Suran Darra Chowk, some 25 kilometres from the Mamad Gat Frontier Corps camp. "The device was placed by militants who wanted to hit tanks and armoured personnel carriers," official sources said.

Fierce fighting was reported from the Sherwangai area in South Waziristan Agency as troops started their advance towards the militants’ strongholds on the Shakai-Ladha axis, the seventh day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat. The Army claimed killing 13 militants, raising the casualty toll of the Taliban to 142 since October 17. However, the Taliban said only three of their men were killed since the launch of the operation. However, claims from both sides could not be confirmed.

After three days of fighting, SFs were seen in full control of Sherwangai, its surrounding heights and the nearby village of Chalweshtai where troops had been deployed on the mountain peaks to avoid militants’ attacks from different directions, sources said. Fighter jets and artillery targeted suspected militants positions in Mashta, Ragh, Sam, Srarogha, Penga, Ladha and Makeen areas, but there were no reports about casualties. A statement from the ISPR said that 13 militants and two soldiers were killed in clashes and rocket fire in and around Kotkai, Sherwangai and Chalweshtai areas. Seven soldiers sustained injuries in the fighting. The ISPR said one soldier and seven militants were killed and two soldiers injured during an encounter around Kotkai while another soldier and six Uzbek militants were killed in the fighting around the Sherwangai area. Five more soldiers sustained injuries.

According to the ISPR, 142 militants and 20 soldiers have been killed since October 17 in South Waziristan. 56 soldiers suffered injuries while the troops arrested six suspected militants during the operation. The Taliban, however, has confirmed the killing of only three of their men in the past one week.

Five militants were killed when military planes and artillery attacked their positions in the Mulla Syed and Banda areas of Bajaur Agency.

Eight persons were killed and 17 others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber exploded himself at a Police check-post on the GT Road near the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in Kamra in the Attock District of Punjab province in the morning. According to District administration sources, a suicide bomber blew himself when SF personnel intercepted him at the check-post near the PAC, some 60 kilometres from the national capital Islamabad. Consequently, eight persons were killed and 17 others were injured. District Police chief Fakhar Sultan said the attack killed six civilians and two Pakistan Air Force personnel. The Air Force said 15 security staff were wounded and confirmed two of its personnel were dead. "We have found a mutilated face, as well as other body parts, including legs and arms of the bomber," said Sultan.

Three militants were killed, 15 arrested and seven surrendered to the SFs in different areas of Swat District. According to the Swat Media Centre, the SFs, during a search and clearance operation in the Talang area of Nejegram, killed three militants after an exchange of heavy gunfire. The SFs also arrested 15 suspected militants in the Mangaltan, Miandam, and Chak Dawlat areas of Swat during a search operation. The military stated that seven militants laid down arms and surrendered to the SFs in the outskirts of Mingora.

US lawmakers on October 23 passed a Pentagon spending bill that reportedly sets tough new restrictions on military aid to Pakistan. The US Senate voted 68-29 in favour of a $680 billion defence-spending bill for fiscal year 2010, which was passed in the House of Representatives by a 281-146 margin on October 8 and now goes to US President Barack Obama for his assent. The new limits reportedly include efforts to track where US military hardware sent to Pakistan ends up, as well as a warning that the aid must not upset "the balance of power in the region" – a reference to tensions between Pakistan and India. The military spending bill would impose new restrictions on how Pakistan gets reimbursed out of a $1.6 billion fund for logistical and military support of US-led efforts to battle the militants. The measure requires that the US secretaries of state and defence certify "whether such reimbursement is consistent with the national security interest of the United States and will not adversely impact the balance of power in the region". The bill also says the Pentagon must certify that Islamabad is waging a "concerted" fight against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other fighters before it can receive the massive package of aid to battle extremists on its soil. It directs the Pentagon to track how Pakistan uses military hardware it receives in order "to prohibit the re-transfer of such defence articles and defence services without the consent of the United States". The legislation instructs the White House to send lawmakers a report every 180 days on progress toward long-term security and stability in the country. The spending bill also calls for spending another $130 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in fiscal year 2010, which began October 1.

October 24

21 Taliban militants and three soldiers killed were killed as SFs took control of Kotkai in South Waziristan, an important TTP stronghold and the native town of its chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, after intense fighting. Addressing a joint press conference with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Athar Abbas said 21 terrorists had been killed and three soldiers martyred while eight people had been injured.

A suspected US drone killed 33 militants in the Bajaur Agency. The drone targeted a Taliban shura (executive council) meeting in Damadola area, which is 12 kilometres north of Khar. Sources in the political administration said TTP deputy chief Maulvi Faqir left the site minutes before the strike, adding that his relatives were among the dead.

October 25

23 militants were killed as troops advanced deeper into the Taliban-controlled territory in South Waziristan and captured Gherlama, an important position north of Kotkai, the hometown of TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud. Four soldiers are reported to have died in fierce gun-battles in areas around Gherlama, Kotkai, Nawazkot and Spinqamer. Shin Gher, a vital hilltop near Razmak in North Waziristan, was also captured. Tanks, backed by military jets and helicopter gunships, are reported to have targeted Taliban positions. According to the ISPR, troops secured the important Tarkona Narai hill after a 16-hour gun-battle and made gains on the Jandola-Sararogha axis, securing important ridges. ISPR said that 15 more terrorists and a soldier were killed as troops moved beyond Kotkai. Troops have secured Point 1125 north of Shishwam, an important ridge on the Jandola-Sararogha axis, and another point two kilometres north of Kotkai. On the western side of the axis, the SFs secured forward ridges of Kaskai, three kilometres north-west of Kotkai. Tarkona Narai, the highest feature on an important junction east of Sherwangi, has also been secured on the Shakai-Kaniguram axis. The hilltop had four strong points and a series of bunkers. Four terrorists were killed in the battle for the hilltop and eight others when they tried to flee from the area. One non-commissioned officer and three soldiers were also killed in the incident.

The TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud is reported to have urged the Government to stop the operation which he said had been launched to get US aid.

Many displaced people arriving in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank Districts of the NWFP said that the militants had left the villages recently captured by SFs days before the launch of the military operation in South Waziristan. "They have gone into the mountains or shifted to the neighbouring Orakzai Agency while some moved to the adjoining parts of Balochistan," said a tribesman.

Six militants and three soldiers were killed in a clash in the Mattak village of Nawagai sub-division in Bajaur Agency. Tribal sources said a group of militants attacked a check-post of the SFs in Mattak village, killing three soldiers on the spot. Following the incident, the SFs targeted the positions of the militants with artillery guns from Khar, the regional headquarters of Bajaur Agency. Consequently, six militants were killed and three others injured while several militant hideouts were also destroyed.

Six militants were killed when jet fighters targeted their hideouts in the Ghiljo area in Upper Orakzai Agency. Eyewitnesses said that two hideouts and a camp of the Taliban were also destroyed in the air strikes. They said that jetfighters attacked hideouts of Taliban three times and killed at least six militants in Ghiljo Bazaar, considered a stronghold of Taliban affiliated with the Hakeemullah Mehsud group. The Tariq Afridi group of Taliban controls a small part of lower Orakzai Agency.

Unidentified gunmen killed the Balochistan Education Minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party, outside his residence in the provincial capital Quetta. The Baloch Liberation United Front claimed responsibility for the assassination. Police in Quetta said unidentified motorcyclists shot dead the minister outside his residence on Thogai Road, while his brother’s father-in-law, Hydayat Jaffar, was injured in the same attack. Shafiq Khan is the second minister from Balochistan to have been killed over the last two months.

October 26

Continuing their advance from three sides on the TTP strongholds of Srarogha, Ladha and Makeen on the 10th day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat, the SFs claimed killing 19 more militants in three separate clashes. Six Army soldiers were also killed while 20 others sustained injuries during clashes between the two sides in the Gharlai, Sarwek, Shaga and Sharkai Sar areas. Independent confirmation of the casualty was, however, not possible as the area has been under curfew for the past 10 days and communication links had been snapped.

In their advance from three sides over the past 10 days, the SFs have captured Kotkai, village of the TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud and his cousin and suicide bombers’ trainer Qari Hussain, along with Sherwangai, Nawazkot, Chalweshtai and some key ridges. However, the troops faced tough resistance on the 10th day in their advance towards the TTP stronghold of Srarogha. Sources said a clash occurred when the Taliban militants tried to block the way of advancing troops near Srarogha. Military officials said 10 militants were killed in the clash which also claimed the lives of six Army soldiers. 14 soldiers sustained injuries and were evacuated with the help of military helicopters. Giving details of the advance made by SFs on the 10th day, the ISPR said the troops secured the Kazhakas area on the road leading to Inzar Killay and Srarogha. The troops also secured Gharlai village on Kotkai-Srarogha road. On the Shakai-Kaniguram axis, the ISPR said troops surrounded Sarwek village, one kilometre north of Chalweshtai, and secured the surrounding ridges. Seven militants were killed and five soldiers injured in the operation in the same zone. From the Razmak side, the SFs claimed securing the Shaga village and Sharakai Sar in the Nawazkot area. Two militants were killed and one soldier injured in the operation. The political administration officials said troops had secured the Moomi Karam and Sarwek villages after getting control of Chalweshtai. They said the troops would be able to reach and control the strategic peaks of Asman Manza and Karwan Manza in next two days.

Thousands of people have reportedly been displaced from areas inhabited by the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan and have taken refuge in parts of the neighbouring North Waziristan Agency as well as the Tank and Dera Ismail Khan Districts in the NWFP. Locals said almost all the people had left Sarwekai and Ladha sub-divisions. Only a small number of people had stayed behind to guard their houses and belongings, said tribesmen arriving in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank.

Nine militants were killed during clashes with the SFs in different areas of the Bajaur Agency. Sources said about 15 militants attacked a security post in the Mattak area near the Afghan border on October 25 and killed a Junior Commissioned Officer and three other SF personnel. Two other SF personnel sustained injuries in the attack. Troops subsequently fired back, killing six militants and injuring four others.

The militants fired seven missiles on security posts in Tawheedabad and Sadiqabad and a base in Bilalabada. However, the missiles caused no damage or casualty. Three militants were killed and one was injured in an exchange of fire which continued for over about an hour.

The Security Forces claimed to have killed four militants and injured six others in aerial bombardment carried out at Mamozai area in Orakzai Agency.

16 militants were killed and 23 others wounded during a joint operation by the Army and Frontier Constabulary in the Tora Warai area of Hangu District in the NWFP on October 25-night and October 26. 54 militants, including some Afghans, were arrested during the operation. According to officials, security officer Abdul Jaffar was killed and seven other SF personnel sustained injuries in the operation which was launched after an attack by militants on a military check-post in Tora Warai late on October 25. Hundreds of militants of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan from Orakzai Agency and Hangu reportedly took part in the attack. Troops repulsed the attack after a gun-battle which continued for about two hours. Officials told that militants had taken away the bodies of their colleagues and the injured. Six hideouts of the militants were destroyed in Tora Warai and a large quantity of arms and ammunition, including two rocket-launchers, five rockets, two grenades, three shotguns, two rifles, four pistols and automatic weapons, was seized. Militants reportedly use Tora Warai to enter North Waziristan Agency from the Orakzai Agency. A few days ago, the SFs blew up a road linking Hangu with North Waziristan to stop the movement of militants.

Eight bodies of suspected militants were recovered in the Swat District. Four bodies were reportedly found dumped in the Khwazakhela area, official sources said.

October 27

SFs claimed killing 42 more militants, raising the toll to 240 since the launch of Operation Rah-e-Nijat targeting the TTP in South Waziristan Agency on October 17. The troops admitted losing one soldier and injuries to two others as they advanced on the militants’ strongholds of Srarogha, Makeen and Ladha from three directions, using Wana, Jandola and Razmak as their rear bases. Tribal sources said the troops were facing stiff resistance during their advance towards Srarogha, the stronghold of the TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, after the capture of Kotkai, Sherwangai, Chalweshtai and other small villages and mountain ridges from the Taliban. The political administration officials said fighter planes bombed Ladha, Shpeshtin, Gadawai, Kacha Langarkhel, Mashta, Sam and Selai Rogha. The villages of Badar, Nano, Kotkhel, Jalandhar and Karama were targeted with heavy artillery guns from the Wana side while the villages of Aimarkhel and Bandkhel were targeted from Razmak. Sources said five hideouts of militants were destroyed in bombing by the planes while a huge cache of weapons was seized in the Badar area. The sources said nearly three-dozen militants had been killed in bombing on different areas. The troops were reportedly facing resistance from the militants in Ghorlama village.

According to the ISPR, the SFs cleared the village of Zeriwam on the Jandola-Srarogha axis. One soldier and five militants were killed in clashes in and around Zeriwam and Garlai areas, it added. Advancing from Chalweshtai on Shakai-Kaniguram axis, the troops reached the suburbs of Kund Mela and Momi Karam areas and started removing improvised explosive devices from the roads. Seven militants were reportedly killed during an engagement with troops in the same area. SFs said they had regained the control of the old Frontier Corps post in Nawazkot and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the area located on the Razmak-Makeen axis. The ISPR statement said the troops clashed with militants in Tawda Cheena, Vedan, Manza Sar, Zare Sar and Makeen, killing 30 of them. Two soldiers were injured as militants fired two rockets at the Razmak camp.

The United Nation’s figures revealed that 205,000 people had been displaced from South Waziristan due to the military operation. The latest figures released on October 27 suggested that some 50,000 to 80,000 people were still in the area affected by the fighting. Mentioning security concern as a problem, the statement said there was a little room for aid workers to manoeuvre in the highly-volatile areas. A similar complaint was reportedly made by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The UN said it was expecting more people to be displaced because of the ongoing fighting.

11 militants and two soldiers were killed during an encounter between the SFs and militants in the Baizai tehsil (revenue division) of Mohmand Agency. The militants attacked a check post in the Baidmani area of Baizai, triggering an attack by the SFs in which 11 militants and two soldiers were killed and two others injured. Independent sources, however, said that seven militants were killed in the clashes.

Law-enforcement agencies have arrested Qari Ishtiaq, ‘acting chief’ of the TTP unit in Punjab, from Bahawalpur. Ishtiaq allegedly masterminded the attack on the Army’s GHQ in Rawalpindi on October 10-11. Security agencies also seized a heavy cache of explosives and sophisticated arms from him. An intelligence source told the channel that the TTP Punjab chief had provided "important information" about his three accomplices – Sajjad, Qamar and Adnan. The channel said Police had also arrested 29 suspected terrorists from Bahawalpur.

US investigating agencies have neutralised a plot by the Pakistan-based LeT to use an American national for terrorist attacks in Denmark and India. The man, identified as David Coleman Headley, was one of two suspects arrested early in October 2009 by FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport before he boarded a flight to Philadelphia, from where he was intending to travel to Pakistan to meet Pakistani terrorist handlers, including the fugitive Ilyas Kashmiri. Headley's partner in the terror plot, which included plans to attack the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, was a Pakistani-Canadian named Tahawwur Hussain Rana, also a resident of Chicago who was arrested by the FBI on October 18.

October 28

A remote-controlled car bomb killed 117 people – including women and children – and injured around 200 others at the Meena Bazaar in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. Bomb disposal squad chief Shafqat Malik told reporters that 150 kilograms of explosives were used in the remote-controlled blast. He said that some people were still trapped under the rubble. The explosion brought down buildings. A three-storey building and a mosque, Masjid Umme Habiba, situated in the narrow bazaar, caved in while six other structures were engulfed by a huge fire caused by the explosion. Around 12 houses and over 60 shops were gutted while almost 300 other shops and houses were severely damaged due to the powerful explosion at around 12:40 pm. The Meena Bazaar is famous for women’s dresses, cosmetics and children’s garments. Minister Iftikhar Hussain told journalists that the blast was linked with the ongoing military operation in South Waziristan against the Taliban, saying, "foreign terrorists – including Arabs, Chechens and Uzbeks – stationed in Waziristan are carrying out attacks in Pashtun areas". However, no group claimed responsibility for the bombing. Meanwhile, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have denied involvement in the bomb blast and claimed they do not explode bombs in bazaars and mosques, The News reported. According to an Al Qaeda statement, they are not involved in the killing of innocent people. Al Qaeda sources said elements who want to defame Jihad and refugees are behind the Peshawar bomb blast. The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in an email sent to the media also condemned the blast and denied its involvement in the incident.

The SFs were only a few kilometres from Srarogha, the stronghold of the Hakeemullah Mehsud-led TTP, on the 12th day of the Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency. Sources said some militants were fleeing to North Waziristan from the Srarogha side and via the Shawal Road from Makeen due to increased pressure from the advancing troops. Local sources said the troops were heading for Srarogha after getting full control of Kotkai and securing the surrounding areas and ridges. "The next important point is Srarogha, where a tough battle is expected once the troops get close," said a political administration official. The ISPR said 25 militants were killed and a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered. Five soldiers sustained injuries in the clashes and in attacks from the militants in different areas, it added. The ISPR said SFs made considerable progress on the Kotkai-Srarogha axis and secured the area overlooking the TTP stronghold of Srarogha. Eight militants were killed and three soldiers were wounded in incidents in that area. The statement also said 25 Taliban training centres and nine caves were destroyed in Kotkai while three more training centres were overrun in the Murghaband area.

The ISPR chief, Major General Athar Abbas, while addressing a press conference in the federal capital Islamabad, said Uzbek fighters had made Mehsud and other tribes hostage, adding that Mehsud tribes were not linked with these foreigners. "As soon as the area is cleansed from terrorists, including foreigners, the Mehsud tribesmen will return to their area to resume their own system," he said. Abbas said it was confirmed, through interceptions, that TTP ‘commander’ Waliur Rehman was present in the area but nothing could be said about Hakeemullah Mehsud. He rejected the impression that the TTP had made a tactical withdrawal from Kotkai to launch another assault, saying that the Taliban leadership was on the run.

Four suspected militants were killed and three others injured in a clash with the SFs in Mohmand Agency.

The District Administration of Lahore has ordered that 17 Government schools in different areas of Lahore and the Punjab University be shut down for security reasons.

October 29

Continuing their advance towards Srarogha, the stronghold of the TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, the SFs said they had killed 11 militants and lost one soldier with two others injured, the 13th day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat. However, reporters and cameramen of television channels flown to South Waziristan and taken on a guided visit to several points quoted the SFs as claiming that 82 militants were killed in the fighting.

Local sources said the troops had surrounded Kaniguram village and were preparing to secure control of Masp Mela, Asman Manza and Karwan Manza in the next 24 hours. They said a clash took place between the SFs and militants in Kaniguram but there was no information about the casualties. Fierce clashes were also reported from Ahmadwam area near Srarogha. Local sources said 20 militants were killed in the clash in Ahmadwam. They did not mention casualties among the troops.

Jet fighters bombed Srarogha, Spina Mela, Ladha, Piazha, Sam and other areas of South Waziristan, believed to be the hiding places and strongholds of the TTP. These areas were also being targeted by artillery guns from Army bases in Razmak and Jandola, local sources said. They said several militants had been killed and injured, but the exact casualty toll could not be confirmed. An ISPR statement said the troops consolidated their position on the Kotkai-Srarogha axis from Jandola side. It claimed the troops captured Inzar Killay and clearance operation also continued in Zariwam village. Five militants were killed in Ganra Kas village in the same area. A mortar fire also killed one soldier and injured two others.

Since the launch of the operation in South Waziristan, security officials have claimed killing over 250 militants. They have also admitted the death of 31 soldiers since October 17. However, there are no reports from independent sources about the casualties and the gains by the troops. Most of the information about the operation is provided by the ISPR.

Army troops have discovered the passport of a militant linked to two hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks, during an operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan. A private TV channel reported on October 29 that the passport belonging to Said Bahaji, a German of Moroccan origin, was among documents, weapons and literature seized by the military and shown to a group of journalists during an official trip. The channel reported the passport showed the man had arrived in Karachi just days before 9/11. However, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, who accompanied the reporters on the trip to South Waziristan, had no comments to offer. "I haven’t seen the passport. These reporters may have seen it," he said. Bahaji’s name has appeared in the 9/11 Commission Report.

The leadership of Al Qaeda is in Pakistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. "I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to," she added. "Maybe that’s the case maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know... As far as we know, they are in Pakistan," Clinton told senior Pakistani newspaper editors in Lahore. Separately, Clinton also reportedly met Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and exchanged views on a host of security-related issues.

October 30

14 Taliban militants and two soldiers were killed on the 14th day of the Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency. All 14 militants were killed along the Jandola-Sararogha axis, with troops advancing towards and securing an important area west of Dralima and northwest of Ahnei Kalle. Two soldiers were killed when the militants fired mortar shells. "On the Shakai-Kaniguram axis, forces secured... ridge point 6,954 – 3 kilometres north of Kundmela and 2 kilometres west of Kaniguram," said an ISPR statement.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the US does not have any evidence of India''s involvement in Balochistan amid Pakistan’s allegation that New Delhi was fomenting trouble in the province. "Well, first of all, we have no evidence of that. I mean, we just have no evidence of that," Clinton said in reply to a question that many Pakistanis believe that India is fomenting trouble in Balochistan.

Pakistan’s Consul General in Chicago personally knew both David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, arrested by the FBI for planning to carry out a major terrorist attack in India at the behest of the LeT, the US authorities have claimed, according to Times of India. The FBI in its revised charge-sheet filed before a Chicago court said the Consul General of Pakistan in Chicago personally knows both Rana and Headley a.k.a. Daood Gilani, as all three of them are from the same high school. According to the Website of the Pakistan Embassy in US, Dr Aman Rashid is the Consul General in Chicago. "On or about September 25, 2009, Rana spoke by telephone with the Consul General at the Pakistani Consulate in Chicago in an effort to obtain a five-year visa for Headley to travel to Pakistan. It is clear from the email traffic unrelated to terrorist plotting that the Consul General knows Rana and Headley personally as all three attended the same high school," the FBI claimed. However, the affidavit, does not say anything if the Consul General was aware or had any inclination of the terrorist connection of Rana and Headley. Rana (48) and Headley (49) are residents of Chicago and also alumni of the same military school.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the Taliban torched 409 educational institutions in the Malakand Division of the NWFP and 64 in FATA. Calling the Taliban "professional killers and liars", the minister said they were enemies of Islam and Pakistan and had nefarious designs to destabilise the country.

October 31

33 Taliban militants were killed in the decisive battle for control of the Mehsud mainland in the Sararogha area of South Waziristan. Four army personnel were injured in the attack. "Security forces have entered Sararogha," the statement added. "The town has been surrounded from all three entry points. All the key positions and ridges around Sararogha have been taken over by security forces," it said. "During the process of moving forward, intense exchanges of fire took place. Thirteen terrorists have been killed. The military will begin its clearance operation of Sararogha in the next 24 hours. There is a substantial presence of terrorists in the town," ISPR Director General Major Gen Athar Abbas said. Separately, the military cleared Nawazkot of Taliban militants and moved onto the outskirts of Makeen.

Pakistan Air Force fighter planes bombed militant hideouts in the Orakzai and Kurram areas of FATA, killing 15 Taliban militants. The official sources said jet fighters bombed three suspected hideouts of TTP leader Hakeemullah Mehsud in Orakzai, killing at least eight Taliban militants and wounding several others. They said another air strike in Kurram killed seven militants.

Seven Security Force personnel were killed and 12 other injured when suspected Lashkar-e-Islam militants attacked their vehicle using a remote-controlled bomb in the Sur Dhand area of Bara in Khyber Agency.

November 1

The SFs killed 16 TTP militants and injured 10 others in clashes during Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency. In the battle to control Sararogha, one of the main TTP strongholds, SFs killed six militants and injured four others. Separately, aerial strikes in Ladha, Saam, Gadawai, Maidaan and Makeen killed five militants and injured three others. Four TTP hideouts were also destroyed in the air-strikes. In addition, the SFs captured Kaniguram, a town with a population of 30,000, and seized heavy weapons during a door-to-door search operation. Nine militants and two soldiers were killed during the fighting, taking the TTP death toll to 331 in 16 days of fighting. 38 soldiers have been killed in the operation so far, according to Army estimates, although there is no independent verification of casualty figures. "The command and control structure of the Taliban exists in Sararogha, Makeen and Ladha," a security official said.

As part of the Government’s fight against the militants, it will offer bounties of up to PKR 50 million each for TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, Waliur Rehman and Qari Hussain Mehsud, AP reported. "Such people are killers of humanity, and they deserve an exemplary punishment… The brutal acts of these people are earning a bad name for the Muslims in Pakistan and around the world," the advertisement states.

The Army hopes to neutralise the TTP in South Waziristan Agency before the winter sets in, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. "The operation so far has been very successful. The resistance that we were expecting initially did not come with the same swiftness we were expecting," Qureshi - who is in Kuala Lumpur to attend a meeting of Islamic countries starting on November 2 (today) - told reporters. "South Waziristan is an area which is very important in order to check terrorist activity in Pakistan. Not just Pakistan, but beyond," said Qureshi. He said the armed forces had surrounded the area and choked supply lines to the Taliban. "They are on the run. They are in retreat and there is disarray over there," he claimed. Qureshi said it would be difficult to give a timeframe for total military success, but "we would want to achieve our objectives as much as possible before the winter sets in… And it seems, as things are going on, that we might be able to do so ... I can’t give you a date, but that area becomes very cold (by late December). We want to operate and establish our foothold before that."

The suicide attack at a United Nations guesthouse in Kabul on October 28, 2009 was a joint operation directed by an Afghan warlord based in the tribal areas of Pakistan and by an Al Qaeda operative, the Afghan intelligence Director said. The intelligence official, Amrullah Saleh, said six Afghan suspects had been arrested, including an imam (prayer leader) who had provided a hideaway for the attackers. He said the suspects had said that the three suicide attackers were all from the Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Saleh said the operation was jointly directed. One group was the Haqqani network, a Taliban-affiliated organization led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin which is based in North Waziristan, and the other leader was an Al Qaeda operative known as Ajmal, who fled to the Waziristan area. 11 persons, including five UN personnel, were killed in the attack.

November 2

At least 35 persons, including two women and children, were killed and 63 others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. The majority of the blasts victims were reportedly military personnel and employees of the Defence Ministry who had queued up at the NBP Shalimar Plaza Branch to draw their salaries. It was the second terrorist attack in the Red Zone area of the garrison city within a month. According to eyewitnesses, many of the victims were retired military personnel who had gathered at the bank to draw their pensions. Several surrounding offices, part of a nearby hotel and a number of vehicles were also destroyed. Eyewitnesses said the attack occurred at 10:40am when a man riding a motorbike approached the parking lot of the plaza and blew himself up in front of the NBP branch, in close proximity with the Pearl Continental hotel, the military's General Headquarters and the State Bank of Pakistan. Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer (RPO) Aslam Tareen confirmed the eyewitnesses' account. "We found parts of a suicide vest and some body parts of the suicide attacker. At least 35 people were killed and 63 others were wounded," he said. The Inter-Services Public Relations Director General, Major General Athar Abbas, said four soldiers were killed and nine injured in the attack.

The ISPR Director General, Major General Athar Abbas, said that the Security Forces had gained complete control of Kaniguram, a major stronghold of Uzbek fighters. He said the terrorists there had been using modern weaponry, fortified positions and bunkers, adding the entire area had been cleared of mines and improvised explosive devices. He said the military had also secured Karama village, east of Kaniguram, adding other strategically important points around Kaniguram had also been secured. Giving details of Operation Rah-e-Nijat, the ISPR chief said 12 militants had been killed in the last 24 hours, adding that six SF personnel had been injured. He said he was not sure if the Taliban's top leadership had escaped to North Waziristan or was still in the area.

Seven Taliban militants were killed in clashes with the SF personnel and aerial strikes in Bajaur Agency. The air and ground assault focused on Ovishah, Seolai, Kharkay and Badalai areas in the Mamoond sub-division, destroying four terrorist hideouts. The SFs also reportedly clashed with the militants in Mulla Said and Mataak in the Salarzai sub-division.

Police foiled a terrorist attack targeting a police check-post at the Babu Sabu Interchange of the Lahore-Islamabad motorway, an entry point into Lahore. According to eyewitnesses, the attacker was travelling in a car with an alleged accomplice. Upon being stopped by Police for a routine inspection, the man got out of the car's passenger seat and detonated his suicide jacket, injuring 25 persons, including the car's driver. Civil Defence District Officer Mazhar Hussain told that eight to 10 kilograms of explosive material had been used in the attack. Mazhar said the terrorist's head was found some 30 yards from the blast site. He said the attacker's face was scarred but recognisable, adding the attacker seemed to be 18. Police officials said the car was packed with huge quantities of explosives and "could have caused a catastrophe" had it entered the city. Official sources said the injured included five Policemen, who were in critical condition.

The United Nations announced an immediate withdrawal of its staff from the NWFP and FATA due to the deteriorating security situation there. The measure was taken after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon assessed the security situation in the northwestern region at 'Phase-IV'. "The decision has been taken bearing in mind the intense security situation in the region," UN National Information Officer Ishrat Rizvi said. She said the implication of Phase-IV security would include reduction in the international UN staff in the region, with presence of only those vital for emergency operations, humanitarian relief, security operations and any other essential operations as advised by the Secretary-General. "All other UN staff involved in the running of programme activities will be relocated," she said.

November 3

The SFs advanced towards Janta after securing areas around the Taliban stronghold of Sararogha in the South Waziristan Agency, where 21 militants and one soldier were reported dead by the ISPR. Official sources said the troops had secured the areas around Sararogha while clashes had taken place near Makeen and Sam where the militants were offering resistance. The troops claimed killing 16 militants during clashes in Sararogha while a soldier was killed and another injured in a landmine explosion in the area.

The military is reported to have claimed considerable gains against the TTP on all the three fronts. Officials said the troops were now advancing towards Makeen and Ladha, considered as two major strongholds of the militants. With the 21 casualties, as claimed by the Army officials, the death toll of the militants has mounted to 364 in the past 18 days. However, claims and counter-claims from the two sides could not be confirmed from independent sources mainly due to inaccessibility of the area, severance of communication lines, and displacement of people from South Waziristan and their shifting to safer places.

Local sources said the SFs had captured the Janta area located between Sararogha and Ladha. However, they said the area had already been vacated by the militants. Janta is said to be a mountainous area and once a base of the Taliban because of its strategic location. They said the troops were now advancing towards Ladha, Asman Manza and Karwan Manza, the next important points after the capture of Kaniguram. The sources also said the TTP hideouts were targeted by fighter jets and with heavy artillery in Ladha, Makeen and Sam areas. Four militants' positions were reportedly destroyed in the attack, the sources added. The ISPR statement said besides killing 16 militants and the death of an Army soldier, two suspected militants had been arrested in Sararogha. It said militants fired six rockets on security forces in Kaniguram as they were busy searching the area for IEDs, weapons and militants to secure the adjoining ridges. The military said five militants were killed during a clash in Ghanikhel near Kaniguram. On the Razmak-Makeen axis, the troops said they had secured the area from Cheena up to Mian Nurkhel. Manza Sar had also been secured and the troops were consolidating their positions, the statement added.

Refuting the Army's claims about gains in South Waziristan, the TTP claimed that its fighters had staged a tactical retreat from some areas to bring the troops into hilly and forested areas. In a telephonic conversation with a foreign news agency, TTP spokesman Azam Tariq denied the Army's claims of killing over 300 militants during the last 18 days. "Only 11 of our men have been killed so far," Azam Tariq was quoted as saying. He said they were prepared for a long war with the Army and that they had retreated as part of a strategy from certain areas that the Army was claiming to have captured.

A would-be suicide bomber was killed before reaching his target in the Lachi sub-division of Kohat District. The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abdullah Khan said that a would-be suicide bomber, riding a motorcycle, was heading to his alleged target when he was blown up near the Iftikhar Well area in Lachi at 9:15 pm (PST).

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance approved the Anti-Money Laundering Bill 2009, declaring "terrorism financing" a criminal offence. Officials of the Finance Ministry and the SBP reportedly informed the committee members that Pakistan, being a signatory to various UN conventions, required laws in line with international standards to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. The committee meeting, presided by Fauzia Wahab, was attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen, Finance Secretary Salman Siddique, the SBP deputy governor, SBP Banking Policy director and other senior officials. The committee also approved increase in penalty from PKR 1 million to PKR 5 million for a company or its employees found guilty of an offence under the proposed bill. The committee was informed that the amendments were in line with international standards on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism. In the proposed bill, the definition of "financial institutions" includes any institution accepting deposits and other repayable funds from public, lending in whatsoever form, financial leasing, money or valuable transfer, managing credit and debit cards, cheques, travellers cheque, money orders, bank drafts and electronic money among other financial activities.

November 4

30 militants were killed and eight soldiers, including two officers, sustained injuries in clashes and street fighting as the troops entered the Taliban stronghold of Ladha in South Waziristan Agency. Official sources said the fighting continued in Ladha and Sararogha and the troops cleared a major part of Sararogha following its capture a day earlier and withdrawal of most of the militants from the area. Political administration officials said the troops have also entered the Sam, Gadwai, Asman Manza and Karwan Manza areas. They said the troops faced tough resistance from the militants in Gadwai during their advance towards Ladha. However, the SFs managed to reach there after clashes with militants. The SFs also reportedly captured the Tehsil (revenue unit) building and fort in Ladha. Official sources said 10 militants were killed in the fighting. Official sources said the troops started advancing towards Janta, Piazha and Makeen after securing control of Sararogha from the TTP. The troops were also advancing towards Ladha and Makeen from Razmak side thus narrowing the circle around the militants' stronghold from all sides. The sources said many militants had started deserting the TTP while others were escaping into the neighbouring Orakzai Agency. The sources also said the SFs had accelerated their advance towards the TTP strongholds from Wana and Razmak sides.

A statement from the Army's ISPR said 16 militants were killed during clashes with the SFs in and around Sararogha. Eight soldiers, including two officers and one Junior Commissioned Officer, sustained injuries in these clashes. On the Shakai-Kaniguram axis, the SFs entered the Ladha town, one of the key strongholds of the Hakeemullah Mehsud-led TTP. The ISPR has reported street fighting in the town and confirmed the killing of at least 10 militants. The statement also said the troops have secured the surrounding ridges. During a search operation, the troops recovered arms, ammunition, a blasting machine and swords and knives. Advancing from the third side on the Razmak-Makeen axis, the ISPR said the troops secured the Cheena village and consolidated their positions in that area. Four militants were killed while a soldier sustained injuries in the same area, the statement said, adding a huge quantity of arms and explosives were also recovered.

Sources said majority of the militants have either gone underground or fled to the neighbouring Orakzai and North Waziristan agencies instead of holding their positions to fight the advancing Army troops.

Four militants were killed when the SFs exchanged fire with them after an attack on a check-post at Hangu-Parachinar border in the Kurram Agency in FATA. A woman was also killed and three others sustained injuries when an artillery shell fell at a house in Spim Wam during the exchange of fire. Official sources said that militants fired three rockets at the security check-post in Spin Wam which was followed by heavy machinegun fire. The SFs subsequently retaliated with artillery shelling and ground troops chased the militants. Troops claimed that four militants were killed in the shootout.

Two female schoolteachers were killed when the Taliban militants ambushed their car in Shandai Mor, two kilometres from Khar in Bajaur Agency. Shazia Begum and Shamim Bibi, teachers at the Communal Girls School, were travelling from the school when militants fired on the vehicle, killing the two and injuring two other persons. The driver of the vehicle in which the teachers were travelling has reportedly been arrested.

SFs have killed at least four suspected Taliban militants in the Hangu District. A private TV channel reported that SF personnel were attacked by the Taliban at the Spin Thall check-post, near the District's border with Kurram Agency in the FATA. The SFs killed four militants in retaliation.

Two alleged suicide bombers accidentally blew themselves up on their way to the PAF Range road, 25 kilometres from Kohat city in the Kohat District. According to Police, the suicide bombers were riding a motorcycle. After apparently slipping on the road, one of the bomber's jacket accidentally exploded. Police teams have recovered the arms, legs and head of one of the bombers.

SF personnel have arrested the TTP Swat unit chief Maulana Fazlullah's 'finance secretary' and 24 other militants, official sources said. Military sources said that the SFs raided a house at Koza Bandai in Kabal sub-division during search operations and arrested Bakht Zaman, the TTP Swat finance secretary, and Saifullah, a key Taliban commander. They also said troops recovered PKR 81.5 million from the TTP 'finance secretary'. The SFs also arrested 23 other TTP militants from various parts of Swat District and also discovered two militant hideouts in Miadam.

November 5

The SFs secured Ladha Fort in South Waziristan Agency and consolidated their positions on peaks around another base of the militants. An ISPR statement said 28 TTP militants had been killed, taking the death toll for the TTP to 422 since the Operation Rah-e-Nijat began on October 17. Five soldiers, including an officer, were killed and two were injured. "Security forces have secured Ladha Fort and the northeast area of Shashak and also cleared Bangel Khel," the ISPR statement stated. SFs secured the Ladha Fort and consolidated their positions on the peaks in the Sararogha area where the five soldiers were killed in a blast, the military said. The troops also conducted house-to-house search and clearance operations in the Spin Qamar, Wucha Kauna Algad and Lugar Manza areas. The SFs also recovered a heavy cache of arms from the Razmak-Makeen axis.

The TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud has urged his fighters to stand fast against the military offensive in South Waziristan, warning them in an intercepted message obtained that cowards will go to hell. "Remember this is the commandment of God that once fighting starts with the enemy, you cannot leave the battlefield without permission from your commander, and don't look for excuses to run away from the fighting," Hakeemullah told his followers in a speech on November 3 broadcast over a wireless radio network. Of those, who do run away, he warned, "Such people will go to hell." The intelligence officials shared a recording of the speech with The Associated Press, to show that the militant leader is concerned about desertions in the ranks. "We are in Jihad and we should not pay heed to the whispers of Satan. We should sacrifice our lives for Islam so that we can feel pride on the day of judgment," Hakeemullah said.

The political administration officials said the troops had advanced some 30 kilometres from the Wana direction so far. They have reportedly captured some strategically important areas of Ladha Tehsil (revenue unit), which will facilitate their advance on the Ladha town. According to officials, the SFs have got control of Garde Serai mountain after consolidating positions in Ladha and the freshly captured Ladha Fort, which was abandoned by the FC after immense pressure from the militants more than a year ago. Sources said the FC fort was mostly destroyed by the militants. A clash was reported in Shamerai village near the Ladha bridge. Officials said seven militants were killed and some others sustained injuries in the incident. They said the rest of militants fled the scene. The troops also captured Sheen Sar and the Hanrai Tangi area in their advance from Jandola towards Sararogha. From the Razmak side, the SFs have seized control of Panj Plorai and Ashkar Kot to reach the Taliban stronghold of Makeen.

A statement from the ISPR said a blast near Sararogha killed five soldiers, including one officer. Two more soldiers sustained injuries. The explosion occurred as the troops were busy in a clearance operation and consolidating their positions on the Jandola-Sararogha axis. The troops have captured the areas of Shashak and Bangalkhel on the Shakai-Kaniguram axis. Seven militants were killed in retaliatory fire from SFs in Mangora and Ghundai Ghar. The troops also secured the road from Asman Manza to Gadawai, said the ISPR statement.

Four persons were killed when a US pilotless plane struck a house with missiles in the Naurak village of North Waziristan Agency. Tribal sources said the CIA-operated drone fired two missiles at 1:25 am at a house of a tribesman named Musharraf in Naurak, 12 kilometres from Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, killing four persons. The political administration confirmed the attack but denied any casualties. However, independent sources confirmed the killing. Unnamed security officials were quoted by the foreign and local media as claiming that those killed were militants.

November 6

Troops entered Makeen - considered the headquarters and the last bastion of the TTP in South Waziristan - as the military killed 24 more militants in clashes. "Today, security forces moved into Makeen, which is considered the headquarters of the Taliban. A large part of town has been cleared. In the remaining parts, a search-and-clearance operation is underway," said an ISPR spokesman in a statement, adding that intense clashes were in progress, and Taliban militants were fleeing the area - leaving behind their weapons and ammunition.

Troops killed at least 21 militants in Makeen, where a house owned by slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was also demolished. The Security Forces are also consolidating their positions around Sararogha, where search-and-clearance operations are underway. Troops, in addition, killed at least three TTP militants when the group fired rockets in Sararogha. The SFs are also reportedly consolidating their positions in and around Ladha, and conducting search-and-clearance operations.

Eight militants were killed and four were arrested during search operations in the Swat District. According to the Swat Media Centre, SFs conducted search operations in the Dakorak area of Charbagh sub-division early in the morning. During an exchange of fire with troops, local Taliban leader Fida Hussain and his four aides, Latif, Arsal Khan, Mohammad Anwar and Roshan, were killed. Troops also seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition. A military spokesman said that the Fida Hussain group was wanted in cases of looting a bank's van, killing of a security guard and attacks on the SFs in Charbagh, Khwazakhela and Alam Gunj. In another encounter, militant leader Fazal Maabud was killed and his unnamed associate was injured. In the Kabal sub-division, troops killed suspected militants Abdul Wali and Bakht Sher in a clash.

The deputy head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards alleged that Pakistan arrested and later released the Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Reigi a few days before the group carried out a suicide bombing in Iran. "We have precise information about the movement and places where terrorists are hiding," an Iranian news agency quoted Brigadier General Hossein Salami of the Revolutionary Guards as saying. "On September 26, Reigi was arrested in one of the streets of Quetta but after an hour he was released following the intervention of the intelligence service of our neighbouring country," Salami said. Quetta, capital of Balochistan, borders Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province where the Jundallah is active. Some 42 people, including 15 Revolutionary Guards personnel, died in the October 18 bombing in the Sistan-Baluchestan town of Pisheen. "How is it possible that this guy can move freely (unless he is) under the protection of the intelligence services?" Hossein Salami said.

November 7

SFs killed 12 Taliban militants in Makeen town of South Waziristan in FATA. The SFs cleared the eastern edge of Makeen during efforts to secure the town. SFs also destroyed a vehicle with fleeing terrorists on board, killing at least eight Taliban militants. Also, three soldiers, including two officers, were injured in clashes. Troops also recovered large caches of weapons and ammunition from various compounds in Makeen. Troops were consolidating their positions in Sararogha and the surrounding areas, and killed four terrorists during clearance operations north of Sararogha.

Five Taliban militants and three SF personnel were killed in a clash at Tura Warai area of Hangu in NWFP. District administration sources said that the Taliban attacked the Hangu Frontier Corps fort with mortars and other heavy weapons, killing three personnel. SFs retaliated, killing five Taliban militants. The sources said two women were also injured in the three-hour fighting between the SFs and the Taliban militants.

November 8

Troops killed 20 Taliban militants "over the last 24 hours" and found a huge cache of arms and ammunition, while eight soldiers - including an officer - were injured in Operation Rah-e-Nijat in various parts of South Waziristan. A statement by the ISPR said that troops consolidated their positions around Sararogha, Raghzai and Sagar Langer Gel, killing three Taliban militants in a clash. "On the Shakai-Kaniguram axis, troops fully dominated and controlled the entire axis and conducted a search-and-clearance operation ... in Totai, Langar Khel, Tapparghai, Gutsurai, Gadowai, Bangal Khel and Kund Mela," added the ISPR, adding that a huge quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives was also found. "Eight soldiers - including an officer - were injured and 12 Taliban were killed ... a factory for manufacturing IED components ... was found in Gadawai," mentioned the ISPR. In areas along Razmak and Makeen, troops conducted a search-and-clearance operation. "Taliban fired small arms and rockets in Blanki Sar, Lagar Manza, Kund Mela and Makeen ... 5 Taliban were killed in clash," said the ISPR.

10 Taliban militants were killed in a clash in Zachmir Kund area of Mohmand Agency. The clash erupted when Taliban militants attacked SFs with sophisticated weapons during a search operation in the area. Two SFs were also killed in fighting - which continued for about four hours. Five SFs were also injured.

Troops killed three Taliban militants and arrested another one in an injured condition, while eight others surrendered before SFs at Bajaur Agency. SFs used long-range artillery in Mamoond tehsil (revenue unit) to target Taliban hideouts, killing three Taliban militants.

At least 18 people, including a local councillor heading an anti-Taliban Lashkar (militia), were killed and 44 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a cattle market at Adezai village, 25 kilometres south of the capital city of Peshawar in NWFP. Peshawar Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Muhammad Karim Khan said that that around eight-to-10 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police foiled a terror attack attempt when they killed a would-be suicide bomber near a Golra police check post at Islamabad in Punjab. While two accomplices of the attacker managed to escape, a suicide jacket was recovered from the incident site.

November 9

SFs fully secured the Shakai-Ladha road and started patrolling the Kaniguram-Ladha axis as eight militants and four soldiers died in fresh clashes in South Waziristan on the 24th day of Operation Rah-e-Nijat. A local source said four soldiers died in a roadside bomb blast in the Makeen area. However, the Army militants fired several rockets at a security post in the Makeen area, killing four soldiers and injuring another. Eight militants were also killed in retaliatory action by the troops, said a statement from the ISPR.

Local sources said ground troops were consolidating their positions in Kaniguram and Makeen as fighter jets and helicopters continued targeting the militants' hideouts in different areas of South Waziristan. Locals said troops destroyed a stronghold of militant commander Mumtaz Burki in the Jamalki Garagah area in Kaniguram. A search operation was launched in Maidan, Kot Langarkhel, Zay Killay, Habib Kot and the surrounding areas in Ladha sub-division, said political administration officials. They also said that arms, ammunition and explosives with suicide jackets and ball-bearings were also recovered during search operations in the Shakai, Kaniguram and Bangalkhela areas. Troops have reportedly secured the Wedan, Ashkarkot and Tauda Cheena villages in Makeen as efforts were underway to secure the town, known to be the nerve centre of the militants. Most of the militants have, however, reportedly deserted their positions and fled to the nearby North Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai tribal agencies. Officials said a security post had been established in the Makeen area. They said resistance from the militants had ended in Kaniguram, Shakai, Tiarza, Silay Rogha, Asman Manza and Karwan Manza. The sources said troops had strengthened their control over all those areas once known as the strongholds of the militants.

The ISPR statement said SFs consolidated their positions at the Jandola-Srarogha axis. A search and clearance operation was also under way on the Shakai-Kaniguram axis. Locals said a small number of the displaced people were coming to register at the camp established in Ratta Kulachi in Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP. The ISPR said 9,343 cash cards had been issued to the displaced families. It said over 4,845 patients from the displaced families were treated at the Army field hospital in Dera Ismail Khan.

Eight suspected militants were killed and several others injured as military planes targeted their positions in the Kurram Agency. According to sources, the areas which came under the air attack included Chinarak, Spairkot and Ormigai in the east of Parachinar. A vehicle carrying militants was hit in Khwaidatkhel, leaving eight occupants dead. The sources said that the banned TTP had shifted its weapons and other material to Orakzai and central Kurram before the start of military operation in South Waziristan.

Three Security Force personnel and two militants were killed and a soldier sustained injuries in a bomb blast and firing incidents in different areas of Bajaur Agency. Sources said two soldiers were killed and another sustained injuries when their vehicle was attacked with a remote-controlled bomb in the Mulla Said area in Salarzai sub-division. In another incident, unknown armed men shot dead Subedar Noor Zada of the Bajaur Levies force in a high security zone in Khar.

Tariq Afridi, the TTP 'commander' for Darra Adam Khel in the NWFP, has reportedly been appointed as the chief of the banned organisation for Khyber Agency in the FATA and the Matani area of Peshawar District in the NWFP. Taliban sources said the appointment was made by the TTP Shura (executive council), which met recently in Orakzai Agency. The sources said Muhammad, the spokesman for the TTP in Darra Adam Khel, would also be the spokesman for the organisation for the Khyber Agency and the Matani area.

Three persons, including a Policeman, were killed and five others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber riding an auto-rickshaw blew himself up at a Police barricade on the Ring Road in the Latifabad area of Peshawar, capital of the NWFP. An eyewitness, Attaullah, told reporters that Policemen deployed at a barricade near a canal signalled an auto-rickshaw to stop around 10:00 am (PST). "A man in his early 20s, having a trimmed beard and wearing brown clothes, came out of the three-wheeler and detonated explosives strapped around his vest," he recalled. Another eyewitness, Sher Afzal, said he saw two people going towards the barricade in a rickshaw a few moments before the blast. Investigators said five to six kilograms of explosives were used in the incident. This was the second suicide bombing in Peshawar during the last 24 hours.

November 10

34 persons were killed and nearly 100 others sustained injuries in a powerful car bomb blast at a crowded intersection in the Charsadda bazaar of Charsadda District in the NWFP. Scores of women and children are reported to have died and dozens of shops and vehicles were damaged in the suspected suicide attack. District Police chief Riaz Khan said the explosives were packed in a car parked near the Farooq-i-Azam chowk. He said Police suspected that it was a suicide attack because limbs and shoes of the suspected bomber had been found. Shopkeepers and vendors were preparing to put down the shutters and a large number of people were waiting at a taxi stand when the explosion took place. Seven children and three women were among the dead, Police said.

The Army claimed killing nine more militants to raise the Taliban death tally to 492 since the launch of the Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency on October 17. Among the nine slain militants, the Army said five were killed in the north of Ladha and four others were killed in the Tauda Cheena and Fort Knoll areas of Makeen. Sources said the SFs were now controlling more than 80 per cent of the Mehsud areas in the agency as there was no or little resistance from the militants in recent days. They said the majority of militants had either fled into the neighbouring North Waziristan and Orakzai Agencies or sneaked into the adjacent districts of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan in the NWFP in the garb of fleeing population.

Azam Tariq, spokesman for the Hakeemullah Mehsud-led TTP, claimed in a telephonic call to reporters from an undisclosed location that the Army had so far captured only roads in South Waziristan while the Taliban were holding the key locations in forests and mountains. He said they had adopted the hit-and-run policy and were preparing to fight a long guerrilla war against the advancing Army. He also claimed inflicting casualties on the SFs, but did not give the exact number. The TTP spokesman said they were ready for a tough resistance against the Army.

Five militants were killed and seven injured when fighter jets bombed Taliban hideouts in the Orakzai Agency. The sources said that fighter jets bombed Ghalju, Khawga Rehri and other parts of Upper Orakzai, destroying three Taliban hideouts.

Five militants were killed in an exchange of fire with the SFs after attacks on the base camp of the Frontier Crops and check-posts in the Bajaur Agency.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced a "revolutionary" development package for Gilgit-Baltistan. Addressing a public gathering, Gilani assured them that the Gilgit-Baltistan election would be free, fair and transparent, and the Government would encourage all political parties to participate in the election process. He also said after the election, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan would enjoy complete internal autonomy as they would have their own Chief Minister, independent Public Service and Election commissions, and a separate judiciary. Gilani also declared Skardu as a 'big city', saying that the city had already been upgraded to the divisional level. The Prime Minister said 200 schools and 100 dispensaries would become operational in Skardu by the end of 2009, adding that PKR 2 billion had already been allocated for education and PKR 1 billion for healthcare. Allowance: He also announced Hill Allowance for Government employees of grade 1-15 and fixed their minimum salary at PKR 6,000. Gilani said the Skardu airport would be upgraded to the international level in view of the city's tourism potential. He stated that the Government had allocated PKR 100 million for the purchase of 100 buses for the students of Gilgit-Baltistan, adding that 33 buses had already been bought. He added that salaries of Police personnel in the area would be brought at par with their federal counterparts, adding that 5,000 more staff would be inducted in the Police force on quota at the district level.

A total of 264 candidates are contesting for 24 seats of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported on November 5. In the November 12 elections, there are 23 candidates contesting from PPP, 20 from MQM, 14 from PML-N, 14 from PML-Q, 6 from Jamiat-e Ulema-e Islam, 3 from Jamaat-e Islami, 10 from the Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance, 4 from the ANP and 2 from TIP and 2 from the Balawaristan National Front.

The TTP claimed that the fight in South Waziristan would be "tougher than in Kashmir". The TTP spokesman Azam Tariq also vowed to fight a "tough, protracted guerrilla war" against the army, and played down the group's losses in Waziristan.

The Afghan Taliban 'Commander' Abdul Manan a.k.a. Mulla Toor Jan, has denied any link between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani militants, saying that the Afghan Taliban were not in Pakistan but were fighting in Afghanistan against the occupied troops. Abdul Manan said the Afghan Taliban was fighting against the US and NATO troops as they occupied Afghanistan through force and the Taliban would drive them out of their land. Responding to a question regarding suicide attacks in Pakistan, he said: "It is un-Islamic and wrong to target innocent people in blasts." He also expressed his unawareness about the objectives of the Pakistani Taliban. Asked about the Taliban Shura in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, he said the Taliban had control of over 80 per cent of Afghanistan and it would not be wise for the Taliban to live in Pakistan, saying only one per cent or less Taliban militants visit Pakistan to meet their relatives. Answering another question, he rejected the influence of Al Qaeda on the Taliban, saying the Taliban wanted an Islamic system in the country according to the wishes of the people. Talking on coordination among the Taliban, he said advisers of the Taliban existed all over the country and they took decisions after consultation and their decisions had to be followed by the Taliban.

November 11

A landmine blast and ambush killed 10 SF personnel in the Mohmand Agency. "Eight soldiers were martyred and two were wounded when their vehicle hit a landmine buried on the roadside… The soldiers were on a routine patrol. The landmine was buried by the militants. The explosion damaged the pick-up," Frontier Corps spokesman Major Fazalur Rehman said. Two paramilitary personnel were killed and eight others reported missing after Taliban militants attacked their convoy at Ghanam Shah. Local official Rasool Khan said two SF personnel, initially reported as missing, later made contact. "A search operation is continuing for the remaining eight who are missing," Khan said. Two bodies were recovered after the ambush and 10 militants killed after attack helicopters shelled suspected Taliban hideouts in the Bai Zai area.

Seven Taliban militants were killed and two soldiers sustained injuries in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency, an ISPR statement said. "An intense gunbattle took place at the recently-established checkpost at Fort Knoll, where seven terrorists were killed and two soldiers, including an officer injured," it said. The forces also reportedly cleared Kaniguram and discovered eight tunnels inside the compounds and seized arms and ammunition. The operation is now mostly focused on consolidation of troops' positions in and around the TTP strongholds of Makeen, Ladha and Sararogha.

Five suspected militants were killed when helicopter gunships targeted the hideouts of Taliban in the mountainous area of lower Orakzai Agency. Officials said that at least six camps and hideouts of the Taliban were completely destroyed in the air strike in Sultanzai area in the evening. The air attack was conducted on the information that Taliban militants were fleeing South Waziristan Agency and taking shelter in the Orakzai Agency. Local tribesmen said that two women were also among the victims as militants were residing in their house.

Security Forces killed three militants and seized a huge quantity of arms and ammunition in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency. Security officials in the Shahkas Fort of Frontier Corps said that they launched a search operation in Gurguri and adjoining areas after getting information about the presence of some militants. They said that at least three militants were killed in an exchange of fire.

The operational commander of Swat, Major General Asfaque Nadeem, said that 100 per cent area of Swat was under the control of SFs and all entry and exit points had been closed so that militants could not escape from the valley. Talking to a group of senior journalists in Mingora, he said the SFs were conducting search operations in some areas of Swat District on information about the presence of unwanted elements. Gen Asfaque also said that work on development projects had already been started and the SFs were repairing and constructing mosques.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik informed the National Assembly that the masterminds of suicide attacks on the International Islamic University and the UN office in Islamabad had been arrested. He said the Police investigation led to the arrest of two masterminds and the Police officials extracted important information from them. However, no details regarding the arrest were provided by the minister.

November 12

17 soldiers were killed in stiff resistance to Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency by the TTP. This is the highest death toll for the military since operations were launched on October 17, security officials said. At least 15 soldiers were killed in clashes while a roadside bomb blast killed two soldiers in the Sararogha area further east, officials said. The ISPR earlier said that five soldiers and 22 militants were killed in the last 24 hours of the offensive. But the Army and security officials in the area said that the military death toll was 17. 15 soldiers were killed in the clashes, an Army officer said. It is the first time we have seen such stiff resistance, he said. Another unnamed official also said the clashes included face-to-face fighting.

The Army said five militants were killed during a clash with militants in the Ghra Sar area on the Jandola-Sararogha axis. The troops were busy clearing the area when they came under fire from the militants. One soldier sustained injuries in an exchange of fire. 14 militants and five soldiers were killed while seven soldiers sustained injuries in another clash in the Kot Langarkhel area near Ladha as the troops continued a search and clearance operation on the Shakai-Kaniguram axis. The military said caches of arms and ammunition were recovered in Sata, Mangora Sar, Narakai, Gulit Killay, Torwam and Shabikhel areas. On the Razmak-Makeen axis, the SFs continued advancing towards the south of Makeen. A security post was also established in Zaidullah Gharyum and troops started patrolling the area, the ISPR said. It said the operation was under way to secure the Darra Algad area, located south of Makeen. The statement said three more militants were killed during a clash with troops in Rogha village. The political administration officials said the Ladha-Wana Road had been cleared of landmines while the operation was under way to clear the Ladha-Makeen Road. Five remote-controlled bombs were discovered and defused on the Ladha-Wana Road, officials added.

Syed Abul Hassan Jaffry, media manager of the Iranian consulate in Peshawar, the NWFP capital, was shot dead near his home in Gulbarg. Jaffry was going to his office when he was shot at point-blank range as he turned his car towards the Swati Phatak. Cantonment Circle Superintendent of Police Nisar Khan Marwat said that it appeared to be a sectarian attack. He said there was no eyewitness, but it was possible that more than one assailant had fired at the car from two directions with 30-bore pistols. Jaffry's brother-in-law Shah Agha said "It was a target killing, but it is not clear if he was killed by Americans or it was a sectarian attack. He had no enmity with anyone."

November 13

13 people - 10 military personnel and three civilians - were killed and 60 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the regional headquarters of the ISI in Peshawar, the NWFP capital. An ISPR statement said the bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a military check-post on Artillery Road at 6:45am (PST), killing 10 military personnel and three civilians, and injuring 60. The NWFP Inspector General of Police, Malik Naveed, said the vehicle was loaded with around 200 kilograms of explosives. NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain told the media that nine ISI officials were killed, while three were missing. Hussain also said that surrounding walls and an entire block of the agency headquarters were completely destroyed, while six blocks had been partially damaged.

Ten persons, including nine security officials, were killed and 22 injured in a suicide attack at a Police Station in the Bannu town of Bannu District in the NWFP. A Police official said that a suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the Bakkakhel Police Station on Miranshah Road - killing seven Security Force personnel, two Frontier Corps troops and a pedestrian. He also said that 22 people, including 19 Policemen, were also injured in the suicide attack. The station is close to the border with North Waziristan. The bomber reportedly struck 25 minutes after the suicide attack on the ISI building in provincial capital Peshawar.

Six militants and two soldiers were killed in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency, an ISPR press release said. The soldiers were killed and an equal number were wounded during an encounter with the militants at Ahmed Wam. SFs have reportedly fully secured the area from Makeen to Marobi Raghzai. They also cleared Rogha and Mir Khoni.

Pakistan's focus in the war on terror is being affected because of persistent tension with India, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said. "While Pakistan is fully committed to taking to logical conclusion the ongoing operations against the Taliban, the country's forces are over stretched because of perpetual tensions on the eastern border," Gilani said at a meeting with the visiting US National Security Adviser Gen (r) James Jones. The Prime Minister said the US should be "sensitive" to Pakistan's core interests - including the Kashmir dispute, issues related to water, the Indian military's capability and the balance of power in South Asia. He also said the US should use its influence with India to resume the composite dialogue process and bring down tensions with Pakistan, to enable Islamabad to concentrate on the war on terror.

November 14

Troops killed 13 Taliban militants in two separate clashes in Swat in the NWFP, the ISPR said in a statement. Five terrorists were killed after a group of Taliban militants ambushed a military convoy near Totakan village, while, another eight Taliban militants were killed during a search operation in a forest near Mangaltan village.

12 persons, including a Policeman and a three-year-old child, were killed and another 35 injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle at a Police checkpost in Peshawar, the provincial capital of NWFP, Police and hospital staff said.

SFs killed seven Taliban militants in operations in the South Waziristan Agency, the ISPR said in a statement. The forces also cleared the area around Madike, located two kilometers northeast of Ahmed Wam, and also secured an important height, Point 1663, at Parmonkai Roghzai, the ISPR statement said, adding, numerous propaganda CDs, maps and passports were seized during a search operation for Taliban commander Nasrullah.

Seven militants were killed and a Taliban ammunition depot destroyed as fighter jets pounded suspected Taliban hideouts in the Lower Orakzai Agency.

November 15

Twelve more militants were killed in clashes with the SFs in Karakar and Shamozai Gharai while 14 bodies were found dumped in Charbagh's Gulibagh area in the Swat Valley. It was the second consecutive day that clashes between the SFs and militants were reported from Swat District. Eight casualties of militants were reported from Charbagh on November 14 when the SFs claimed killing them in a clash during a search operation in the Ashar Banr and Nala areas. The troops killed 12 more militants in two different areas of the valley. Four militants were killed in a gunfight in the Shamozai Gharai area. In addition, eight bodies were recovered from Karakar, a mountain connecting the Swat and Buner Districts, while 14 bodies were found in the Gulibagh area. The bodies dumped in Karakar and Gulibagh areas were stated to be of militants. The ISPR said 12 militants were killed in Karakar Banda, Ilam Saand, Ashar Banr and Gari Shamozai. It said the militants were killed during a search operation. There was no mention in the ISPR press release about the bodies recovered from the Gulibagh area.

Volunteers of the Lashkar (militia) shot dead three veil-clad men near the residence of an anti-Taliban Nazim in Bazidkhel village of Peshawar District in the NWFP. Nazim of the Bazidkhel Union Council, Faheemur Rahman had raised a voluntary Lashkar comprising several hundred villagers to protect his area from the militants. He has survived a number of bombings and attacks on his life after a feud with Mangal Bagh, the chief of the Khyber Agency-based militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Islam. "The three Burqa-clad terrorists were on their way to my village Hujra, five kilometres south of Peshawar on the Kohat Road, when someone informed the Qaumi Lashkar volunteers and the villagers managed to kill them," Faheemur Rahman said.

The death toll from a suicide car bombing at a Police checkpoint in Peshawar, capital of the NWFP, increased to 15, Police and administrative officials said. The bomber detonated his cache of explosives on November 14 as Police tried to stop and search his vehicle at a check-post in the city. "The death toll has risen to 15. Twenty-one injured people are still being treated in hospitals," a senior Police official, Karim Khan, said.

The TTP has claimed responsibility for the November 13-suicide attack on the regional headquarters of the ISI in Peshawar. Qari Hussain, a top TTP 'commander', telephoned reporters to claim responsibility for the suicide bombing that targeted the ISI regional headquarters off the busy Khyber Road in the Cantonment area. Qari Hussain, cousin of the TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud and known as the trainer of suicide bombers, threatened further attacks against the Security Forces and law-enforcement agencies.

18 militants were killed as fighter jets targeted Taliban hideouts in the Orakzai Agency. The bombings also destroyed 10 Taliban hideouts in the Ghaljo, Dabori and Mamozai areas of upper Orakzai Agency. Shelling by helicopter gunships also destroyed a Taliban ammunition depot in the area.

Five militants were killed in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency. The SFs claimed killing five militants in Ahmadwam village on the Jandola-Sararogha Road. Military sources said an exchange of fire took place between the SFs and militants during a search operation in Ahmadwam that resulted in the killing of five terrorists. The sources said the troops cleared the villages of Shavazai, Khaznikai and Odin Sar on the road between Jandola and Sararogha. A cache of arms was recovered in the Tiarza area on the Shakai-Kaniguram Road, where SFs are conducting a search operation. Four roadside bombs were recovered and defused by the bomb disposal squad of the Army during a search operation on the Razmak-Makeen Road. The SFs also reportedly established a check-post in the Shawal Algad area on the same route. The troops are reported to have cleared the Ladha Bridge and recovered arms and ammunition during the operation in the same area. Sources said the militants launched a rocket attack on the SFs in the Tauda Cheena area. However, no casualty was reported in the attack.

Intelligence agencies have arrested a top leader of the TTP from a major city of the Punjab province after trailing him for a week. The militant, who was only identified by his initials N.A.Z, is said to rank amongst the top leaders of the category-3 classification done by the security agencies. Category-1 includes Osama bin Laden, Mulla Omar and Aymen al-Zawahiri. Category-2 includes Hakeemullah Mehsud, Maulvi Fazlullah etc, while Category-3 top leaders comprise the cadre that is directly responsible for specific territories, which in the arrested militant's case are the entire Punjab province and the federal capital Islamabad. He was described by an unnamed Police official as an "information treasure trove". N.A.Z hails from a Middle Eastern country and was reportedly the chief planner of terrorist activities in Punjab and Islamabad, the sources said.

A militant, considered to be a close aide of the TTP Darra Adam Khel 'commander' Tariq, confessed to killing a Polish engineer earlier in 2009. The Taliban in Darra Adam Khel had announced on February 8 that they had beheaded Polish engineer Peter Stanczak. Attaullah said 'commander' Tariq had assured him that the Peter's murder would earn them money and ensure the release of their colleagues in Government custody. The TTP militant also confessed to his involvement in a number of other incidents of terrorism and abductions for ransom. Attaullah said he, along with Abdul Samad, Umer Farooq, Mufti Abdul Rasheed and Abdul Ghafoor, had killed dozens of people in various attacks and abducted several others for ransom.

The CIA of the USA has funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan's ISI since the 9/11 attacks, accounting for as much as one-third of the CIA's annual budget - reported an American newspaper, citing current and former US officials. The Los Angeles Times quoted officials as saying that the ISI had also "collected tens of millions of dollars through a classified CIA programme that pays for the capture or killing of wanted militants, a clandestine counterpart to the rewards publicly offered by the State Department." The officials said the payments have triggered intense debate within the US Government, because of "long-standing suspicions that the ISI continues to help Taliban who undermine US efforts in Afghanistan and provide sanctuary to Al Qaeda members in Pakistan." But US officials have continued the funding because the ISI's assistance is considered crucial: "almost every major terrorist plot this decade has originated in Pakistan's tribal belt, where ISI informant networks are a primary source of intelligence", said the newspaper. The White House National Security Council has "this debate every year", said a former high-ranking US intelligence official involved in the discussions. Despite deep misgivings about the ISI, the official said, "there was no other game in town". The payments to Pakistan are authorised under a covert programme initially approved by former President George Bush and continued under President Barack Obama. "The CIA payments are a hidden stream in a much broader financial flow... the US has given Pakistan more than $15 billion over the last eight years in military and civilian aid," said Los Angeles Times. "The ISI has used the covert CIA money for a variety of purposes, including the construction of a new headquarters in Islamabad... that project pleased CIA officials because it replaced a structure considered vulnerable to attack: it also eased fears that the US money would end up in the private bank accounts of ISI officials," it said.

November 16

The SFs killed four militants near Gulibagh in the Swat District while the body of a militant 'commander' was found dumped in the Sambat area of Matta sub-division. The ISPR said the troops conducted a search operation in Roria near the Gulibagh area of Charbagh. It said the SFs confronted the militants during the action and killed four of them. Sources said the bullet-riddled body of Ahmad Jan alias Tor Lala was found dumped on a roadside in Sambat after unidentified men killed him. Ahmad Jan was among the 'commanders' of the Swat militants wanted by the SFs in numerous acts of terror in the area, the sources said.

Three persons were killed and more than 30 others sustained injuries in a suicide car bombing which targeted the Badaber Police Station on the Kohat Road near Peshawar, the NWFP capital. The powerful blast razed to the ground a mosque, a large portion of the Police Station and three nearby buildings. It also injured some horses in the nearby horse stand and damaged several vehicles in the vicinity. Eyewitnesses said Constable Umer Rahman of the Frontier Constabulary opened fire as he became suspicious about a fast-approaching vehicle near the Badaber Police Station around 7:40am. "When the brave constable opened fire, the explosives stuffed in the vehicle exploded. The soldier also suffered injuries but he is safe and sound," Frontier Constabulary Commandant Zafarullah Khan said. Those killed in the blast were identified as Dilshad from Badaber village, Abdul Mannan from Mohmand Agency and Sher Rahman belonging to the Kurram Agency. Officials of the bomb disposal squad estimated that around 250 kilograms of explosives had been stuffed in the vehicle. This was the fifth incident of its kind in and outside Peshawar during the last eight days.

November 17

The Army has captured most of the population centres and disrupted the terrorists' food supply line in South Waziristan, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said. "The myth has been broken that this was a graveyard for empires and it would be a graveyard for the army," Abbas told reporters in Sararogha. "Major town and population centres have been secured," he added. An ISPR statement said the SFs had completely cleared Sararogha. "Sararogha has been completely cleared and fully under control of security forces," it said. They secured important feature point 1665, south of Janata, and conducted sanitisation of Khazhikai, Shuza Sar and defused six IEDs. The SFs also consolidated positions at Ghundai Gur, Tikrai Sar, Sultano, Pungai, Ladha Fort and Bangel Khel, and carried out search operations at Gani Khel, Khaikaeh Narai. The ISPR statement said the forces were strengthening their positions on the Razmak-Makeen axis. They also cleared Blanki Sar and destroyed six Taliban bunkers.

The Taliban chief in Swat District, Maulana Fazlullah claimed that he had safely crossed over to Afghanistan. BBC Urdu Service said Fazlullah telephoned its Peshawar reporter Abdul Hai Kakar to claim that he was in Afghanistan and that his fighters would soon start guerrilla attacks against the Security Forces in Swat. The report said Fazlullah read a written statement while speaking from a mobile phone having an Afghanistan code. Fazlullah is reported to have threatened that the NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who is in the forefront in condemning the Taliban, would meet the same fate as late Afghan President Dr Najibullah who was shot dead and then hanged, along with his younger brother Ahmadzai, in Kabul's Aryana Square by the Afghan Taliban on September 27, 1996 on the day they captured the city.

November 18

Six civilians and 12 militants were killed, while 23 people sustained injuries as jetfighters shelled various parts of the Orakzai Agency. Tribal and official sources said the jet fighters targeted the hideouts and compounds of the militants in Ghiljo, Mishti Bazaar, Mazidgarhi and Tor Kanray, killing 12 militants and injuring 17 others. Eight hideouts and four vehicles were also destroyed in the attack. The sources said that some of the shells missed the targets and hit houses in Shahukhel area, killing three women, two minors and a man while injuring six others. Those killed were identified as Utmankhela, Usmankhela, Naeema Bibi, Asad, Samina and Abdul Wahid.

In Kurram Agency, the SFs targeted the Shashu Ghund area with artillery, killing five militants and injuring four others. Tribal sources said the SFs fired 70 artillery shells at the hideouts of militants in Shashu Ghund. Some of the slain militants were identified as Hamza, Masood and Saifullah.

Four militants were killed and two others sustained injuries when fighter planes targeted their hideouts in the Mamond and Nawagai sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency. SFs, sources said, shelled the militants' positions with artillery and rocket launchers in the Charmang Valley of Nawagai, killing four militants and injuring two others.

SFs claimed killing six more militants in South Waziristan Agency. A statement of the ISPR said six militants were killed when they opened small arms fire on the SFs in the Kund Mela area on the Shakai-Kaniguram Road. Five soldiers, including an officer, sustained injuries in the attack. In retaliatory fire, six militants were killed. On the Jandola-Srarogha axis, the SFs continued consolidating their positions in Khazhankai, Adirai Mela, Chagmalai and Siltoi. A roadside bomb exploded near a security patrol, injuring one officer and two soldiers. On the Razmak-Makeen Road, the troops destroyed eight bunkers in Lita Sar and Blanai Sar areas. A huge quantity of weapons was also recovered during a search operation in Cheena village, said the ISPR.

Azam Tariq, spokesman for the banned TTP, told a news conference at a secret location in South Waziristan that the Taliban never thought of Azad (independent) Waziristan, which was the propaganda of the "pro-US" government in Islamabad. Only three journalists from the neighbouring North Waziristan Agency were reportedly invited to a meeting with Azam Tariq at a secret location. The TTP spokesman told the journalists that they would continue fighting the American and NATO troops in Afghanistan. He said the Taliban in Waziristan had no dispute with the Government of Pakistan and the Army, as the people of this region were patriots. He alleged that the Government had risked the country and the people by lending support to the United States and the TTP would continue its war till the US control ended. He dissociated the Taliban from the blasts in civilian areas and claimed the Blackwater agency was involved in all such attacks. "Look, what it (Blackwater) has done in Iraq with civilians," said Azam Tariq, adding the security agency was brought into Pakistan under a well-planned strategy. An AFP report added that Azam Tariq also said the Taliban's guerrilla war would expel troops from South Waziristan. "We have not been defeated. We have voluntarily withdrawn into the mountains under a strategy that will trap the Pakistan Army in the area," the Taliban spokesman claimed. "The Army claims they have captured most of the towns. This is wrong, in fact we have vacated old forts which we captured from them in previous clashes. The troops are trapped there and we will retake the area," he said.

Four militants were killed and five others injured in a US drone missile strike in the Shanakhora village of North Waziristan. "It was a US drone attack which targeted a militant compound killing four militants and wounding five others," a senior security official in the area said. He said two missiles were fired from a US drone. Another security official confirmed the attack. "The compound was being used by the Taliban militants, however it is not clear whether there were any foreign militants or high-value targets," the official said. Residents in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, said they heard two loud blasts just before midnight.

Two women, three children and two men were killed when military planes accidentally bombed some houses in the Hangu District of NWFP. In the course of an attack on a seminary, the planes are reported to have accidentally dropped some bombs on adjacent shops and some houses in the Shahu Khel area of Hangu. Besides the women and children, two labourers were also killed in the attack.

Six more bodies of suspected militants were found dumped in various areas of Swat Valley. Those whose bodies were found also included a close aide to the slain deputy leader of the Swat Taliban Maulana Shah Dauran. The corpse of Ihsanullah was found dumped in the fields in Kokarai locality of Mingora. The body of another militant, identified as Shamakhel, was recovered from a roadside in Charbagh. Local sources said four bodies of suspected militants were found in the Gorra area situated on the border with Dir District.

November 19

20 people - including three Policemen - were killed and 50 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the Judicial Complex on Khyber Road in Peshawar, the NWFP capital. This was the sixth suicide attack in 11 days in the provincial capital. The bomber struck at around 10:20am at the main gate of the complex, which houses district lower courts and is close to the Peshawar High Court, Civil Secretariat, the NWFP Assembly Flag Staff House and other Government offices and installations. Peshawar District Coordination Officer Sahibzada Muhammad Anis told reporters that it was a suicide attack, and the bomber had tried to enter the court premises. "He was on foot and detonated his explosives when security personnel tried to stop him," said Anis, adding that three Policemen were among the dead. The Cantonment Superintendent of Police, Nisar Marwat, said that around eight-to-10 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

13 militants and a paramilitary soldier were killed and several other people injured in air raids and clashes in various parts of the Bajaur Agency. Fighter planes and helicopter gunships are reported to have targeted militant hideouts in the Speray, Gatki and Sewai areas of Mamond sub-division. Two relatives of a militant leader, Maulvi Muneer, were killed when a shell hit his house in Sewai. One mortar shell hit the house of militant leader Fam Jan in Kamangara area of Nawagai sub-division, killing him, his wife and two sons. In addition, four militants were killed and five others injured in a clash with the Security Forces in the Charmang area of Nawagai sub-division. The clash erupted when militants attacked a security post in Bar Cheenar area with heavy weapons. The fighting, which continued for over an hour, also left one paramilitary soldier, Sarwar Khan, dead and six others injured. A girl was injured when a shell fired by militants hit a house.

SFs are reported to have killed seven more Taliban militants in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency. The SFs "engaged and cleared a Taliban [hideout] ...near Kikrai" on the Jandola-Sararogha front, said an ISPR statement. "During the clash, seven Taliban were killed," said the ISPR, adding that troops also consolidated their positions around Tor Wam, and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition. The SFs also reportedly gained control of positions around Marghaband, and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition. They have started clearing compounds in Janata village, and found some arms and ammunition. The troops are also consolidating their positions on the Razmak-Makeen front, and found the bodies of two Taliban militants in Imarkhel Zangi.

November 20

Tribal and officials sources said five militants were killed and nine persons, including a soldier, sustained injuries during an exchange of fire in the Asman Manza area in the Ladha sub-division of South Waziristan. The clash, which continued for an hour, erupted when the militants attacked a military camp.

In the Khyber Agency, eight militants were killed in a clash with the SFs in the Gandao area. Official sources said the militants attacked a security check-post in Gandao with heavy arms, prompting the troops to retaliate. The exchange of gunfire continued for two hours in which eight militants were killed. Further, a member of the BDU was killed in a roadside explosion in Bara sub-division.

SFs targeted the hideouts of militants at Charmang in Nawagai and Hazar town in the Mamond sub-division of Bajaur Agency with artillery shells and mortar guns, killing six militants and injuring four others. Four soldiers were killed and three wounded when the militants attacked their check-post in the Chinar area.

A US drone strike on a compound in North Waziristan Agency killed eight Taliban militants. Two militants were also injured in the attack on the building located in Michi Khel village of Mir Ali revenue-division, 18 kilometres east of agency the headquarters Miranshah. The targeted compound was owned by two brothers and the Taliban militants frequently visited the building.

Five militants, including a foreigner, were killed when the SFs targeted the militant hideouts in Speen Thall area of Thall sub-division in the Hangu District. An Afghan militant was among the dead.

The death toll in the bomb attack on a Police party in the Yakatoot area of provincial capital Peshawar increased to three after a Sub-Inspector and another Policeman succumbed to injuries at the Lady Reading Hospital. According to the bomb disposal unit, around 10 kilograms of high-intensity explosives were used in the attack. The officials added that the explosives were planted on the roadside and triggered through a remote-control device when the patrolling car was passing through the area.

Mulla Muhammed Omar, chief of the Afghan Taliban, has reportedly fled Quetta, the Balochistan capital, and found refuge from the potential US attacks in Karachi, capital of Sindh, with the assistance of Pakistan's intelligence. Mulla Omar had been residing in Quetta, where the Afghan Taliban Shura had moved from Kandahar after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Two senior US intelligence officials and one former senior CIA officer said that Omar travelled to Karachi in October 2009 after the end of Ramadan. He inaugurated a new senior leadership council in Karachi, the officials said. The officials accused the ISI, Pakistan's external intelligence agency, of helping the Taliban leaders move from Quetta, where they were exposed to attacks by the US drones.

India is complicating issues to delay the peace dialogue with Pakistan on all issues, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said. Basit said Pakistan wanted initiation of a result-oriented dialogue process with India. "We are not interested in mere photo sessions," he added. India was not sincere about resolving the Kashmir and water-related disputes with Pakistan, he claimed, adding that the Indian behaviour testified that it did not want peace in the region.

November 21

SFs killed 14 Taliban militants in Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency, as six soldiers, including an officer, were also killed and another four injured. The ISPR said the SFs secured Lakki Ghundi after an intense battle with the Taliban. "During the operation, 14 terrorists were killed, while six soldiers, including an officer embraced martyrdom and four were injured," it said. SFs cleared Gandil Wala area near Jandola and launched a search operation in Sarwekai and Paya near Tiarza. SFs also conducted a mopping up operation at Yargha Khel near Kaniguram and also discovered a 70-foot tunnel in the area. Troops also secured Manna, Tut Kasko Khula and Kandao Sar west of Razmak and secured Laghar Narai as well. The road from Laghar Narai to Nawazkot was cleared and eight IEDs were neutralised. A large cache of weapons was recovered, the ISPR added.

Three suspected militants blew themselves up after Police surrounded them in Sarar village on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). "Police chasing the suspects surrounded them in Sarar village" on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, Police official Raja Faisal said. "The militants, who were on foot, blew themselves up after police surrounded them," he said, adding that there were no Police casualties.

November 22

The SFs claimed to have killed 13 militants and conceded one casualty and injuries to five soldiers during an encounter in the Shahukhel area of Orakzai Agency. Military sources said the FC launched a ground assault in the Shahukhel area (bordering Hangu District of NWFP) early in the morning. During the battle, the sources said 13 militants and one Junior Commissioned Officer were killed and five soldiers sustained injuries. Tribal sources said the hideouts and compounds of militants in the Shahukhel area were bombarded by fighter jets, gunship helicopters and artillery. The use of jet fighters, however, could not be confirmed officially. Talking to reporters from an undisclosed location, the banned TTP Orakzai chapter spokesman Ziaur Rehman, however, claimed that no militant was killed in the fighting.

11 suspected militants, a majority of foreigners among them, were killed and seven others injured when jets bombed militant hideouts and an Afghan refugee camp in Orakzai Agency. Strikes were also carried out in the Chappri Feroze Khel and Bezote areas bordering Khyber Agency.

17 militants, including two 'commanders' and two foreigners, were killed and eight others injured in bombing by fighter planes and clashes between the SFs and militants in different areas of the Bajaur Agency. Official sources said jet fighters of the Pakistan Air Force carried out intensive bombing on militant positions in the Saparay, Kharkay, Gotki and Sewai areas of Mamond subdivision, killing four militants, including two foreigners, and injuring five others. Four bunkers, they added, were also destroyed in the attacks. In another operation, the SFs killed 10 militants and an important 'commander', identified as Rafiullah, and wounded three others when fierce clashes broke out between the two sides in the Lois am, Inzari and Rashakai areas. Reports said the militants had attacked security checkpoints with automatic weapons, which was retaliated instantly. A local militant 'commander', whose identity could not be established, was among the dead. Meanwhile, a militant commander was killed when the troops shelled his house with artillery guns in the Tarkho area in Mamond.

Five militants were killed and nine others sustained injuries in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan Agency. Officials said the troops came under attack from the militants during their advance towards the Pash Ziarat and Shawal areas. The SFs retaliated, killing two of the attackers and injuring five others. The troops subsequently secured control of the Pash Ziarat area after pushing back the militants, the officials added. They were now reportedly advancing towards Shawal, they said, adding a trooper also sustained injury in the clashes. A clash was also reported from the Asman Manza area of Kaniguram. Officials said the militants attacked a camp of the SFs from the Murdar Algad area. Retaliatory fire from the troops resulted in the killing of three militants. One soldier sustained injuries in the encounter.

The SFs said that they had secured the Ladha-Makeen Road and started patrolling the Wana-Kaniguram route in South Waziristan. The troops also said they were in full control of the Jandola-Wana Road and that electricity supply has been restored in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan.

The LeT denied having any link to two men arrested in Chicago on terrorism charges. David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana were arrested in October 2009 and are accused of plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and unspecified targets in India, the US authorities said in court documents. The documents said the plans were discussed with the LeT and with another militant Ilyas Kashmiri. The Indian authorities are also investigating whether the two men had links to the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. "David Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana have no connections with the LeT, linking them with our organisation was propaganda aimed at maligning Kashmir's freedom struggle… We strongly condemn it," Abdullah Gaznavi, the spokesman for the group, told Reuters by phone. "All our members are local Kashmiri Muslims and we have no network in America, or any other place… We are only fighting Indian security forces in Kashmir," Gaznavi claimed.

The Government has amended the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 through the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance 2009, which bars courts from granting bail to suspected terrorists liable to the death sentence, life imprisonment or a 10-year prison term. According to a copy of the ordinance available, the Government has amended Section 21-D of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997, under which no court, including the high courts and the Supreme Court, can grant bail to a person liable to these punishments. The Government had included Section 21-E in the act, under which the period of physical remand of suspected terrorists has been increased from 30 days to 90 days, enabling Police to effectively interrogate suspects. Under the new Section 21-E, banks and monetary institutions are bound to provide information on transactions and accounts having links with crimes or financial assistance to terrorists.

November 23

SFs claimed to have killed 17 militants in the Shahukhel area of Orakzai Agency. Official sources said gunship helicopters targeted the hideouts and compounds of the militants in the Shahukhel area. Ground forces also used heavy artillery and took control of the area. The sources said during the shelling, the SFs killed 17 militants and injured eight others.

Nine more Taliban militants have been killed in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency. An Inter-Services Public Relations statement said that three soldiers were also injured in the fighting. The Security Forces cleared Golden Top west of Pash Ziarat in Tabai Sar following "intense clashes" with Taliban, and consolidated their positions around Lakhi Ghund and the Bunker ridge.

Six people were killed when a shell landed in a civilian area during an exchange of fire between the militants and SFs at Gagra check-post in the Khyber Agency. In addition, 19 persons, including seven soldiers, sustained injuries in the clash. Tribal and official sources said a group of militants attacked a security check-post at Gagra in the Landikotal Tehsil (revenue unit), prompting the SFs to retaliate. The sources said 10 mortar shells landed in a market in Landikotal while one of the shells hit a coach and a pick-up near a filling station, killing six persons on the spot. Those killed were identified as Ali Syed, Iqbal, Akhtar Zeb, Arif, Sanaaf and Rehmatullah.

November 24

SFs killed at least 23 militants during an operation in the Bara tehsil (revenue unit) of the Khyber Agency. The SFs were backed by helicopters, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and heavy artillery. A press release issued by the FC media cell in Jamrud said that during the day-long operation, codenamed Khwakh Ba De Sham at least 23 militants were killed and 36 suspects arrested. 12 explosives-laden vehicles were destroyed and a huge quantity of arms and ammunitions seized in different localities of Bara.

Tribal and official sources said helicopter gunships pounded the hideouts and compounds of militants in the Daburi, Ghiljo, Khadizai, Mamozai, Tor Smat, Akhunkot, Mazid Ghari, Saiful Darra, Machiney Killay, Arghanjo and Ghundi Killay areas of Orakzai Agency, killing 19 militants and injuring 13 others. In addition, seven hideouts and four vehicles owned by the militants were also destroyed.

Four militants were killed and several others sustained injuries in clashes with the SFs in the Khar sub-division of Bajaur Agency. Three members of a family, including two children, and a prisoner were killed and four others injured when rockets hit a house in Maminzo area and Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar sub-division early in the day. Sources said that militants fired a number of rockets on various checkpoints of the SFs, Levies Force and Bajaur Scouts headquarters. Several shells landed in the compound of Bajaur Scouts headquarters one of which hit the lock-up, killing a prisoner and injuring two troopers. The SFs subsequently retaliated, killing four militants.

Helicopter gunships targeted the hideouts of militants in the Shahukhel and Tora Warai areas of Hangu District in the NWFP, killing 11 militants and destroying three of their hideouts. Sources said the action was taken after a group of militants fired rockets at the SFs in Shahukhel and Tora Warai areas, injuring a soldier. Soon after the incident, the SFs launched an offensive against the militants, hitting their hideouts.

Three militants were killed and an equal number of them were arrested in two separate incidents in the Swat District of NWFP. Official sources said the SFs clashed with a group of militants in the Kokarai area on the outskirts of Mingora city, killing three militants. In another incident, the SFs arrested three unidentified militants during a search operation at Gumbar Mera in the suburb of the city.

Five Pakistani Army officers have been detained for questioning over possible links to the two US terror suspects of the LeT, who are accused of plotting an armed attack on a Danish newspaper, intelligence officials said. LeT militants, David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, were arrested in Chicago during October 2009. US prosecutors said the two men were believed to be working with an unidentified senior member of the outfit and a senior Al Qaeda operative. Two Pakistani intelligence officials said phone records showed the five Pakistani officers had contacted Headley and Rana. They say the five include a retired brigadier general and two active lieutenant colonels, but did not provide more details.

The Federal Government unfolded a five-tier multi-dimensional special package for the Balochistan province - combining political, administrative and economic initiatives - in a joint sitting of parliament. The package, named Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan, was presented by the Pakistan People’s Party Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, who heads the seven-member parliamentary committee, which finalised the package in consultation with the political leadership in parliament and other stakeholders. The five-tier package - constitutional, political, administrative, economic and monitoring mechanism - envisages the withdrawal of the Army from Sui that would be replaced with the Frontier Corps, a fact-finding commission, headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court/high court, to probe into the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti, inquiry by the superior judiciary into the murder of Baloch political workers, including Ghulam Muhammad, Lala Munir and Munir Ahmed, and target killings in the province. The package also included the release of all political workers and withdrawal of cases against those who have no charges, while the missing persons with charges would be brought before a court of competent jurisdiction for trial within seven days. Such missing persons would be allowed legal counsel of their choice and the Government would assist them in this regard. Family members of such persons be informed accordingly and allowed visiting rights.

Presenting the details of the package, Senator Raza Rabbani said necessary constitutional amendments would be made to strengthen the provincial autonomy as demanded by smaller provinces, especially Balochistan. The constitutional reforms related matters include abolition of the Concurrent List, end to the Police Order and the Balochistan Local Government Ordinance 2001 from the 6th Schedule and effective implementation of the Article 153 relating to the Council of Common Interest. The package assures effective implementation of articles 154 to 159 and 170 of the Constitution. The unanimously passed resolutions of the Balochistan Assembly from 2002 till date related to the province would be implemented within the legal framework of the Constitution.

On the economic side, the package envisages that the federal government will pay royalty worth PKR 120 billion on the Gas Development Surcharge from 1954 to 1991, to be payable over 12 years. Rabbani said the restructuring of the National Finance Commission award criteria was already underway and the criteria of inverse population, poverty and resource generation need to be taken into consideration. About political matters, the Senator said the Federal Government, in consultation with the provincial Government, would release all political workers except those involved in heinous crimes. A dialogue would be initiated with all major stakeholders in the political spectrum of the province to bring them into the mainstream, he said. He added that the exiled leaders, who want to return to Pakistan, would be facilitated except those who were involved in acts of terrorism. Referring to the administrative measures, Rabbani said the Federal Government should immediately review the role of federal agencies in the province and stop all such operations that were not related to war against terrorism. Rabbani said a commission, headed by a sitting member of the superior judiciary from Balochistan, would be constituted in respect of the missing persons. The names of the missing persons would be identified and if found to be in custody without any charges they would be released, he said. In view of the decision of the provincial government, he said the policy of conversion of ‘B’ areas into ‘A’ areas would be reviewed from time to time.

The exiled Baloch leaders rejected the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package on the grounds that it doesn’t go far enough to meet their main problems. Hyrbyair Marri, the London-based leader of the Marri tribe, while opposing any compromise with the Government called the package a "mockery and a cruel joke" with the people of Balochistan and said it falls short of Baloch expectations and was only an exercise in buying more time. He said "This package is misleading. It’s another trap set for us to convince us that the federation pains for us and wants the solution of our miseries." Marri said President Zardari and his Government may have good sentiments but they were powerless and the real powers rest with the military establishment. Mir Suleman Dawood Khan, the current Khan of Kalat, said the Government failed to take all stakeholders on board and didn’t consult those it didn’t like. "Baloch nationalist parties were not consulted and only allies of the current government were informed about it a few days ago," he said. Noordin Mangal, another leader, said the package doesn’t address the real problems of the Baloch people.

Three leading Balochistan tribes - Marris, Mengals and Bugtis - described the Balochistan package as a political gimmick and charged that it was like rubbing salt into the wounds of the Baloch people. The late Nawab Akbar Bugti’s son and President of the Jamhoori Watan Party, Talal Bugti, charged that the package was prepared by the invisible forces and not by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s team or a parliamentary committee. "The prime minister in his address to the parliament’s joint session said the FC would remain in Balochistan, which means, no change in the status-quo. If they are not serious, which I believe, we have the option to knock at the doors of the United Nations," Talal warned. The Balochistan National Party-Mengal Vice-President Sajid Tareen said in Quetta that what had been announced in the package had never been the demand of Balochistan’s people. "Our stand remains unchanged that the federating units must be treated as per the 1940 Pakistan Resolution," he said. "We don’t believe in dialogue anymore, as it has been non-productive. We are not politically active as several other parties are," said a source close to the veteran Baloch leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, who is chieftain of the Marri tribe. The package could not satisfy the people of Balochistan, as it had nothing significant for them, Senator Dr Abdul Malik of the Balochistan National Party said while talking to media persons after the announcement of the package. Senator Hasil Bazinjo said the package carries most of the old things and there is nothing new in it. "The Baloch people want practical steps, not announcements," he added.

November 25

Seven more militants were killed and 10 others arrested as the SFs continued their operations in the Shahukhel area of the Orakzai Agency. Tribal sources said the SFs targeted the hideouts of militants in the Shahukhel area, killing at least seven militants and arresting 10 others. Over 30 militants have been killed in the operation so far.

The SFs killed three militants in Swat. According to an Inter-Services Public Relations statement, "Security forces carried out a search operation at Bar Kandao and killed three terrorists." The SFs, on a tip-off, carried out a search operation in Gumbat Maira near Kokarai and arrested four terrorists, while five others surrendered in Roringar.

SFs claimed to have killed three militants and injured eight others in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency. Official sources said the SFs and militants clashed in an area between Asman Manza Nand in the Ladha sub-division, leaving three militants dead and eight others injured.

A day before the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, an anti-terror court in Rawalpindi indicted seven persons, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, ‘operations commander’ of the LeT, for their suspected involvement in the attacks. The indictment on November 25, 2009 paves the way for the trial of the seven men, which may begin on December 5, the date for which the next hearing has been fixed. The seven persons, all in custody, are: Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, "mastermind" of the attacks; Abdul Wajid alias Zarar Shah, also of the LeT and described as a "facilitator and expert of computer networks"; Hamad Amin Sadiq, who is charged with "facilitating funds and hideouts" for the Mumbai attackers; Mazhar Iqbal alias Abu al Qama, described as a "handler"; Shahid Jamil Riaz, who is described both as a facilitator for funds, as well as a crew member of a boat used by the attackers; Jamil Ahmed, described as "facilitator"; and, Younus, also a "facilitator." The in camera proceedings in Anti-Terror Court 1 of Rawalpindi were held in the high-security Adiala Jail, and reportedly lasted a little under two hours. Judge Malik Mohammed Akram Awan framed charges against the seven under the Anti-Terrorism Act, several sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including Section 302 for murder and under the Explosives Act. All the seven pleaded not guilty to the charges, including Shahid Jamil Riaz, who earlier made a detailed confession about his part in the attacks before a judicial magistrate in Rawalpindi, where he was first produced after his arrest. Earlier, the court rejected objections by defence lawyers at the last hearing over the admissibility of the confession of the lone arrested LeT terrorist Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’ as evidence. They had argued that as he was neither an accused in the case in Pakistan nor in the list of proclaimed offenders, his statement could not be used for the purpose of framing charges against the other accused. While holding that ‘Kasab’ could not be declared a proclaimed offender as his whereabouts were known, the Judge said he would be treated as an accused whose case had been separated from the case under trial in his court, and who was being proceeded against in another court.

November 26

18 Taliban militants were killed and 14 others injured when fighter jets and helicopter gunships targeted Taliban positions in Orakzai Agency. Seven Taliban hideouts were also destroyed in the raids. Eight Taliban militants were killed when fighter jets and helicopter gunships bombed the Chapri Ferozkhel area of Lower Orakzai, while 10 Taliban militants were killed in air strikes that targeted Dabori, Alf Khel and Toorsimt areas of Upper Orakzai. The sources said Security Forces had gained full control of Shahukhel, defusing eight mines and arresting four Taliban militants.

November 27

Troops killed 15 Taliban militants in the military offensive at South Waziristan, said the ISPR. "Security forces cleared Narakai after ... a clash ... 15 Taliban were killed and one soldier injured," said the ISPR in a statement, adding that troops cleared Sarwekai-Siplatoi Road in the same area, defusing 10 IEDs planted along the road.

A FC statement said troops backed by helicopter gun ships killed 15 Taliban militants at Khyber Agency. The Army and the FC mounted the operation in Khyber three days ago to crack down on militants, some of whom have attacked convoys supplying foreign troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

November 29

Troops killed four militants during a search operation in the Bara town of Khyber Agency. "Four militants were killed and several others were wounded in search operations in different parts of Bara," a senior military official said.

Four militants were killed in Wana, the capital of South Waziristan Agency. "Troops retaliated after militants fired rockets at their camp in Wana. Four militants were killed and two were arrested," a local military spokesman said.

November 30

The SFs killed 61 militants and arrested 85 others during the ongoing Operation Khwakh Bad-e-Shum in the Khyber Agency, security officials said. Briefing reporters at the Bara Fort, operation in-charge Brigadier Fayyaz Khan said 25 vehicles were also destroyed during the operation. Brigadier Khan said the SFs had captured several important areas and hideouts in the Tirah valley and had also destroyed several terrorist centres.

A statement by the ISPR said two SF personnel were injured in clearing operations in the South Waziristan Agency during Operation Rah-e-Nijat. The ISPR said the SFs carried out clearing operations at Kulal Raghzai and consolidated positions in the Jandola sector. It also said that militants fired four rockets at Ladha Fort in the Shakai sector, injuring one soldier.

Ten militants were killed and 13 others injured when the SFs raided militants’ training camps in the Dhol Ragha area of Kurram Agency. Seven injured militants, including their commander, were arrested and three hideouts destroyed, officials said. Troops with air support had launched operations against the militants in central and lower Kurram last week and taken over a training centre of militants in Shasho area near the main Thall-Parachinar Road.

An AFP report added that Major Fazlur Rehman, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps, said the militants had arrived in Kurram Agency from South Waziristan Agency where an army operation was underway.

Two Police officials were injured when unidentified armed men attacked their vehicle on the Indus Highway, Police said. A Police official said that Mattani Station House Officer Riaz Khan and Constable Shamshad were seriously injured when the attackers ambushed their patrol vehicle.

The ISPR said in a statement that one militant was arrested in Tank, while 10 suspected terrorists were arrested during Operation Rah-e-Rast in the Swat and Malakand areas in the last 24 hours. It also said the SFs carried out a search operation in Chakral area and found a 15-foot-long tunnel in Swat.

The LeT denied on November 30 that the two men arrested in Chicago on terrorism charges were among its members. David Headley, a Pakistani-born American, and Tahawwur Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, were arrested in October 2009 on charges of plotting attacks in India and Denmark. India has accused both of links to the LeT. He also said the LeT was only active in Kashmir to end India’s illegal occupation.

December 1

At least four militants were killed and seven others sustained injuries when the SFs attacked the headquarters of the proscribed TTP in the Dabori area of upper Orakzai Agency. Several hideouts of the TTP were destroyed in the Dabori bazaar and its outskirts when artillery shells fired from the nearby Shahu Khel area in Hangu District in the NWFP slammed into them.

Unidentified gunmen killed three tribal leaders in Orakzai Agency, official sources said. The unidentified gunmen killed the tribal chiefs when they ambushed their vehicle in Oblan area. The deceased were identified as Malik Gul Haider, Malik Sabz Ali and Malik Mir Aslam Khan.

The SFs killed four militants in the Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency. The SFs conducted a search and a clearance operation in Kamarkhel and Dorra on the outskirts of Bara.

The SFs also cleared Dunai Killi, the remaining portion of Janata and seized a huge cache of weapons during Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan in the last 24 hours, an ISPR statement said. The ISPR also said the SFs arrested 10 suspected terrorists during search operations in two different areas of Swat and Malakand in the NWFP.

Dr. Shamsher Ali Khan, the Awami National Party legislator in the NWFP Assembly from Swat, was killed and 13 persons were injured in a suicide attack in his house in the Dherai area of Kabal sub-division. A man with explosives strapped to his body walked unchallenged into the grounds of Khan’s house and blew himself up, killing the legislator, sources said.

Unidentified gunmen killed the chief of a local peace committee in the Swabi District, official sources said. Sources said that pro-Taliban militants killed Ambar Pakhpokha, head of a local peace committee. The Taliban have subsequently claimed responsibility for the killing.

December 2

In the Hangu District, 10 militants were killed in a clash and 128 wanted criminals were arrested during a joint operation by the Police and the Frontier Constabulary. The operation was carried out in areas adjacent to Hangu and Orakzai Agency - Thall, Doaba, Shahu Khel, Kahi, Naryab and Kotki. The District Police chief Abdur Rasheed said three bombs with remote control devices, a rocket launcher, two grenades, 19 Kalashnikovs, 18 rifles, 17 shotguns, 24 pistols, 10kgs of hashish and thousands of cartridges had been seized. He said Police had also seized 1,950 bags of sugar and 868 of flour which were being smuggled to Afghanistan.

Five militants were killed in an exchange of fire with the SFs in the Palai area of Malakand Agency in the NWFP. Official sources said the militants attacked a convoy of the SFs in the Palai area, located near the border between Malakand Agency and Mardan District. The SFs, however, repulsed the attack and five militants were killed.

In the Shangotai area of Matta sub-division in the Swat District, the bodies of two persons, Shah Ji and his son Yaqub, were found. They were reported to have had links with the Taliban and were wanted in several militancy-related cases.

Six militants were arrested in Peer Pati and Qambar. The SFs also arrested 20 suspects from Mingora while eight militants surrendered in the Bar Sor, Charbagh and Garga areas of Matta.

Planes bombed a number of areas in the Warh Mamond and Nawagai sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency, killing four militants and injuring three others. Official sources said the Security Forces targeted positions of militants in the Kharkay, Anga, Almazo and Gotki areas in Mamond sub-division and Sharif Khana and Shah Khana in Nawagai.

Militant ‘commander’ Mulla Launcher and one of his accomplices were killed and six others sustained injuries in clashes with the SFs in various areas of Kurram Agency. In addition, the SFs arrested three militants along with some heavy weapons while the militants blew up a key bridge on the Parachinar-Peshawar Road in Arawali area.

An official of the Pakistan Navy foiled a suicide attack on the Naval Headquarters at Zafar Chowk on the Margalla Road in the national capital Islamabad. However, two Navy personnel were killed in the attack, while 13 persons were injured. A spokesman for the Pakistan Navy confirmed the death of two personnel - Amjad Ittwar and Muhammad Ashraf. A 16-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up at 1:30 pm during his body search, eyewitnesses said.

The US President Barack Obama said that US success in Afghanistan – where he plans to deploy 30,000 more troops and has vowed to "seize the initiative" to end the unpopular war and start a pullout in July 2011 – is "inextricably linked" to Washington’s partnership with Pakistan. But the US president also warned that the people and Governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan are "endangered".

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Washington will press Islamabad to do more against all the militant groups threatening Pakistan, its neighbours and the United States. Testifying about President Barack Obama’s new strategy for the region, Clinton told lawmakers that the Pakistanis had shown over the last year their "willingness to take on the Pakistani Taliban which directly threaten them." "The unity of support that the people of Pakistan are showing for this effort is profoundly significant, but, as we have said, it is not enough," she told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

December 3

SFs killed 13 militants during raids at two locations in the Swat while two bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped elsewhere in the District. Official sources said the SFs had arrested a militant ‘commander’, identified as Naseem alias Abu Faraj, recently. On his information, the sources said SFs raided a militant hideout in Saigram near Koza Bandai and in an exchange of fire 10 militants were killed.

A Police official was injured in an explosion at a Police check-post in the Regi area of capital Peshawar. A Police official said the blast created a three feet deep and eight feet wide crater at the site.

In Bajaur Agency, militants are reported to have attacked security checkpoints on the outskirts of the main town of Khar. "It was an organised attack. Troops effectively repulsed it, and five militants were killed in the retaliatory fire," said Fazal Rabbi, deputy commander of the local tribal police force.

The Security Forces arrested Taliban ‘commander’ Hayatullah and his two associates from the Larmai area of Mamoond sub-division in Bajaur Agency.

December 4

40 persons, including 17 children besides serving and retired Army officers and personnel, were killed and over 86 others injured, when a Friday congregation at the Parade Lanes mosque in Rawalpindi was attacked by a group of terrorists. The high number of casualties was caused by hurling of grenades and indiscriminate targeted firing by the terrorists, reportedly numbering between six to eight. According to latest reports, two of the terrorists blew themselves up while two others were shot dead in an exchange of fire with the SFs. Exhaustive combing of the densely-populated locality was also being carried out by the SFs to flush out the other terrorists, who reportedly managed to escape from the spot and took refuge in the vicinity.

Eight militants were killed and their three hideouts destroyed in strikes carried out by the PAF fighter jets in the Ferozkhel area of the Orakzai Agency. Official and tribal sources said fighter jets targeted the hideouts and compounds of militants in the Ferozkhel area, killing eight militants and destroying their three hideouts and four houses.

Six persons were killed and 13 injured when a bus carrying a marriage party hit a landmine in the Safi sub-division of Mohmand Agency. A political administration official said Amanullah, resident of Qala Gai Lakaro, Baseer Khan, Safi Jan, Haji Bakht Noor, resident of Landi Arbab, the driver Khaista Rehman, resident of Haleemzai, and an unidentified person were killed in the incident. The injured, including Amroz, Saifullah, Hamayatulalh Khan, Rukhsana and Ayesha, were taken to a hospital where four of them were said to be in critical condition.

A senior US diplomat alleged that some Al Qaeda leadership could be present in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. "Our intelligence shows that some of the Al Qaeda leadership is in Pakistan," Candace Putnam, the US Consul-General in Peshawar, told a media roundtable in Peshawar. "I don’t know where Osama bin Laden is on any given day, but we do know that some of the leadership is sitting in Quetta and that they travel back and forth from Afghanistan to Pakistan," she said. "We know that they are there. And I think your government also knows this. Whether they want to say this in public or not but I think they know they are there," she added. She also said that the United States had been successful in removing some of the Al Qaeda leadership. But increasingly, she added, the United States had found that Al Qaeda was working with the Taliban, LeT, JeM, LeJ and the TTP.

The White House had authorized an expansion of the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone programme in the tribal region and that American officials are talking to Pakistan to explore the possibility of striking in Balochistan. The expanded authorisation, it added, paralleled President Barack Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

US Army General David Petraeus said that the Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar stays most, if not all, of the time in Pakistan. He told NPR that the Afghan Taliban were located "in various locations in Pakistan... typically in Balochistan. It’s called the Quetta shura". "I’m not sure that folks will say [the Taliban] right inside the city [Quetta] or precisely — it will move around and so forth. But... has historically been centred on that city," Petraeus said

December 5

Around 40 Taliban militants attacked an Army checkpoint in Wana of FATA, killing one SF. Six Taliban militants were also killed in the retaliatory firing of the SFs. "Soldiers at the checkpoint on a bridge in Wana retaliated after coming under fire on Friday night," said an unnamed Security official.

Taliban militants in Ladha of South Waziristan killed one SF, as troops continue the ongoing military operation in the region. "A soldier was martyred when militants shot and killed him in Ladha," the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

SFs arrested 35 Taliban militants, including three important commanders, during search operations in Bara tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber Agency.

SFs arrested former TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud’s right-hand ‘commander’, Rafiuddin, along with five other terrorists in Hangu, official sources said adding the SF had also killed a Taliban commander. The Taliban commander Zahir Shah was killed during a military operation in Tal area of Hangu.

December 6

Eight militants were killed and many others sustained injuries in attacks by fighter jets in lower parts of Orakzai Agency in FATA. Tribal sources said the fighter jets pounded the compounds and hideouts of militants in lower parts of the tribal agency, including Saifal Darra, Shakarkand and Sra Gharai, killing eight militants and injuring many others. Also, three hideouts and five vehicles of the militants were destroyed in the raid.

Four SF personnel were seriously injured in a roadside bomb blast in the Chinari area of the Mohmand Agency. Official sources said SFs were patrolling the Chinari area in Safi sub-division when their vehicle struck a remote-controlled device planted by the militants. Four soldiers sustained injuries in the blast.

Two anti-Taliban tribal elders, identified as Khan Wali and Rehmatullah, were killed and another two were injured in a remote-controlled bomb blast near a mosque in Malangi area under Mamond tehsil (revenue unit) of FATA. The injured persons were identified as Abdul Wadud and Abdul Hadi. "Two tribesmen were killed and two were injured in the blast. The bomb was planted outside a mosque," senior Police official Fazal Rabbi said. An intelligence official in the area confirmed the incident and said both tribesmen were respected elders who spoke out against the Taliban.

Fighter jets bombed Kharki, Gatki and Sparay areas of Salarzai tehsil and Banda area of Mamoond tehsil. No casualties were reported.

Five militants, including local ‘commander’ Gul Maula, were killed in an encounter with SFs in the Dangram area in the suburbs of Mingora city of Swat in NWFP. Sources said ‘commander’ Gul Maula and his four accomplices, identified as Tariq, Khadim Shah, Muhammad Ali and Ejaz, were killed during an encounter with SFs.

The SFs arrested seven militants from Toda Cheena and Qalandher areas in Makeen and recovered a huge cache of weapons, including anti-aircraft guns, anti-tank mines and other arms.

SFs also arrested six suspected militants in the Damghar area in Kabal tehsil (revenue unit). The sources said the arrested men were shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation. The names of those held were not disclosed to the media. The Army-run Swat Media Centre (SMC) said seven militants surrendered before SFs in the Charbagh area.

At the Tanai check-point, the sources said, SFs arrested six militants, including two important ‘commanders’.

The fighter jets attacked suspected hideouts of Taliban militants in Kharkay Gotki and Saparay areas in Mamond tehsil (revenue unit) and the Banda area of Salarzai sub-division. However, there was no word on loss of life or damage to property.

Swabi District Police foiled a terrorist plot, seizing a large quantity of explosives from a coffin. According to a private television channel, Police stopped a vehicle near Shevah checkpoint. Upon searching it, they found 511 dynamites, 90 detonators and 250-meters of fuse cable from a coffin in the car. The Police arrested two persons for further investigation.

The law-enforcement agencies arrested 60 suspected persons from the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi during a grand search operation in the wake of Parade Lane mosque attack in Rawalpindi city. The Islamabad Police arrested 60 suspected persons from the limits of Sabzi Mandi Police Station. Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi City Police along with other law-enforcement agencies arrested 10 suspected people in search operation in Rawalpindi.

December 7

Two bomb blasts killed at least 45 people, and injured more than 100 at the crowded Moon Market in Allama Iqbal area of Lahore in Punjab. The two bombs exploded 30 seconds apart at 8:45 PM (PST). The first blast occurred outside a plaza housing a branch of the Muslim Commercial Bank, while the other outside the Allama Iqbal Town Police Station, situated across the road. A suicide bomber had also targeted Moon Market in August 2008 in which nine people were killed. As the first bomb went off, the plaza where the bank is situated, and an adjacent building went up in flames, halting rescue work, Nazeer Ahmed, a security guard who was at the spot when the blasts occurred, said. Nazeer said the fire made it impossible to rescue anyone from the burning buildings. The Punjab Law Minister, Police officials and officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad, rescue officials and witnesses could not say if the blasts were suicide attacks or remote-controlled detonations. Punjab Inspector General Tariq Saleem Dogar said the bombs might have been detonated by remote control, while Superintendent of Police Ali Nasir Rizvi said he was not certain if a suicide bomber was involved. "We have recovered 33 dead bodies so far," said Dr Rizwan Naseer, Director General of Rescue and put the toll for the injured at 95. However, Dawn reports 45 causalities in the twin blast.

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a court in Peshawar, the provincial capital of NWFP, killing nine people, including two Policemen, and injuring 50 others. It was the second suicide attack on a court in the city in three weeks. The earlier target was the Judicial Complex on the Khyber Road and the bombing claimed 22 lives. The two Policemen who died were identified as head Constable Naseer Ahmed and Assistant Sub-Inspector Ruhullah. The blast damaged the court building and damaged windows of the nearby MPA hostel, petrol station and some other buildings. About half a dozen vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed. Peshawar District Coordination Officer Sahibzada Mohammad Anees said the bomber had come in an auto-rickshaw. He tried to enter the session’s court building, but when the Policeman on duty stopped him for a search, the man blew himself up. Dr Hameed Afridi of the Lady Reading Hospital said that 54 victims had been brought to the hospital. Six of them were brought dead and three others died in the hospital. The condition of six of the inured was critical, he said. Mohammad Tanveer told Dawn that the bomber had used six to seven kilograms of explosives. Parts of his suicide vest, ball bearings and his head and legs have been found.

Eight Taliban militants were killed and several others sustained injuries in different areas of Bajaur Agency in FATA. The official sources added that fighter jets pounded suspected hideouts of insurgents in Kharkay, Gotki, Anga and Banda areas in which four militants were killed and several others injured. Two hideouts were also destroyed in air raids.

There were reports that three militants were killed when explosives stored in a house went off in the Damadola area in the Mamond Sub-Division. The house was reportedly being used by militants as their hideout and was completely destroyed in the blast.

A fierce clash took place in the Chinar area of Charmang Valley in the Nawagai Sub-Division when militants attacked SFs. The official sources said one militant was killed and several others sustained injuries in the clash.

SFs conducted a search operation in Inayat Killay, the second business hub of the Bajaur tribal region near Khar headquarters, and arrested five militants and recovered weapons from their possession.

25 militants belonging to Sor Dagai, Chinar and Lara Darra areas in Salarzai, surrendered along with their weapons before SFs in Khar town.

A US missile strike killed at least three civilians in a village near Mir Ali, a main town in North Waziristan near the Afghanistan border of FATA. The official sources also confirmed that the missiles destroyed a car carrying three people.

The leader of Pasban-e-Aza, a Shia organization was shot dead by unidentified militants in a suspected sectarian attack in the remit of the Brigade Police Station of Karachi. The slain leader was identified as Syed Shahid Hussain. Police quoting eyewitnesses said three unidentified suspects barged into Hussain’s apartment in the Assistant Commissioner Apartments, and opened fire on him using 9-mm pistols.

A car bomb blast injured nine persons and damaged several vehicles and shops in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. Sources said that at least nine persons, including two children, were injured when the explosion occurred at the main gate of the Junior Assistant Colony in the Chaman Housing Society. Police said the explosives-laden vehicle blew up 30 minutes after unidentified men left it at the gate of the residential colony. An Assistant Commissioner was also injured in the blast.

Daily Times quoting an intelligence reports warned that the al Qaeda and the TTP are planning to carry out attacks at the Karachi’s hospitals and the airport to "avenge Operation Rah-e-Nijat". The reports stated that the Taliban could strike in the guise of patients or Haj pilgrims. A communiqué sent by the Interior Ministry’s National Crisis Management Cell to provincial authorities warned that Taliban could also use IED and suicide attacks against foreigners in Karachi. A letter issued by Sindh Special Home Secretary Collin Kamran Dost to Inspector General of Police Sallahuddin Khattak quoted intelligence sources as saying that the Taliban’s possible targets could be US citizens, people associated with American projects and guests staying at hotels, and US diplomats and employees working for foreign non-governmental organisations. According to another communiqué, the TTP plans to target hospitals and airports, while posing as patients in wheelchairs and as pilgrims arriving in the city after Haj. Moreover, the Taliban are likely to use vehicles covered with garlands – such as the ones used in wedding processions – to carry suicide bombers and explosives to the areas they seek to target.

The Government has concrete evidence of India’s involvement in terrorism across the country and the issue will be taken up during a round of talks with New Delhi soon, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. Talking to reporters after meeting clerics in Karachi, Malik said militants and weapons were also coming in from Afghanistan, and Pakistan had taken up the issue with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. He said the Government was working on an action plan for effective surveillance of the Pak-Afghan border, adding that in this regard, biometric checkposts would soon be set up at three points along the border. Malik said al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was not in Pakistan, and if anyone had any information in this regard, he should share it with Islamabad so that the country could take appropriate action.

The Interior Minister said religious scholars from all sects had declared suicide attacks against the teachings of Islam, while the Government had also sought the views of clerics from around the world on terrorism. He said the Government would organise a conference on terrorism where scholars from Muslim countries would be invited to give their views on the issue. Malik said he would also meet clerics across the country and in this regard, a meeting had been scheduled in Lahore on December 10.

United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that the U.S. is prepared to give Pakistan more help in fighting against al-Qaeda if its Government wants it, according to The News. Gates, who arrived in Afghanistan, said it is Pakistan's ``foot on the accelerator'' when it comes to fighting terrorists. But he said the U.S. could provide more assistance ``at any pace they are prepared to accept.'' While Pakistan is considered one of the closest U.S. allies in the war on terrorism, it is also accused of giving anti-U.S. forces a safe haven along its lawless border.

December 8

A group of three Taliban militants launched a gun, rocket and suicide attack on the office of ISI, killing at least 12 people and injuring several others at Multan in Punjab. The blast in Multan destroyed the facades off several buildings in a part of the city largely reserved for Government and Security Agencies. The apparent target of the blast was a building housing an office of the ISI which was also damaged. Senior Police Officer Agha Yusuf said at least three Taliban militants in a car carried out the attack. He said one of them first fired a rocket and an automatic weapon at a police checkpoint, and then drove to the intelligence agency – where they blew it up. He said Security personnel were also among the 12 killed. "It was a suicide attack. There were two attackers who were stopped at the checkpost, but they tried to flee and Security personnel fired at them," another Police Official, Arif Ikram told reporters. "The attackers returned fire and also launched two rockets, and later exploded their vehicle." Multan’s top administrative official, Syed Mohammad Ali Gardezi, said that one military building was badly damaged in the blast. "They did not succeed in hitting the target," he claimed.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the ISI office. Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq claimed responsibility for the attack in a conversation with an Associated Press reporter in Waziristan.

The death toll in the December 8 bombing at Moon Market in Allama Iqbal Town of Lahore rose to 54. A spokesman of the rescue operation said of the 45 people, 28 were men, 11 women and six children. Nine people were burned beyond recognition. More than 150 people were injured in the attack, he said.

The Police and Bomb Disposal Squad personnel said that the twin blasts at Moon Market in Allama Iqbal Town of Lahore were suicide attacks. Iqbal Town Police claimed to have recovered the remains of two suicide attackers. Iqbal Town SP Ali Nasir Rizvi told Daily Times that a head and limbs recovered from the site of the blasts are believed to be of two suicide attackers, who according to initial reports were not more than 18 years old and belonged to southern Punjab. Civil Defence District Officer Mazhar Ahmed while talking to Daily Times supported the version of the SP and termed both attacks as suicide bombings. He said the material used in the twin blasts included ball bearings that are used in suicide vests. Mazhar said that 10 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the blasts. He said there was also possibility that some hand grenades were also used in the blasts, which targeted the building in a 150-yard radius.

Two Arab nationals were killed in a missile strike on a car by the CIA -operated spy planes at Spalga village in North Waziristan of FATA in the morning. A senior Government official based in Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, told by telephone that the drone fired two missiles on the car. He said two Arab nationals were travelling in the car when it was struck by the drone. Four drones were flying at the time of the attack over the area. The Taliban sources also confirmed that both the men killed in the drone attack were foreigners and belonged to Saudi Arabia. Both of them had just left their homes and were on their way to the Afghan border, where they were supposed to meet their colleagues, the Taliban sources said. They said the identity of the two ‘guest fighters’ could not be ascertained as their bodies had been blown apart. A tribesman of Spalga village, Hafiz Rasool, told The News by telephone that the car was torn into pieces after being hit by the drone.

The SFs arrested 13 suspected militants in the last 24 hours during Operation Rah-e-Nijat and Rah-e-Rast in South Waziristan. According to a statement by the ISPR, the SFs carried out a search operation at Ziarat in the Jandola sector and also cleared Ospana Raghazai in the Shakai sector. Clearance and search operations at Kudi Ghar Sar, Nanu and Khaisura are underway. Taliban militants fired six rockets at Spin Jamaat, which were responded to effectively. The forces also cleared 46 compounds, including a training centre at Marobi West and defused nine improvised explosive devices in the Razmak sector. The Taliban also fired 10 rockets and fired Kalashnikov rounds at the Saidullah Post near Dua Khula and Pash Ziarat, to which SFs retaliated.

PNR 19,716 cash cards have also been issued to displaced families of South Waziristan.

Two persons, including one FC, were killed in separate incidents in the Karachi. Gul Maalik (35) was shot dead by unidentified militants in the Quaidabad Police Station of Karachi. The Police sources said that the incident happened inside the victims’ house situated in Gulshan-i-Bunair of Quaidabad, while he was asleep. During the investigation it was found that the deceased was a recruit of the FC and was posted in Abbottabad. A few days ago, he took a leave from headquarters and came to Karachi for the construction of his house. The deceased personnel was married and originated from Swat. The murder seems to be a target killing incident.

One Naeem Qureshi (40), a leather trader, was shot dead by unidentified militants in the Awami Colony Station of Karachi. The Police sources said that Naeem was sitting outside his house situated in C-Area of Landhi, when two armed militants riding on a motorcycle came and opened indiscriminate fire, killing Naeem on the spot, while injuring his friend Basheer and subsequently managed to escape.

The death toll of in Peshawar Sessions Courts suicide bombing on December 7 rose to 13 as two more people succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. The sources said public prosecutor in Mardan, Arifullah, a resident of Badaber and Bakhtawar Shah, a rickshaw driver, died at the Lady Reading Hospital.

Peshawar Police foiled bomb blast bid in Bakhshupul area of the Peshawar, the capital of NWFP, when they defused four bombs weighing 40 kilogrammes each. Inspector General Shafqat Malik said the bombs could have destroyed everything within a 100 meters radius had they not been defused.

The Police recovered 10 mortar shells from the suburbs of Mingora city.

The SFs arrested 47 suspects from across Swat during search and clearance operations and issued a list of 10 most wanted Taliban militants, directing them to surrender. The SFs arrested 30 suspects from Koza Bandai, 10 from Galouch area of Kabal tehsil (revenue unit), two from Tahirabad, four from Sarsenai and one from Mingora. However, some of them were released after initial investigation.

Five Taliban militants surrendered before the SFs at Sakhra and Asharai near Matta during Operation Rah-e-Rast in Malakand. The SFs arrested nine suspects at Kabal, Bakhro near Madyan, Qambar and Tahirabad near Mingora.

The Saryab station house officer and two other Policemen were injured in a hand-grenade attack on a Police convoy on the Sabzal Road in Quetta of Balochistan. Police sources said SHO Jamil Marri was on routine patrol in the area when unidentified militants hurled a hand-grenade at his vehicle.

The United Sates intelligence personnel stationed in Pakistan are trying to ascertain whether Abdur Rehman alias Pasha, a retired major of the Pakistan Army, who has recently been named by the FBI as a key link between the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack suspect David Headley and his LeT handlers, is the brother-in-law of Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the absconding Ameer of the pro-Taliban Pakistani Jehadi outfit HuJI. Rehman has been charged in a Chicago court by the FBI on allegations of conspiring terrorist attacks in association with Headley, a US national of Pakistani-origin, who is already in the FBI’s custody. According to diplomatic circles in Islamabad, the United Sates intelligence personnel are trying to determine if Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed is the same person who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on October 12, 2004, challenging the arrest of Qari Saifullah Akhtar and seeking his production in the apex court. The petitioner had also sought a court order to prevent possible deportation of Qari Saifullah, his brother-in-law, to another country. The petition was thrown out on January 18, 2005. Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the Ameer (chief) of the Pakistan chapter of the HUJI, who had been arrested in 1995 for conspiring to topple the second Government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, had been named by the slain PPP leader in her posthumous book -- Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West - as a principal suspect in the October 18, 2007 attempt on her life in Karachi.

The TTP will take on the Army when winter arrives in the tribal region, TTP chief T.T.P. Hakeemullah Mehsud said in a phone call with CNN. "We will wait till January for our offensive since we are stronger during the snowing season," Hakeemullah said. He said he was confident despite the large-scale military operation currently targeting the TTP in South Waziristan. "We have conserved our energy and have not lost our morale," he said. "The leadership of my organisation is safe," he said, but he did not say where they were taking refuge. He neither denied nor confirmed that the TTP was responsible for the December 8 suicide blast outside the District court in Peshawar. "Being occupied in other matters, I have not been able to contact my colleagues there, so I will not be able to take responsibility at this time," Hakeemullah said.

The United States has warned the Government that its SFs will chase Taliban forces into Pakistan if Islamabad does not get tough with the insurgents. Quoting unnamed US and Pakistani officials, the newspaper said the blunt message was delivered in November when National Security Adviser James Jones and White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan met with the heads of the military and intelligence. "Jones’s message was if that Pakistani help wasn’t forthcoming, the United States would have to do it themselves," an unnamed official said. That could mean the US expanding drone attacks beyond the Tribal Areas and Special Forces raids in Pakistan against Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, the officials said. "I think they read our intentions accurately," a senior US Administration Official said. US officials said the message was intended to press the Pakistani military to pursue Taliban insurgents.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Pakistan’s stability was critical to the security of South Asia. Speaking to US Global Leadership of Coalition, she said the Obama Administration was amplifying its diplomatic and development efforts in the region and considered civilian aid a key part of the overall partnership with regional players. "We have also begun expanding our civilian effort in Pakistan, whose stability is essential to the security of that region and beyond," Clinton said. She further added that President Barack Obama had made it clear while outlining his revamped strategy for the region "that we cannot finish the (anti-terror) job on our own, or with military might alone".

December 9

Three Taliban militants were killed in the military operation in Bajaur Agency of FATA. Political administration officials said that three Taliban militants were killed in clashes between SFs and militants in the Chinar area in Nawagai tehsil (revenue division) of the Bajaur Agency.

The SFs neutralised a militant plot and defused three powerful remote-controlled bombs at Mamond tehsil (revenue division) of the Bajaur Agency.

The SFs arrested 11 suspected Taliban militants from Khawaza Khela tehsil (revenue division), while two Taliban militants, including a key Taliban ‘commander’, surrendered before the SFs in Charbagh tehsil, officials said.

Five suspected militants were arrested at Miachan Baba in Shakai sector. The SFs also cleared 25 compounds at Tara Tiza Alghad and Mairobi Raghzai in Razmak sector and recovered a cache of arms and ammunition.

The SFs cleared Aka Khel Pungai near Ahmadwam and Abdullah Noor Kaskai near Kotkai in Jandola sector during the latest action in Operation Rah-e-Nijat and destroyed several improvised explosive devices. The SFs also cleared Ghujre, two kilometres north of Pash Ziarat, and destroyed tunnels and underground bunkers.

The SFs sources said that 589 Taliban militants have so far been killed in Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan, while 79 of their personnel died. According to a statement by the ISPR, a large cache of arms and ammunition had also been recovered from different terrorist hideouts since the operation began.

Unidentified Taliban militants blew up a boy’s school in Bara tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber Agency in FATA in the night of December 9, according to Daily Times. Sources said that unidentified Taliban militants arrived at the Government High School for Boys at Shlobar and abducted the school watchman. Later, the militants blew up the school. However, no casualty was reported. Taliban blew up two schools in Khyber Agency, officials said. They said most of the buildings were reduced to rubble but no one was injured. "Both main school buildings were completely destroyed," said Shafeerullah Wazir, the top Administrative Official of the District, adding only two classrooms remained standing in the two adjacent schools. Wazir said the Taliban had buried large quantities of dynamite around the outer walls of the schools. "Both Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam are involved in this act," he said.

The Police arrested 13 suspected militants in a raid conducted in Kharmato areas of Kohat city in NWFP in the evening. Sources said the raids were conducted after unidentified persons beheaded an employee of PESCO in the area. Arms including 12 Kalashnikov rifles, five guns, four pistols, five hand-grenades and 2,000 rounds were recovered from the possession of the arrested militants.

The SFs arrested 10 suspected militants at Saidu Sharif, Fizaghat, Bishbanr, Mingora and Jijal Kandao near Fatehpur.

Two Taliban militants surrendered before the SFs at Salhand and Chamtalai posts in Swat.

Security Agencies arrested six people, three foreigners among them, for their alleged links with banned religious outfit Jaish-i-Mohammed and for planning a terrorist attack in Sargodha of Punjab. Among the suspects were two Egyptians, one Yemeni, two Pakistani-Americans and a local. Sources said that these five militants were arrested from the house of one of the suspects in Aziz Bhatti Town. Two computers and some jihadi literature were recovered. The Pakistani-Americans were identified as Omer Farooq and Waqar.

India is involved in terrorism in Pakistan and wants to tear the country apart, Jamaat-e-Islami ‘chief’ Munawwar Hasan said. Addressing a grand tribal jirga (council) at Markaz Islami, the JI ‘Chief’ said India, the United States and Israel were united against Pakistan. He said India wanted to decide the Kashmir issue unilaterally, adding that there would be no compromise on the issue. The JI ‘chief’ said his party condemned suicide bombings, but drone attacks, military operations and alliance with the US were equally condemnable and Ulema (religious scholars) should give fatwa against them.

December 10

SFs killed 15 Taliban militants in ongoing operations in Khyber Agency and South Waziristan of FATA. The SFs targeted militant hideouts in Bara tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber, killing 10 militants in Zava area of Tirah valley, official sources said. Sources said that troops also destroyed four militant hideouts in the area, adding that three militants, including a commander, were arrested during a search operation in Akakhel area of Bara.

SFs killed five militants, while a trooper was killed in the clashes in South Waziristan. The ISPR said the SFs cleared the Nanu area and destroyed militant hideouts in Barwand, including that of Taliban commander Waliur Rehman. The SFs also cleared Partigai area near Ahmadwam and Kazha Kats, and also secured 30 militant’s compounds in the area around Abdullah Nur Kaskai, Bangiwala and Aka Khel Pungai. The SFs conducted a search operation in Marobi Raghozai near Makeen and neutralised an ammunition factory, along with a cache of arms and ammunitions.

The SFs arrested 10 suspected Taliban militants and demolished three houses belonging to the Taliban in Mattani area of Swat in NWFP.

December 11

SFs killed at least 17 Taliban militants in the ongoing military operations in FATA. In Orakzai Agency, nine Taliban militants were killed and two of their hideouts destroyed in air strikes on Ghiljo and Mamoonzai tehsils (revenue unit), Paramilitary Force spokesman Major Fazalur Rehman said. They included a man identified as a local Taliban ‘commander’, Bacha Akbar, Military spokesman Major Mushtaq Khan said.

Seven militants were killed and 20 others injured when troops clashed with the LI in Shalobar area of Bara tehsils (revenue unit) in Khyber Agency. The clash occurred when troops raided a house in the area.

One unidentified militant was killed in Charmang area of Nawagai tehsils (revenue unit) of Bajaur Agency.

Three Taliban were arrested from the Mamoond tehsils (revenue unit) of Bajaur Agency. The SFs also destroyed two Taliban hideouts in Nawagai.

A top al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, was killed in a drone missile strike in South Waziristan of FATA. Yahya managed to escape from the Bagram Airbase of Afghanistan in 2005. He was born in Libya in 1963 and enjoyed close relations with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahri. United States authorities had offered a bounty of USD five million for his capture, dead or alive. According to an ISPR statement, no US drone hit South Waziristan on December 10. Since August 2008, at least 65 such strikes have killed around 625 people.

SFs discovered a Jannat (heaven) in South Waziristan Agency, in which militants used to brainwash suicide bombers. According to ISPR, a team of journalists visited the jannat at Nawaz Kot area of the agency. The ‘heaven’ consisted of four rooms. Each room contains beautiful paintings of running canals of milk and honey surrounded by hoors (maidens of paradise). Conducting Officer Major Saleem said Taliban clerics showed the jannat to the would-be suicide bombers to convince them that once they blew themselves up they would enjoy a status equivalent to that of the companions of Prophet Muhammad. He said they were also told that they would live forever in the company of beautiful hoors. He said SFs had also seized hate literature, CDs, hashish and other drugs from the site. The official said two would-be suicide bombers and their trainers were also arrested from the place.

SFs killed four Taliban militants and arrested two others in the ongoing military operations in Swat of NWFP.

At least five people were injured when a petrol filling station was blown up through a remote-controlled device in the main town of Lakki Marwat District. The bomb was fitted to a bicycle. The injured included the owner of the station, Naseer Khan, who is a former parliamentarian from PML-N. Others injured were identified as Nazir Muhammad, Qasim Khan, Jan Dad and Sher Muhammad. Lakki Marwat District Police Officer Ayub Khan said the bomb weighed between eight to 10 kilogrammes.

Pakistan must cooperate more fully with the United States to help wipe out al-Qaeda, US President Barack Obama said in excerpts of a weekend interview. In the interview with media, Barack Obama said the tribal militants that straddle the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan were the "epicentre of the violent extremism directed against the West... and the United States." "Ultimately, in order for us to eradicate the problem, to really go after al-Qaeda... we are going to need more cooperation from Pakistan. There is no doubt about that," Barack Obama added.

The five Americans arrested from Sargodha on charges of seeking jihad will not be deported until investigation is complete, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. Addressing a press conference, Malik said US Ambassador Anne W Patterson had informed him in writing that five US nationals were arriving in Pakistan with "bad intentions". "Acting on the information, our law enforcement authorities arrested the Americans," he said, adding that the US nationals were not being deported. "We will first see which laws they have violated. Once our law enforcement authorities clear them, only then can we deport them," he said.

December 12

At least 10 Taliban militants were killed during the ongoing military operation in the Kurram Agency of FATA. The killed Taliban militants included a ‘commander’ wanted by Police in several incidents of sabotage and insurgency. The SFs launched a massive operation in Marghan, Dogar, Gawadar, Zangey and Terley area. The SFs are advancing into other areas and have destroyed four Taliban hideouts so far. They have also seized a large amount of ammunition and explosive material.

10 militants were killed while more than 150 suspects arrested in the Bara tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency. Officials said the SFs retaliated when Taliban militants fired at them in the Shalobar area of Bara during the operation, jointly conducted by the Army and the Frontier Corps.

A patrolling party of the Levies Force escaped a remote-controlled bomb attack in the Kotki area of Khar tehsil in Bajaur Agency. They said 19 suspects had been arrested in search operations. The sources said a bomb went off during a routine patrol of the Levies Force, while another remote-controlled blast occurred in the Nawagai bazaar.

The SFs also captured an underground cave in South Waziristan Agency that was used as a depot by the Taliban militants for storing arms and heavy weapons, besides seizing a large cache of foreign-made weapons. Major Saleem of the army told the journalists that the SFs had also recovered a 22-pound cannon that could strike long-range targets. He said the seized foreign weapons included anti-aircraft guns, missiles, rocket launchers, mortar guns, hand grenades and land mines.

The SFs arrested two suspects from Ghalanai tehsil of Mohmand Agency. According to the Mohmand Agency’s political administration, one of the suspects was arrested from Kashmir Kor by the SFs while the second was arrested by the Ghalanai tehsildar.

Bonair Khan, a close aide of Sufi Muhammad, was killed along with three other associates as they tried to escape from the Army’s Red Fort in Maidan area of Lower Dir in the NWFP. It has been reported that Bonair Khan had masterminded several suicide bombings, target killings and attacks on Security Forces and facilitated the Taliban in various attacks.

December 13

The SF killed at least seven militants in Kurram tribal region of FATA. Two soldiers also died in the fighting, officials told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media. People began fleeing the area after SF urged villagers to leave, the officials said. Reuters quoted administration officials and intelligence agents as saying that the SF, backed by artillery and fighter aircraft, had attacked terrorists in Kurram and destroyed 10 of their hideouts. 20 militants and 12 SF personnel were also injured in the exchange of fire.

Unidentified militants blew up and set ablaze the houses of eight Government officials in Sharif Khana of Charmang area in Nawagai sub-division of Bajaur Agency. The sources said that militants first blew up one by one all the eight houses located in Sharif Khana, some 20 kilometres from Khar headquarters, and then set ablaze all the structures. The houses were completely destroyed in the blasts and fire. No casualty was reported as the families had abandoned the houses when the military operation was launched against militants in the area. Eyewitnesses said that eight Government Officials identified as Abdul Kabeer, Nazifullah, Mujtaba, Abdul Hadi, Muhammad Zubair, Abdul Khaliq and Muhammad Aziz were earlier living in these houses. Nobody claimed responsibility for the act.

Four militants of the TTP, including their ‘commander’, were arrested in the Quaidabad area of Karachi. The arrested militants were allegedly plotting terror activities in the city during Moharramul Haram (Islamic Religious Month) and four hand grenades, four Kalashnikovs and three-and-a-half kilogrammes of hashish were recovered from their possession. The Senior Superintendent of Police (East Zone II Investigations) Choudhry Aslam Khan said the arrested men have been identified as Noor Wali, Niaz alias Riaz, Kher Mohammad alias Kaka and Niaz alias Omer. Giving details about the militant’s background, Khan said they had abducted a businessman named Zain Mehdi in Karachi, detained him for three months and later released him after receiving ransom money of PNR one million. Two months back, they had killed a man named Zubair at the Sohrab Goth graveyard suspecting him of being a Police informer. They had also robbed PNR one million from a petrol pump in Federal B Area of Karachi.

An intelligence agency captured the Swat Taliban ‘leader’ Fazlullah’s driver, Rahim Dad, from Shergarh area in Mardan of NWFP. Sources said the personnel of an intelligence agency’s raided a house in Shergarh area on a tip-off and arrested Rahim Dad, recovering a Kalashnikov rifle and hand grenades from his possession. Rahim is a resident of Gulshanabad in Batkhela Tehsil (revenue division) of Malakand Agency.

The religious leaders from various schools of thought in Punjab declared suicide attacks as ‘haram’ (prohibited) and promised to cooperate with the Punjab Government in the fight against terrorism. They expressed this commitment in a unanimous resolution, passed after a meeting at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Lahore. The resolution, presented by Muttahida Ulema Board Chairman Sahibzada Fazle Karim, stated that suicide bombings had no place in Islam. It said the board wanted to see the country on the road to development and peace. Meanwhile, talking to journalists, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged religious leaders to play a major role in countering the challenges being faced by the country.

The former JI chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed called suicide bombings "un-Islamic", saying that United States drone strikes were an assault on the country’s sovereignty and "cannot be tolerated anymore". Addressing a conference, he said Islam did not allow killing of "Muslim brothers" by launching suicide attacks and bomb blasts on ordinary citizens. "Suicide attacks are not allowed in Islam and our religion does not allow the killing of innocent people. "The murder of a Muslim is in fact the killing of all humanity," he said, adding that United States and NATO forces would be defeated in Afghanistan due to their "anti-people" policies. He said drone attacks in Pakistan were a violation of international law and the country’s sovereignty. Qazi called for strict action against elements involved in corruption adding that clerics from different schools of thought should unite to guide the nation in "these testing times" and protect it from imperialist forces.

December 14

The SFs killed 18 Taliban militants in the ongoing military operations in FATA. The SFs killed five Taliban militants in Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan, the ISPR said. It said the SFs killed four militants at Mola Khan Sarai in the Shakai sector, while a trooper was also injured during the clash. Another militant was killed and a soldier injured during a clash in the Razmak sector.

Six militants were killed when helicopter gunships targeted a terrorists’ vehicle in Kurram Agency.

SFs killed two Taliban militants and injured another three militants in various areas of Khar and Nawagai in Bajaur Agency.

SFs carried out an operation at village Tanga Patai and destroyed nine IEDs and recovered a cache of arms from the area.

Unidentified militants blew up a girls’ school in Saddokhel area of Khyber Agency in FATA. Local residents said it was the second attack on Malik Ashraf Killi Primary School. They said as many as 200 girls were enrolled in the school. Political administration and security officials also visited the site and warned Afghanistan nationals to vacate the area within a week. "They are Taliban. They are the same people who do not want children to get education," Rahim Gul Khattak, a senior administration official said.

The SFs killed four Taliban militants during a search operation at Najigram in Swat of NWFP.

The TTP ‘commander’ for the Naugolai area in Swat of NWFP was arrested during a raid at a hideout in Ittehad Town, a close proximity of Karachi city. Police sources said a Crime Investigation Department team headed by Investigations Senior Superintendent of Police Umar Shahid arrested Rashid alias Tooti Khan. One TT pistol was recovered from his possession. The arrested man is believed to be a close associate of Maulvi Fazlullah and Abu Faraj of the TTP Swat and was involved in killing law enforcement personnel and attacking various sensitive installations and check posts.

A Spanish court sentenced nine Pakistani nationals and two Indian nationals to 14-year jail terms for belonging to a terrorist outfit and making plan for a suicide bomb blast in Barcelona. Earlier, these persons were arrested in Spain on January 19, 2008.

The TTP urged clerics to refrain from issuing edicts against suicide bombing without lending an ear to the "jihadi point of view". TTP spokesman Azam Tariq said, "We expect that the clerics will not issue fatwas against suicide bombing without listening to the point of view of the jihadi forces." "These clerics, if they are forced by the Government to issue decrees against us, should visit areas where Security Forces’ operation is going on to know who is doing what." The TTP appeal came after the Government sought edicts from renowned religious scholars and clerics against suicide attacks. "Issuing fatwas against suicide bombing on the basis of the Government’s propaganda is unjust," the spokesman added.

Weapons being used for terrorism in Pakistan come from Afghanistan, the NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani said. Addressing a conference on ‘Improving Governance: Towards Sustainable Growth, Peace and Equity’, he said, "Every bullet, gun, bomb, rocket and explosives being used in acts of terrorism in Pakistan comes from Afghanistan." The NWFP Governor was chairing the session ‘Sustainable Governance Strategies to Counter Terrorism’ on the second day of the three-day conference. He said external factors were the main cause for the increasing terrorism across the country. "Religious seminaries and economic problems in the country existed before the advent of terrorism in the country; therefore, these things cannot be attributed as the reason behind the menace. Terrorism has actually been triggered by external factors, primarily anarchy and unrest in Afghanistan," he said. "The question that needs answering is that who is providing the resources to the insurgents," Ghani said, adding that around Rs 40 billion had been spent by terrorists in the NWFP and FATA in the last 10 years.

December 15

SFs killed 36 Taliban militants in separate military operations in Orakzai, Bajaur and Kurram Agencies of FATA. Sources said that 25 Taliban militants were killed when gunship helicopters pounded their hideouts in the Khost Sturi Khel and Sultanzai areas of Orakzai Agency. They also said three hideouts and two vehicles were also destroyed in the attack. An important training centre at Sultankhel was also destroyed.

Frontier Constabulary sources said SFs killed nine Taliban militants in Kurram Agency.

SFs killed two Taliban militants and injured two other militants in Charmang, Mamoond and Nawagai tehsils of Bajaur Agency. Eighteen Taliban surrendered to security forces in Inayat Killay and various parts of Mamoond tehsil (revenue unit).

Gunship helicopters also pounded suspected Taliban hideouts in Tarali, Sultani, Tari Tank, Dogar and Alwara Mela. As many as five Taliban militants were injured and several of their hideouts were destroyed. Orakzai is believed to be the base of Hakeemullah Mehsud, leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and is part of Pakistan’s tribal belt on the Afghanistan border.

SFs recovered a cache of arms and ammunition in South Waziristan Agency. SFs also cleared Aqhzar, Tauda Uba, Jani Kot and arrested two suspects. They also consolidated their positions in Shakai sector.

SFs conducted search operation near Tara Tiza and neutralised 22 militant hideouts, including two tunnels (35 feet long) in Razmak sector. SFs successfully established link up at village Zawar near Ghariom. In Pash Ziarat, 15 militant hideouts were neutralised and a cache of arms was recovered.

During ‘Operation Rah-e-Raast’ in Malakand Division, SFs recovered a cache of arms from Lalkhu Gharai, Batku, Hatrang, Tangar, Darogzar and Bashkhela. SFs also conducted a search operation in Tutaki near Matta, Manglaur, Charbagh, Harichand, Devolai, Imamdherai and Tighak-Galoch and arrested 17 Taliban militants.

Four Taliban militants surrendered at Shahdand Banda and Bara Banda.

A suicide car bomb exploded in a market outside the home of the Punjab Chief Minister’s senior adviser, Zulfiqar Khosa in Dera Ghazi Khan District of Punjab, killing 33 people and injured 60 others. Unidentified militants detonated the explosives outside the house of Khosa, who was not in home at the time of explosion. An eyewitness, Naeem, said a white-coloured car reached the gate of Khosa’s house and exploded. Most of the dead and injured were persons shopping or working at the market. It was unclear whether the bomber meant to target the politician’s home or the market. The attack badly damaged the house and several nearby shops and buildings, including a mosque and bank. "The whole market has collapsed," said Raza Khan, a local resident. "There is smoke and people running here and there." The attacker had packed the car with about 900 pounds (400 kilogrammes) of explosives, Senior Police Officer Muhammad Rizwan said. Zulfiqar Khosa’s son, Dost Muhammad Khosa, said two of his cousins were among the wounded. "It was a direct attack on us," Dost alleged, declining to speculate who was behind the blast. Meanwhile, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa said that his residence was targeted in the suicide attack but he is not sure whether he was the target of the bomber or not. "All of my family members are safe and are in Lahore," he told a private television channel after a suicide bomber exploded an explosives-laden car outside his residence. Khosa condemned the explosion.

Unidentified militants hurled a grenade at a Police bus in Quetta of Balochistan. Police sources said the bus was slightly damaged and caused no casualties.

A pipeline supplying gas to Loti Gas Field in Zain Koh area was blown up at Sui. The Police sources said unidentified militants planted a bomb near the 16-inch pipeline, adding the explosion destroyed a portion of the pipeline.

Unidentified militants torched two NATO oil tankers in Spiny Road of Quetta. Officials said the unidentified militants opened fire on the tankers on Spiny Road and managed to escape from the scene.

One Pakistan origin American national, Syed Haris Ahmed (25) of Atlanta, and one Bangladesh origin American national, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee (23) of Georgia, were sentenced to 13 and 17 years in prison respectively by a United States court, for their link to Pakistan-based LeT and JeM and providing them with material aid and support for attacks in the U.S. and abroad. District Judge William Duffey Junior of Federal Court in Atlanta sentenced Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, following their convictions in 2009 in separate but related criminal trials. Like David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, Sadequee and Ahmed too were in contact with the LeT and the JeM. However unlike Headley, who sent video footage and photographs of possible LeT targets in India, Sadeequee and Ahmed sent video clips of possible LeT targets in the US. "This is not about your faith," Judge Duffey Junior. told them. "This is about your conduct. This is about the rule of law in this country that you have decided does not apply to you."

The Sargodha civil court granted 10 days’ physical remand of the five United States nationals arrested for their reported involvement in planning to join militant outfits. They were brought to Sargodha from Lahore amid tight security and presented before the judge, where a JIT requested for their 10-day remand. Meanwhile, United State’s State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in response to a question about the Lahore High Court order: "It sounds to me to be a reasonable judicial procedure." The LHC had directed the authorities in Pakistan not to deport the arrested US nationals to any country. "We are in the process of working with the Pakistani authorities to determine their legal status, and formal charges haven’t been brought," Kelly said. Declining to comment on the LHC verdict, Kelly said: "What we’re interested in is that their legal rights are being respected, that the local law is being followed, and that they have access to legal counsel. And we normally provide them with a list of lawyers, who are available in the matter that they’re being held for."

The JIT reportedly decided to book the six United States nationals under Anti-Terrorism Act. The Police had registered a case against Waqar Hussain Khan, 22 (Virginia), Ahmed Abdullah Mani, 20 (Virginia), Ramay S Zamzam, 22 (Egypt) Iman Hasan Yamar, 17, (California), Omar Farouk, 24 and his father Khalid Farouk (Virginia) under the Pakistan Penal Code for criminal conspiracy and violation of Foreigners Act after arresting them from Sargodha on December 9.

MQM ‘chief’ Altaf Hussain appealed to religious scholars of all schools of thought to highlight in their sermons and speeches the fact that Islam forbids suicide bombing and to issue a fatwa (dictat) declaring that it (suicide bombing) is impermissible under any circumstances, according to Dawn. He was addressing from London a convention of Ulema and mashaikhs organised to discuss ways of maintaining sectarian harmony during Muharram. He condemned the rising incidents of terrorism and suicide bombings across the country. Hussain also condemned United States drone attacks in Pakistan when a participant drew his attention to such attacks in tribal areas. Such attacks, he said, often caused death of innocent people.

The Taliban leadership is sending messages from various sources to the Government for holding dialogue, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. "The Government cannot hold talks with unreliable people who don’t even fulfil their commitments. If the TTP really wants to hold dialogue with the Government, they must surrender and lay down their arms first," Malik said. He said TTP leader Hakeemullah Mehsud had accepted responsibility for the Parade Lane mosque attack in Rawalpindi, adding that the TTP had time and again accepted the responsibility of militant attacks in various parts of the country including suicide attacks on students at the International Islamic University. "How can they (Taliban) blame the country’s secret agencies for carrying out terrorist attacks," he asked, adding that, "TTP spokesman Azam Tariq is a liar. He is the person who first announced the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud and said Faqir Muhammad will be the head of the TTP, but later backtracked." "The leadership of TTP has realised that their so-called and self-designed jihad is meaningless now as the clerics have denounced suicide attacks and their jihad, which is against innocent people," Malik said.

A Baloch Senator said there is no proof that New Delhi is fomenting trouble there (Balochistan). In a statement that could embarrass Pakistan, which has claimed that India is fuelling unrest in Balochistan, the Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo said that "We don’t have a proof. As a representative of Baloch people and a leader of a National Party, I have no information on this. Maybe, intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan have knowledge about it". Asking India to realise the threat posed by terrorism in its neighbourhood, the Senator said terror emanating from Afghanistan reached Pakistan in no time and New Delhi should keep this fact in mind.

December 16

The SFs killed 49 Taliban militants in separate military actions in the FATA. "At least 18 militants were killed when helicopters pounded Toori Khel town of Orakzai Agency when they (militants) were holding an important meeting," paramilitary spokesman Major Fazlur Rehman said. Local Administration Official Riaz Khan confirmed the toll and said four more were killed in air strikes in the Sultanzai town of Orakzai Agency.

The SFs lunched a ground and air offensive in Dagar town in the Kurram Agency, killing 21 Taliban militants, paramilitary spokesman Major Fazlur Rehman said. However, Dawn put the death toll to 27. Another 18 Taliban militants were arreted from the same town.

Six Taliban militants and one soldier were killed in the raids and clashes in the South Waziristan.

As many as four persons were killed and 27 others were injured when unidentified militants hurled grenades at the participants of a music concert at Shah Kas area in Jamrud tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency in FATA.

SFs arrested 25 suspected militants, including a ‘commander’, Syed Noor, during a search operation in Shalober, Qamberkhel and Akakhel area of Bara sub-division in Khyber Agency.

Unidentified militants blown up two gas pipelines in separate incidents in Dera Bugti of Balochistan, causing disruption of gas supply to many parts of Karachi. Local sources said that unidentified militants blew up a 16-inch diameter gas pipeline at Loti area of Dera Bugti, which was connected to well number 2. Another 30-inch gas pipeline passing from Sui was also damaged by unidentified militants. The attack disrupted the supply of gas to several parts of Karachi.

Unidentified militants fired several rockets in Peshawar city, the capital of NWFP. The rockets landed in an uninhabited area and caused no loss of life or property. Chamkani Station Police officials said that the explosion occurred in Afridi Garhi on Chamkani Road at around 7:30 AM (PST). The Bomb Disposal Squad said the rockets were of the MP-12 type.

The FBI interrogator of David Coleman Headley alias Daood Gilani has, for the first time, confirmed that "A section of serving Pakistan army officers" are working in collaboration with India-specific jihadi groups like LeT and JeM, according to Times of India. Sources said this was revealed by Headley to his FBI interrogators in what is the first confirmation by an independent probe agency of the involvement of Pakistani Army officers in planning and executing terrorist operations against India. This, sources said, had been conveyed to the Indian side by the FBI team which visited India to share information on Headley’s questioning. While Pakistan has explained away the instances of the involvement of Army officials calling them "aberrations", this has exposed the jihadi infiltration of the Pakistani Army and their collaboration with terrorist outfits in anti-India operations. Sources said the officials identified by Headley were working with Lashkar on ‘Karachi project’ as part of a larger campaign against India. This project involves using jihadi fugitives from India sheltered in Pakistan to draw in vulnerable Indian Muslim youth. The FBI interrogation of David Coleman Headley has revealed a Lashkar training project involving jihadi fugitives from India. The youth, after they are trained by Pakistani army officials, are sent back to India as part of the gameplan to conceal the Pakistani involvement and pass off the terror in India as a home-grown phenomenon.

The top leadership of al Qaeda and Taliban is in Pakistan and planning to kill "as many Americans as they have" in the past, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said. "The indication that I have is that they (al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leadership) are here [Pakistan] and are actually protected by others, particularly, by the [local] Taliban. This is our information, we operate under it and it’s the focus of our strategy," he said in an interview at the US embassy in Islamabad. Mullen said both al Qaeda and the Taliban had their "resource" and leadership in Pakistan and are "still planning to kill as many Americans as they have killed before". Mullen said the US was determined not to let the terrorists use Pakistan as staging ground to launch attacks in the future. "We are going to do everything we possibly can do to make sure that it does not happen again," he said. Mullen avoided questions on possible US drone attacks in Balochistan.

December 17

A key al Qaeda operative, Zohaib Al-Zahidi, and seven other foreigners were among 17 persons killed in two separate drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency of FATA. Zohaib Al-Zahidi was an important al Qaeda cadre involved in planning and executing several militant attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the first attack, five US drones fired at least 10 missiles at two houses in the Ambarshaga area killing at least 15 people. Another US drone killed two Taliban militants as it fired two missiles at their vehicle around 4 AM (PST) in Godi Wala village in Datta Khel tehsil (revenue division), 40 kilometres west of Miranshah. Official sources said the first missile missed the target due to which several militants escaped, while two of them were killed by the second missile. However, The News put the death to 16.

Six persons, including three SF personnel and three Taliban militants, were killed while five SF personnel injured in two separate attacks in Bara tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency in FATA. The sources said two SF personnel were killed when a remote-controlled bomb struck a security convoy in the Malikdin Khel area of Bara tehsil. In the second incident, the Taliban militants attacked a security check post in the Feroz Khel area, close to the Orakzai Agency border. A SF official was killed while five others were injured in the attack. Three Taliban militants were also killed when SFs retaliated.

A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up at a gathering in Bannu of NWFP, but guests at the ceremony escaped unhurt. Senior Police Official Muhammad Ayub said that it was a "miracle" that no one was killed or injured in the bombing in Essakhel village. "A young boy, aged 13 or 14, blew himself up in the middle of guests who were visiting the house of a local political leader to congratulate him on his return from Haj," Ayub said. The boy was killed by his suicide vest, but Police said it was possible that not all the explosives detonated, while a hand grenade the bomber was carrying was also defused at the scene.

Two personnel of the FC were injured in Khuzdar District of Balochistan after unidentified militants opened fire on a routine patrol party. The FC team came under attack in Zehri area of Khuzdar while on a routine patrol. The attackers opened fire on the FC team and injured two personnel. The FC retaliated, but the militants managed to escape. The injured officials were moved to a hospital where their condition was reported to be stable. Following the incident, the FC cordoned off the area and began a search for the attackers. At least five suspects were detained by the FC in connection with the attack. No group has so far accepted responsibility for the assault.

The CID arrested one Nooran Gul Mehsud alias Rocket, a close aide of TTP ‘chief’ Hakeemullah Mehsud from Ramzan Goth in Karachi. Senior SSP OF CID Fayyaz Khan said an incomplete suicide jacket, 20 kilogrammes of explosives, two kilogrammes of ball bearings and nails each, six electric timers and wires, and one Kalashnikov rifle was recovered from his possession. "The man’s name is included in CID’s Red Book in the category of most dangerous terrorists," Fayyaz Khan added. Khan said Nooran had organised a terrorist network in Karachi on the directives of the slain TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud. "Nooran was also involved in an attack on an Intelligence Agency personnel and the Anti-Violent Crime Unit in Sohrab Goth," he said. "Two policemen were killed while several others, including AVCU chief SSP Farooq Awan and an intelligence official were wounded in the incident." The arrested militant was also responsible for providing medical treatment to terrorists in the city who were wounded while fighting the Pakistan Army in Waziristan, Khan added further.

Times of India quoting the report of Geopolitical intelligence group Stratfor said that the investigation into the David Headley case has conclusively proved that LeT and HuJI continue to enjoy great deal of operational freedom in Pakistan because of their links with its Government and military officials even as al-Qaeda barely manages to survive. This is one of the conclusions drawn by Geopolitical intelligence group Stratfor in its latest report on US investigations into Headley which further authenticates India’s stand that Islamabad is not doing enough to dismantle the terror infrastructure. According to Stratfor, the case shows that LeT and HuJI operatives were able to travel, raise funds, communicate, train and plan operations in Pakistan with seemingly little interference. ‘‘This is a stark contrast to al-Qaeda, which is hunted, on the run and experiencing a great deal of difficulty moving operatives, communicating, raising funds and conducting operations. The links between Headley and his associates to current and former Pakistani military officers and Government officials are likely what is affording LeT and HUJI their operational freedom,’’ said the report, adding that even while having to drift out from under the wings of ISI, the two groups have developed an advanced central planning apparatus. The report goes on to say that HuJI leader Ilyas Kashmiri’s links with al-Qaida and the plans for Denmark attack are an indication that HuJI has become more closely aligned with the transnational jihadis targeting philosophy as a result of Kashmiri’s contacts with Osama bin Laden and company. ‘‘It appears that LeT, on the other hand, has retained more of a focus on India. So, while the two organisations continue to cooperate, they do have some differences in targeting philosophy, and it would seem that HuJI is creeping further into the al-Qaida orbit than LeT,’’ states the report.

The Pakistan Army will crackdown on the Sirajuddin Haqqani network after the completion of the South Waziristan operation, a private television channel quoted United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen as saying. In an interview with the channel, Mullen said Pakistan’s operation against terrorists in Waziristan was in its final phase, adding that the Security Forces had gained considerable success against the Taliban. To a question, Mullen said US President Barack Obama had directed his administration to work to build mutual trust between Pakistan and the US. He said Obama had discussed the new Pak-Afghan policy with the Pakistani leadership over telephone and addressed Islamabad’s concerns over the issue. He said Washington respected Pakistan’s sovereignty, however, the US had conveyed its reservations to Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani. Mullen said he had asked Kayani to fight al Qaeda, which was hiding in the Tribal Areas.

December 18

SFs backed by fighter jets killed 16 Taliban militants and injured another 22 when they targeted militant hideouts in various areas of Orakzai Agency in the FATA. Sources said the jets destroyed four hideouts in Dabori, Ghalju, Mamuzai and Malpati areas of Upper Orakzai.

A US drone fired four missiles in the Shagga village of North Waziristan, killing eight Taliban militants and injuring five others. The US drone struck at around 3:30pm (IST) in Pyekhel area of Dattakhel tehsil (revenue division), 25 kilometres west of Miranshah. "The US drone fired four missiles, hitting a house, a compound and some makeshift buildings," a Security Official in Peshawar said. "It looks like some key Taliban or al Qaeda figures are hiding in this area, and that’s why the drones are targeting this area again and again." An official said, "Our informers told us that the Taliban had gathered to attend the funeral prayers of those killed December 17’s missile attacks," he said.

SFs in South Waziristan neutralised 30 bunkers and compounds, which were previously being used by the Taliban militants. The SFs conducted a search operation in Song Khula near Asman Manza and destroyed a watchtower that was used by the Taliban militants. The Taliban militants fired with small arms at a SFs checkpost near Razmak, injuring a soldier.

Unidentified militants destroyed a boys’ college in Alamgodar area of Bara tehsil (revenue division) in Khyber Agency. The sources said that the militants attacked the college in the early hours of morning. They tied up the guard with ropes and blew up the building using explosives. The sources said 20 rooms of the college were completely destroyed.

SFs arrested 14 suspected militants during a search operation in the Malakdin Khel and Qambar Khel areas of Bara tehsil.

12 persons, mostly worshippers, were killed and 32 others sustained injuries when a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden van near a mosque in the Police Lines in Dir Lower District of NWFP. "The worshipers were coming out after offering the Friday prayers from the Civil Colony mosque in the Police Lines when the suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the wall," an eyewitness said. "Eleven persons were killed and 32 others injured in the explosion, which occurred at 1:30 PM (PST)," a Police official said. It was the first incident of its kind in Dir Lower, where SFs in the summer crushed a Taliban-led insurgency concentrated in Maidan and Adinzai tehsil (revenue division) of the Dir Lower District.

SFs arrested 30 suspected militants during search operations in Bala Sur near Chuprial, as well as Hamwarai, Roria, Kontangat, Kotkai, Kamargai area of Swat. A Taliban militant surrendered at Kharary near Matta.

December 19

SFs killed 20 militants in operations across the FATA. The SFs killed six militants in Bara tehsil (revenue division) of Khyber Agency and arrested another four militants during a search operation in the area. The six militants were killed when they tried to attack the Janki Post in Bara, while the militants were arrested from the Shalobar area. The SFs also blew up the house of LI ‘commander’ Arif.

SFs killed six militants and neutralised three militant’s hideouts in the Orakzai Agency. Also, unidentified gunmen shot dead two militants in the area. The helicopter gunships pounded Feroz Khel and Shaikhan areas of Lower Orakzai, killing six militants and neutralised three of their hideouts. The two bodies of militants were recovered from Sanpaga Kandao area of Upper Orakzai.

SFs killed six militants in the Razmal area in the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan. "Security forces conducted a search operation in Lowara Punga near Mana. During the encounter six terrorists were killed," The Inter-Services Public Relations said. The SFs secured Sain Tanga and Malik Shahi areas in South Waziristan and arrested four suspects during the clearance operation in several areas of the Jandola sector.

SFs conducted search operations in several areas of the Jandola sector in South Waziristan and recovered a large cache of arms and ammunitions.

SFs also conducted a search operation in Badam Shah near Pash Ziarat and neutralised three militant compounds, two bunkers and a tunnel and cleared four suspected houses.

The militants fired rockets and small arms at a SFs patrol near Mana, which was effectively retaliated. SFs also cleared 52 compounds in various areas and recovered a cache of arms.

In North Waziristan, the SFs conducted a search of Waziristan Hotel in Miran Shah and arrested two militants and recovered three grenades and a jacket from them.

At least three personnel of the Balochistan Constabulary, including a DSP, were killed and another two injured when unidentified militants opened fire at them in Quetta of Balochistan. Sources said that DSP Habibullah Qaisarani had left his home for office when the militants, riding a motorcycle, ambushed his car on the Jail Road. Habibullah, Assistant Sub-Inspector Muhammad Aslam and Constable Shafiq Ahmed died on the spot. The driver of the van, Nazeer Ahmed, and another constable Muhammad Yasir were injured in the attack.

A Police patrol party convoy narrowly escaped a roadside bomb blast at a suburban Afridi Garhi locality along the Ring Road-Chughalpura Road in Peshawar of NWFP. Police said the blast occurred when DSP Iftikhar Khan and some constables were passing through the area. The DSP said he was on official duty, adding the bomb went off seconds before the Police patrol party would have reached the spot. Speaking with journalists, Peshawar Senior Superintendent (coordination) Muhammad Alam Shinwari said the explosive device had been planted along the road and was detonated using a remote control, adding it seemed the actual target of the suspected militants was the Police convoy.

SFs arrested 40 suspected Taliban militants during a search operation in Kabal tehsil (revenue division) of Swat.

The SFs also imposed curfew in Bara Bandai area of Kabal and conducted a search operation in which they arrested several suspects.

December 20

SFs killed four Taliban militants in Kalangi area of Malakand in NWFP. Security officials said the Taliban were trying to enter Malakand through Bajaur Agency of FATA, and fired at the SFs when they were intercepted near the Kalangi checkpost. The subsequent gun battle led to the killing of four Taliban militants. The SFs recovered a rocket launcher, four machine guns, sixteen magazines and six grenades from the possession of the slain militants.

The SFs recovered bodies of four Taliban militants and a sub-inspector of Police in Buner District, officials said. The sources said the beheaded body of sub-inspector Umar Ghani was recovered from Manyari Gokad area of Buner. Ghani was the in-charge of Gagra Police Station and had been abducted in June while he was on his way home. The bodies of the Taliban militants, identified as Imtiaz, Israr, Saadat and Ismail, were found in the Nawagai Police Station area.

A private school building was damaged in a blast in Mathra Police Station area of Peshawar. A Mathra Police Station official said that the blast occurred at around 2 AM (PST) in the Muslim Public School, damaging two rooms, a gate and part of the boundary wall. However, no casualty in the blast was reported.

The SFs recovered IEDs, explosive material and weapons during search operation in Dhoda area of the Lakki Marwat District. At least 20 persons were arrested for further investigation "The militants had buried the IEDs, explosive material, arms and ammunition in the underground caves," the District Police Officer Muhammad Ayub said. The recovered explosive devices and arms included eight IEDs, three buckets each filled with 25 kilograms of explosive, detonators, two bags full of explosive powder, eight Kalashnikov rifles, a long machine gun, two shotguns, explosive wire (prime cord) and 2,605 rounds.

The SFs arrested 60 suspected Taliban militants during search operations in various parts of Swat.

December 21

SFs killed four Taliban militants in the ongoing operation Rah-e-Nijat in the Totakna area of Swat District in the NWFP.

Unidentified militants blew up the Khattako Bridge checkpost on the Shamshato Road in the Urmur Police Station area of Peshawar. The checkpost was manned by four Policemen, but none of them was present when the blast occurred. The Senior Superintendent of Police (Coordination) Muhammad Alam Shinwari said the remote-controlled bomb weighed around one and half kilogrammes.

Two Taliban militants were killed and three others arrested in the ongoing operation Rah-e-Nijat in the South Waziristan Agency of the FATA. The ISPR sources said the militants fired with small arms at the SFs check-post near Janata, which was effectively retaliated. In the Shakai sector, the ISPR said, the militants engaged SFs positions in Pungai near Ladha from southwest of Narakai. During the ensuing clash, two militants were killed, ISPR said. In the Razmak sector, militants attacked the SFs check-post near Mana and Pash Ziarat, which was effectively retaliated.

The CID of the Sindh Police arrested a Taliban militant from Bin Qasim Town of Karachi who is allegedly involved in high-profile terrorism cases in Mohmand Agency of FATA. CID Superintendent Police (Investigations) Mazhar Mashwani said a special CID team successfully raided Bin Qasim Town and arrested the accused Mohammad Umer after an encounter. During the initial course of interrogation, Umer revealed that he had been involved in several heinous cases of crime, including terrorism, in Mohmand Agency, he added. A shotgun and five bullets were recovered from Umer’s possession.

December 22

At least 17 Taliban militants were killed and another eight injured as the SFs, backed by helicopter gunships, continued their offensive against terrorists in Orakzai Agency of FATA. A private news channel said helicopter gunships pounded militant’s hideouts in the region, killing seven militants and injuring another eight. Six more militants were killed in Ferozekhel during a encounter with the SFs. Ihsanullah, an important Taliban ‘commander’, was also among the dead. However, another TV channel claimed that Ihsanullah’s killing was a result of clash between two militant groups.

The SFs killed four militants in separate clashes during the Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation) in South Waziristan. Sources said that two militants were killed and two injured in Nazar Khel near Gani Khel. The SFs killed two more militants during a search operation in Ghariom.

The SFs conducted a search operation in Janata area and recovered an unspecified number of arms and ammunitions.

A girl’s school was bombed in Kamar Khel area of Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency by unidentified militants. Sources said that the militants planted explosives in Government Girls Middle Schools. The blast damaged the compound and rooms of the school, a local said. Moreover, the continuing curfew has forced the closure of all educational institutions in Bara.

The SFs discovered and defused a roadside landmine in Shin Drang area. Officials said that militants had planted the bomb to target the SFs.

Three people, including a woman, were killed and another 24 persons injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the Peshawar Press Club in Peshawar of NWFP. The building is situated on the Sher Shah Suri Road close to the Cantonment Railway Station. Lady Reading Hospital officials confirmed the toll in the first ever suicide attack in the country aimed specifically at journalists. They said two of the bodies were identified as police constable Riazuddin and a passer-by, Rubina. Rubina, who died of a cardiac arrest, was traveling in a rickshaw close to the press club when the blast occurred. Peshawar Press Club accountant Mian Iqbal Shah succumbed to his injury at the hospital later. Several passers-by, including those travelling in a minibus, were injured in the blast besides Peshawar Press Club employees Yasir, Ayub and Kamran. A photojournalist, Khurram Pervez, also sustained injuries in the blast. Peshawar City Police chief Liaqat Ali Khan told reporters that the suicide attacker had tried to enter the premises. The Police guard at the gate frisked the man and tried to overpower him when he discovered that the person was wearing a suicide vest, however, the bomber detonated his vest during the scuffle. The press club employee Yasir Jamil, who was also injured in the blast said that the suicide bomber was trying to enter the press club when the Police guard stopped him. He said the attacker had an argument with the guard, and blew himself up moments later. He said the bomber had a dark complexion and short height and seemed around 18 to 19 years of age.

SFs killed four militants in Karakar area of the Swat District. According to the Swat Media Centre, a group of militants were attempting to enter Buner from Swat when Security personnel intercepted them, resulting in an encounter. Two soldiers were also injured in the exchange of fire. The SFs recovered two IEDs, two Klashnikovs, wireless sets and a sub-machine gun from the possession of the slain militants.

December 23

SFs killed 10 Taliban militants in Bajaur Agency of FATA after they came under attack in Charmang area of Nawagai tehsil (revenue unit). Taliban militants attacked two check posts in Charmang area, upon which the SFs killed 10 of the militants in retaliatory fire. However, The News put the militant fatalities to 12.

In the Bara tehsil, SFs arrested five suspected persons, including a wanted militant, during a search operation.

The SFs neutralised a house in Akakhel area and arrested a Taliban ‘commander’ Malki Khan, his two brothers and a son.

Daily Times quoting a Senior Police Official reported that several militants of LeJ, who were hiding and fighting in the tribal areas of the NWFP, have reached Karachi to carry out terrorist activities during Muharramul Haram. A senior police official, on condition of anonymity said that militants affiliated with LeJ, who were fighting against Security Forces in Dera Ismail Khan, Hangu and Waziristan, have come to Karachi to evoke sectarian violence in the city. "They plan to carry out suicide bombings and target killings," the officer said. "These militants want to show their strength to the law enforcers and intelligence agencies, and they also want to take revenge of the killings of their leaders and workers in the last couple of months in the city." A source said as many as 13 high-profile militants of LeJ had been killed in different acts of violence, which resulted in them taking revenge. It is believed that the prime target of the militants would be the main processions and Majalis-e-Azza held in various parts of the city during the first ten days of Muharram, the source added.

The TTP ‘chief’ Hakeemullah Mehsud asked his ‘commanders’ not to interfere in the matters of North Waziristan Agency of FATA. Warning of strict action against those who violated the order, Hakeemullah asked his group to desist from abductions and other criminal activities and interference in the governance of Political Administration of North Waziristan. He said those violating the order would be held accountable.

The TTP ‘deputy chief’ Waliur Rehman said he has sent thousands of fighters to neighbouring Afghanistan to rebuff incoming US troops. Waliur Rehman said the TTP remains committed to battling the Army in South Waziristan, but they are essentially waging a guerrilla war. "Since Obama (President Barack Obama) is also sending additional SFs to Afghanistan, we sent thousands of our men there to fight NATO and American SFs," Rehman said. While the military estimated it had killed around 600 Taliban militants, Rehman claimed that he had lost fewer than 20. He also said his group would stop attacking Pakistan’s SFs if the country would sever its ties with the US. He claimed the Taliban only attacked SFs and did not believe in any strikes on civilian targets.

December 24

Four persons were killed and 24 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a security post in Peshawar. Peshawar Senior Superintendent of Police (Coordination) Muhammad Alam Shinwari said that four persons, including one Policeman and three civilians, were killed and 24 injured in the attack, which was carried out using a suicide jacket packed with eight kilogrammes of explosives. The bomber struck at the junction of Mall Road and Arbab Road in front of an insurance company’s office, where a Security Force post had been set up to inspect vehicles. A policeman said the bomber was on foot and detonated explosives strapped to his body when Policemen stopped him at the post.

Two people were killed and another two sustained serious injuries in a landmine explosion in Phelawagh village of Dera Bugti in Balochistan on. The deceased were identified as Saifullah and Shah Gul, who were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine in Phelawagh village.

A six-year-old girl, Arooj, was killed and two people, including a head constable, were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an imambargah on Kurri Road in Rawalpindi. The bomber blew himself up when Head Constable Ittefaq intercepted him at a picket set up for the Security of the imambargah, where a congregation was being held.

Three SF personnel were injured when militants fired rockets at two military check posts in Chamarkand area of Mohmand Agency late in the night. Tribal sources said the militants fired rockets at Marjan-I and Marjan-II check posts in Chamarkand area in Safi tehsil (revenue unit). Three troopers on duty at the checkpoints were injured in the attack. In retaliation, the SFs pounded the hideouts of militants with artillery cannons but there was report on any human and material losses inflicted on the militants.

December 25

The SFs shot dead nine suspected Taliban militants in Orakzai Agency of FATA. A Government official Muhammed Yasin said the Pakistan Army had killed at least nine suspected Taliban militants in the country’s northwest tribal region near the Afghanistan border. The Army had used helicopter gunships to destroy three Taliban hideouts in Orakzai Agency, he added further.

The SFs arrested a militant during a search operation in Nawagai area of Bajaur Agency.

Three militants surrendered before the SFs in Lagharai area of Mamond tehsil in Bajaur Agency.

The SFs neutralised the house of a militant ‘commander’ in Mamond by using explosives, besides targeting several militant positions in Mulla Said area with artillery shells and mortar guns.

Two Policemen were killed in a militant attack in Peshawar, the capital of the NWFP, in the early hours. An official source said that unidentified militants shot dead two Policemen at a check post in Taj Abad locality of Peshawar. The official said the two Policemen were identified as Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Javed, both from Swabi District. According to the officials, the militants managed to escape after killing the Policemen.

The unidentified militants blew up three schools in separate attacks in Landikotal and Peshawar. Buildings of two Government high schools about 1.5 kilometres apart were blown up in Landikotal. No casualties were reported, as both schools were empty at the time. In the second incident, the militants tried to blow up a Government boys’ high school in Spin Wari village in Peshawar. According to the Police, the blast only damaged the school’s boundary wall.

The Police recovered 500 kilogrammes of explosives from Mardan and 2,000 kilogrammes from Bannu. A private television channel quoted NWFP Police Inspector General (IG) Malik Naveed saying that the NWFP Government had thwarted six potential suicide attacks in recent weeks. Speaking with the media in Peshawar after the suicide blast at the Mall Road, the IG said Police were conducting raids in the suburban areas of the city. Regarding security arrangements for Muharram, he said as many as 700 ex-servicemen of the Frontier Corps had been recalled to protect citizens.

The Police recovered a cache of arms and ammunition from Morrian area near Rawal Town of Islamabad. The Police sources said that a citizen informed Shahzad Town Police Station that arms and ammunition was lying at a deserted place at Morrian near Rawal Town. Shahzad Town Police and bomb disposal squad reached the place and found two hand grenades, huge quantity of sulpher powder and other arms and ammunition.

Police arrested four militants and recovered as many suicide vests and a large cache of arms from their possession in Mianwali District. The Police arrested a suspect, Muhammad Jamil, from Gulberg Chowk and recovered videos of suicide bombings and also arrested his accomplice, Egal Khan, on the basis of the information provided by Jamil. Further information provided by the two men led to the arrest of Amanullah Hattar and Imran Pathan from Kacha Gujrat area of Mianwali. The Police