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Monday, 27 October 2008

Ordinary people in Swat battle Taliban

Swat lashkar battles Taliban

* Tribesmen kill 20 Taliban after botched attempt to abduct an elder
* Taliban behead one tribesman, kill 6 others
* 62 tribesmen ‘abducted’
* 3 civilians killed as Taliban target barbershop
* 11 Taliban killed in Bajaur Agency

MINGORA: Tribesmen killed 20 Taliban in clashes that followed a botched attempt to abduct an elder in Swat on Sunday. Taliban meanwhile beheaded a tribesman and abducted dozens of others.

Police said a group of pro-Mullah Fazlullah Taliban were trying to hustle Pir Samiullah – chief of a lashkar (tribal militia fighting Taliban) – from his home in the Mandaldag area of Matta tehsil to a getaway car when dozens of local tribesmen confronted them and snatched him back.

Dilawar Bangash, the Swat police chief, said hundreds of Taliban later returned, seized three members of the militia and beheaded one of them on a road before a large crowd.

“This is a lesson for anyone who tries to oppose us,” they told the people according to accounts gathered later by police.

Meanwhile, the lashkar was gathering men from the surrounding area who engaged the Taliban in an hours-long gunbattle. Bangash said 20 Taliban, six militiamen and four bystanders were killed in the shooting and another police official said several tribesmen were reported missing.

Among the killed Taliban were four commanders including Shamsher, a bomb making expert, and two close aides of Fazlullah. Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman contacted by telephone, confirmed a clash but said only three Taliban died. He claimed that 12 tribesmen were killed and another 62 abducted.

Barbershop: Three civilians were killed as Taliban targeted a barbershop in Sambat area of Swat. In Totani Bandai, Taliban attacked a military checkpost injuring a soldier. Fifty suspected Taliban were arrested in Kooza Bandai.

Bajaur: In the nearby Bajaur Agency, Taliban attacked a security post on the outskirts of agency headquarters Khar. Troops retaliated, killing six Taliban. Five more fighters were killed when troops attacked a suspected Taliban base in Charmang district, another security official said. staff report/agencies (Daily Times)

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