3 civilians, 3 militants killed in Pakistan blast

3 civilians, 3 militants killed in Pakistan blast
# 01 May 2010 18:27 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. A suicide bomber on Saturday killed three civilians and three other militants in a busy market area in a northwestern Pakistani region wrested from the Taliban last year, an army commander said, APA reports quoting The Associated Press.
Seven soldiers and five civilians were also wounded in the blast.
Maj. Gen. Ashfaq Nadeem, who commands military operations in Swat, said the blast happened when security forces with help from two recently captured insurgents traced two other militants in the city of Mingora and asked them to surrender.
The pair ignored warning and one of them blew himself up, killing himself and his associate, Nadeem said. The blast also killed the two captured militants who were helping the troops, he said.
Nadeem claimed that the military had almost eliminated militants from the Swat Valley. But the latest violence raised fears that the Taliban are returning in a region where the army waged a major offensive against the extremists last year — part of a broader military campaign against militants across the volatile northwest.
Once a favorite tourist destination in Pakistan, the picturesque Swat Valley began falling under the Taliban’s sway in 2007. Despite small army offensives, the valley fell under insurgent control that lasted until 2009.
Authorities initially tried to ensure peace there through talks and even agreed to enforce Islamic laws to meet a demand from the local Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, who was leading insurgents.
But the efforts failed when militants began to infiltrate the Buner region just south of the valley. Subsequently, the military launched a major offensive and took back the region in mid-2009. Periodic militant attacks have persisted since then.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb exploded near a police vehicle in southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday, wounding seven people, police official Ghulam Nabi said.
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, where ethnic Baluch nationalists have waged a slow-scale insurgency for years to demand more autonomy and a greater share of income from the area’s natural resources.
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