Pakistan army kills 50 Taliban in Swat area

Bill Roggio:

The Pakistani Army claimed 48 Taliban fighters, including 10 senior Swat leaders, were killed in a major battle in the settled district of the Northwest Frontier Province. Five Pakistani soldiers were also reported killed. The Taliban refuted the claims of heavy casualties, but confirmed one leader was killed in the fighting.

"We have inflicted heavy losses on the militants,” a military spokesman told GEO TV. “We have video footage showing bodies of the militants killed in the fighting." The Pakistani military has inflated enemy casualties in the past while downplaying their losses.

Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman for Swat leader Mullah Fazlullah, denied the Taliban took heavy casualties. He did confirm that Maulvi Hussain Ali, a Taliban commander who is also known as Toor Mullah, was killed in the fighting.

The battle began after a force of 70 Taliban fighters surrounded and attacked a security outpost in the Matta subdistrict in Swat. The Pakistani military originally claimed 25 Taliban fighters were killed in the counterattack.

The Taliban have conducted a series of attack in the region at the same time at the attack on the security outpost. A military armored vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device, while three bridges were destroyed in Swat. A girls’ school was also bombed.

Just yesterday, the Taliban overran a police checkpoint and kidnapped 25 Pakistani policemen and members of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary.

...

As I have noted before the Frontier Corps is not up to the job of dealing with the Taliban. The Pakistan army on the other hand is a different matter. Pakistan needs to put more of its professional forces into the fight and needs to train the Frontier Corps to the point that it can at least contribute to the counterinsurgency effort. The US has indicated a willingness to help with this training and it is in Pakistan's interest to take advantage of the offer.

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