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Pak Taliban fighters uniting to take over Islamabad: Reports

Pak Taliban fighters uniting to take over Islamabad: Reports

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 10, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168178/Pak-Taliban-fighters-uniting-to-take-over-Islamabad-reports.html

Taliban fighters from Pakistan's restive Swat valley have begun extending their influence to other areas even as a top militant commander said that the rebels would also take over the federal capital.

Some 400 to 500 Taliban militants from Swat have taken over two villages near Buner, 100 km northwest of Islamabad, after two days of clashes with a 'lashkar' or tribal militia formed to stop their advance, TV channels reported today.

Militant commander Rizwan Bacha told Dawn News channel that Maulana Fazlullah, chief of the Taliban in Swat, had ordered them to remain in Buner despite calls from tribal elders for militants to leave the area. The Taliban have set up a base in Buner after torching several houses.

A group of clerics is mediating with the Taliban and tribal elders after the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in Buner. At least eight militants, two members of the lashkar and three policemen died in clashes that erupted after the Taliban moved into Buner on Monday.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Taliban commander Mullah Nazeer Ahmed said various militant factions had united to take over the federal capital.

"The day is not far when Islamabad will be in the hands of the mujahideen," he said in an interview with Al Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab. Ahmed accused the Pakistan Army of sending spies to facilitate US drone attacks against Al Qaida and Taliban. He claimed Pakistani authorities were misleading people by saying it was the US that was carrying out the missile strikes.

He also blamed the Inter-Services Intelligence for sowing divisions between militants factions and said the spy agency is the Taliban's main enemy.

Tensions ran high in the Buner region after gun battles between the local lashkar and militants over the past two days. The militants have rejected calls by the tribal jirga to leave Buner district.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told BBC Urdu that nobody could oust the militants from Buner.

The militants have also occupied a police post and a government school. They have set up a camp in an area about four kilometres from the district headquarters of Daggar. A large number of people have left the area due to the violence.

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