Pakistan: Troops Sent to Taliban-Threatened Area

April 23, 2009 - 4:22 AM
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Peshawar, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistani paramilitary forces have been deployed to protect government buildings and bridges in a district near the capital that has come under the Taliban's sway, an official said Thursday.
 
The six Frontier Constabulary platoons arrived in northwestern Buner on Wednesday, days after militants from the neighboring Swat Valley began infiltrating the area in large numbers, establishing checkpoints, patrolling roads and spreading fear.
 
The Taliban movement into the district came after the provincial government agreed to impose Islamic law in Swat and surrounding areas in exchange for peace with the insurgents.
 
Pakistan's president signed off on the deal last week, heightening concern that the agreement would embolden the extremists to expand their reign in the northwest regions bordering Afghanistan.
 
Syed Mohammed Javed, a top government official who oversees the area covered by the peace deal, confirmed that the platoons had been sent to Buner, but he would not say if it was in direct response to the Taliban infiltration.
 
He did not specify the number of troops involved, but a platoon typically has 30 to 50 members.
 
Also Thursday, dozens of militants armed with guns and gasoline bombs attacked a truck terminal elsewhere in northwestern Pakistan, burning five tanker trucks carrying fuel to NATO troops in Afghanistan, police said.