60 more Taliban militants killed in Pakistan's northwest

60 more Taliban militants killed in Pakistan's northwest

Geo TV said 60 extremists were killed when the security forces stormed the house of the nazim (administrator) of the Lower Dir district which the Taliban had taken over.

The house was completely destroyed.

Several Taliban strongholds in Maidan and Kalpani sub-districts of Lower Dir were also destroyed as the military operation in three districts - the others being Swat and Buner - of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) entered its 19th day on Thursday.

The security forces had achieved a major breakthrough on Wednesday by capturing Peochar, the headquarters of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah.

Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Taliban-backed radical cleric Sufi Mohammad who had brokered a controversial peace accord with the NWFP government and whose violation by the militants had prompted the military action April 26.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will Friday brief the leaders of all political parties in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on the military action in NWFP.

According to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan, an All Parties Conference (APC) on the NWFP situation would be held here Monday.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will preside over the conference.

"The APC is being convened in consultation with the entire political leadership," Awan said.

Over half a million civilians have been displaced by the military operation, with the numbers growing by the hour. The Pakistani government has released Rs.1 billion for their relief and rehabilitation, even as it has appealed for massive international aid to enable it to tide over the crisis.

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