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Government of Pakistan

(Federal/State Govt. / Local Govt./Govt. Bodies) Islamabad PAKISTAN
Power News
Pak reclaims ?khooni chowk? in Swat    

The Taliban left so many mutilated bodies at the crossing ? some hanging from trees with threatening notes ? that Pakistanis in the Swat Valley?s main town took to calling it ?bloody intersection.??

On Sunday, the army said that spot and seven other major crossings in Mingora were secured, part of street-by-street urban fighting whose success is considered critical to flushing out the militants from the valley as a whole.

The advances in Swat came as helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts in a nearby tribal region, killing over 18, while police announced the arrest of a militant commander and six other Taliban fighters elsewhere in the northwest.

The US has pushed Pakistan to use force to root out the al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents, who are often involved in attacks on US and Nato troops across the border. The operation in Swat has strong support from Washington, and retaking Mingora, the valley?s main commercial hub, could be the stiffest test for the security forces.

A military statement on Sunday said forces had encountered at least 12 roadside bombs while securing the eight intersections. Five suspected militants were killed in various parts of Mingora while 14 others were arrested, the army said.

The retaking of Green Chowk could have serious symbolic value. Residents nicknamed it ?khooni chowk?? or ?bloody intersection?? because the militants would leave their victims? bodies there ? decapitated, some killed in other brutal fashions. The dead often were left hanging from trees. Some had notes attached that accused the victims of spying and told locals not to move the bodies until specified times.

It was just one fear tactic used by Taliban fighters to exert control over the population of Mingora, which when not under army siege normally has at least 375,000 residents.

Government of Pakistan 's City : Islamabad
Government of Pakistan 's Country : PAKISTAN
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