Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Monday, 1 June 2009 14:01 UK

Swat diary: 'We fled our village'

 A house destroyed by fighting in Mingora
Fighting between the army and the Taliban has caused destruction in Swat

Munir (not his real name), an administrator in the Swat region of Pakistan, describes fierce battles as the army wrests control of his valley from the Taliban. He and his family fled their village near Mingora in early May, and have since left Swat altogether.

This time the Pakistani army means business, their operation against the Taliban militants is real. The army imposed a curfew in Swat on 4 May and army helicopters shelled our village for the next two days. One shell landed just 20 yards [metres] away from us.

In my village they killed eight militants. My brother and nephew saw the bodies. Many innocent people in the area have also been killed, but the majority of dead are militants.

Taliban militants from our village started arriving in Kabal too. I noticed a local commander had trimmed his beard. I saw fear on his face!

When the fighting began, the army took control of the roads, so the militants were moving about using fields and rivers.

It has all been so violent. Friends in a nearby village saw the bloody remains of a house where Taliban militants had been preparing a bomb. It blew up, killing everyone in the room.


There is no one left in my village, they all fled on 6 May. We left the next day for the nearby village of Kabal.

We stayed there for three weeks. There was no electricity, not much gas, and little food, but it was relatively safe. More than 200 extra people had gathered there.

A few days later, some Taliban militants from our village started arriving in Kabal too. Some of them had shaved their beards off! I recognised one of the local Taliban commanders who had trimmed his beard. I saw fear on his face!

When we got the chance to leave Kabal, we did. We left last Tuesday. It was risky because we heard the army was firing on vehicles driving during the curfew.

We later heard that a few hours after we left, the army started shelling Kabal. A brother-in-law and nephew of mine who stayed behind were seriously wounded and they are now in hospital in Peshawar.

We drove over mountains to leave Swat valley and we are now staying with relatives on the outskirts of Mardan - all 11 of us.

We have postponed my wedding, I don't think it can happen this year. Right now we are just looking for a house to live in.

We are all missing our home in Swat very much, especially my parents.

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