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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 10:09 GMT
Pakistan army 'retakes key peak'
By Chris Morris
BBC News, Islamabad

A fire burns after Pakistani forces shelled a suspected militant position near Fizagat, Swat valley, 20 November
Pakistani forces have been shelling suspected militant positions
Pakistani troops say they have recaptured a strategic mountain peak from militants in fighting in and around the north-western Swat Valley.

A radio station run by the pro-Taleban fighters has also been shut down.

The fighting in Swat is the first serious insurgent threat from pro-Taleban forces in what is known as a settled area.

Until now the army has focused mainly on the largely autonomous Waziristan tribal areas along the Afghan border.

It is an alarming sign for the Pakistani authorities of how the threat from insurgents linked to the Taleban is spreading into previously peaceful regions.

'Army progress'

Hundreds of Pakistani ground troops have been fighting pro-Taleban insurgents in Swat, backed up by artillery and helicopter gunships.

Military officials say they are making progress. The highest peak in the Kabal district has now been retaken and other recent gains have been consolidated.

An FM radio station run by the local leader of the insurgency, Maulana Fazlullah, has gone off air.

The army has reported more than 200 deaths since the beginning of last week, most of them suspected militants.

But there has been no independent confirmation of those figures.

Forces loyal to Maulana Fazlullah, including some foreign fighters, have taken control of a series of small towns and villages, where they want to implement strict Islamic law.

The army was criticised for delaying action against them.

Now it has begun to act decisively, but taking territory in this mountainous region may be easier than holding it.



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