Pakistan launches offensive against Taliban

Pakistani army soldiers on patrol.
The Pakistani army launched an offensive Sunday to rout out militants from the Lower Dir district that neighbors the violence-plagued northwestern Swat region.

Army Col. Attiq Ahmed told CNN of the operation, and a Taliban spokesman in the area confirmed it. Taliban spokesman Mullah Mansoor Dadullah said the militants were “resisting the army operation.” The Taliban “know who the people are who raise their voices for the operation,” Dadullah said. “We know them, they are on our hit list and we will target them.” Lower Dir is one of the districts included in the peace deal between the government and the Taliban. The deal encompasses the Malakand Division which includes the following areas: Swat, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Buner, Shangla, Chitral and Malakand. Kohistan, which is not in Malakand division, is also covered under the deal.