Pakistan Military Recaptures Main Town
Mingora – the biggest town in the Swat valley – is back under army control.
The Pakistani military said it had "regained" the town after over a month of intense fighting against Taliban rebels.
Speaking at a news conference, an army spokesman confirmed the news:
[Major-General Athar Abbas, Pakistan's Military Spokesman]:
"It is very good news that right now, security forces are in total control of Mingora town. The road that leads to Buner has also been cleared, along with a college on that road where the militant terrorists had reportedly assembled."
Pakistani soldiers are seen here celebrating their victory, although the military has warned there are still pockets of resistance on the outskirts of Mingora.
Some 300,000 people lived in the town until the Taliban occupied it at the start of May.
It's been cut off ever since, but the army said medical teams and food supplies were now being delivered.
Up to 2-and-a-half million people have fled their homes in North West Frontier Province since the fighting began.
Thousands are from Mingora and thousands are living in refugee camps.
The U.N. has warned the mass exodus from Swat and the neighbouring regions of Lower Dir and Buner could spell a long-term humanitarian crisis.
Recapturing Mingora – which lies just 130 kilometres northwest of Islamabad – might mean some of those that have fled could soon begin to go home.
Speculation is mounting that the army may now turn its focus to another region.
South Waziristan, on the border with Afghanistan, is the headquarters of Pakistan's Taliban leader and a base for Afghan Taliban forces.
The U.S. has long-pressed Pakistan to root out militants there.
The government says thousands of people have fled the region in recent days.