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Pakistan secures key Swat Valley city

  • Story Highlights
  • Pakistani military says it has taken back key Swat Valley city of Mingora
  • Army spokesman says operation is a "great accomplishment"
  • Fighting in northwestern region has displaced about 2.4 million Pakistanis
  • Pakistan raises security levels after deadly blasts in Lahore, Peshawar
From Reza Sayah
CNN
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- The Pakistani military says security forces have taken back the city of Mingora from the Taliban, calling it a significant victory in its offensive against the Taliban.

The fighting in the Swat Valley region has forced thousands of civilians to abandon their homes.

Pakistani solders escort a suspected Taliban militant inside an army base in Mingora.

Mingora is the largest city in Pakistan's Swat Valley where security forces have been fighting the Taliban in a month-long offensive.

"It is a great accomplishment," said Pakistani Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. "This is the largest city in Swat and for all practical purposes, Mingora has been secured."

Abbas said militants put up a stiff resistance, but their resistance weakened as troops moved in. Abbas told CNN pockets of militants remain just outside Mingora.

The fighting has uprooted about 2.4 million Pakistanis from their homes in the northwestern region of the country, according to the latest data from the United Nations. Of those displaced, about 10 percent -- or 240,000 -- are living in refugee camps, according to the U.N.

The announcement that the military has pushed the Taliban out of Mingora comes after days of Taliban attacks in other areas in the country.

The military issued a press release on Saturday saying that 25 militants and a soldier were killed in fighting across the region over the last 24 hours.

Pakistani authorities increased security throughout Islamabad on Friday after a string of deadly bombings in Lahore and Peshawar, and a threat by the Taliban to carry out further attacks.

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The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Wednesday's suicide attack in Lahore on a building housing police, intelligence and emergency offices. Twenty-seven people were killed.

The militant group also threatened to continue attacking cities in Pakistan until the military ends its operations against Taliban militants in the country's northwest.

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