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Pakistani civilians were given a brief window on Friday to flee the ongoing fighting between government forces and Taliban militants in the country's north, according to military officials.

The Pakistan army is trying to push the Taliban away from regions within the troubled Swat Valley.

A curfew was relaxed until 2 p.m. local time Friday in Kabal, Kanju and Mingora -- in the Swat Valley -- and in Malakand Agency, which is a separate district.

The government provided an estimated 150 vehicles to evacuate people, as private cars are not allowed to enter Mingora.

The Taliban have been concentrating forces there -- digging trenches, laying mines, taking positions on rooftops, according to strategic expert Reva Bhalla of Stratfor, a firm that describes itself as a global intelligence company. Read full article »

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