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May 11, 2009

Pakistan Claims to Have Killed 700 in Swat Fighting

True? Who knows. "Pakistan reported" is very much like "Joe Biden said."

Pakistani Air Force fighter jets pounded militant positions in the Swat Valley on Monday as the military pressed its offensive on three Taliban-held districts northwest of the capital, the interior minister said.

Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, told reporters in Islamabad that 700 militants had been killed in the last four days of intense fighting — a far higher figure than has been reported by the military. No official reason was provided for the discrepancy.

At the weekend, the military put the number of killed militants at around 140 and has reported additional militants killed since then. The Taliban have not commented on their own casualties since the start of the latest offensive, and the death toll cannot be independently verified because aid agencies and journalists are barred from the conflict areas.

Pakistan's President, by the way, repeated the increasingly-popular line that he believes Osama bin Ladin is dead.

While many believe al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is hiding in western Pakistan along the Afghanistan border, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari does not.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," he blamed the U.S. for losing track of bin Laden in Tora Bora and repeated his belief that the terrorist leader is dead.

He added he has been told by those in American intelligence no one has heard from bin Laden for seven years.

I believe that too, but Pakistan obviously has a vested interest in believing this. It takes the pressure off them.

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posted by Ace at 01:28 PM

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