Article published on the 2009-07-14 Latest update 2009-07-14 15:42 TU
Internally displaced men in Swabi district push a cart with their belongings towards a bus due to take them back to the Swat valley on 14 July, 2009
(Photos: Reuters/Adrees Latif)
Fresh fighting near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan is reported to have resulted in the deaths of at least 30 Taliban fighters on Monday and Tuesday. The fighting came as the number of displaced people returning to the Swat valley surged, according to officials, while nine Taliban are reported to have been killed there.
The worst violence occurred overnight in the village of Anbar in Mohmand distract.
"According to reports received here, a lashkar [traditional tribal militia] killed 23 militants and several others were wounded," local administration official Asad Ali Khan said.
In the Khyber region, Taliban ambushed a tanker carrying fuel for Nato forces in Afghanistan and two civilians were killed, according to local officials. The attack took place near Landi Kotal, close to the main highway that links Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Also on Tuesday, Lieutenant Colonel Waseem Shahid said the pace of returns to the Swat valley and the neighbouring district of Buner was quickening, following a military offensive against the Taliban.
"Some 1,200 families returned by buses provided by the government and another 1,066 families returned by private vehicles," he said.
The government is bussing home the first of nearly two million people displaced by the conflict. Many have been reluctant to take up the offer, however, because of continuing concerns about security.
Meanwhile, Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, is to receive $45 million (32 million euros) in funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
It is the third tranche of funding released by the body and it will go towards a programme supporting improvements in the delivery of health, education, water and sanitation services in the region.
"Over 2 million more children are in school because of these investments with the enrolment rate among females in middle school rising from 43 per cent in 2003 to 53 per cent in 2005 and the share of female enrolment in government primary and middle schools increasing from 45 per cent to 50 per cent," said Linda Arthur, Social Sector Specialist at ADB's Pakistan Resident Mission.