Islamabad - Pakistan's military on Monday said security forces had pushed Taliban militants out of a former ski resort in the north-west where intense fighting had forced over 2 million people to leave their homes.
Troops secured the Taliban militant stronghold of Malam Jabba in Swat valley's northern part "after stiff resistance," the army said in a statement.
Malam Jabba, which serves as a corridor from Swat to the insurgency-free neighbouring district of Mansehra, was being used as "a training centre and logistic base by (the) terrorists," the army said.
The lone international-standard ski resort was destroyed last year by loyalists of local radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who began an armed campaign two years ago to enforce sharia law in Swat.
Fierce clashes between security forces and Taliban fighters raged across the mountain region through Sunday night, killing four militants over the past 24 hours. Six soldiers were also wounded, the statement said.
Army troops also started moving towards the Kabal area, as militants were believed to be gathering there after fleeing Swat's main city Mingora, where ground troops were involved in street battles with the insurgents, the military said.
Pakistan launched a full-scale operation against the Taliban militants three weeks ago to retake vast swathes of area that was overrun by militants emboldened by a controversial peace deal.
More than 1,100 insurgents and over 60 troops had been killed in the offensive, according to the military.
The military offensive has displaced some 2.4 million people from the Swat and its adjoining districts so far, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
Some 200,000 more are still pinned down only in Swat, Wajid Ali Khan, a provincial minister Wajid Ali Khan in North-West Frontier Province, where the scenic valley is located. Many civilians are facing severe shortages of food and medical supplies.(dpa)