Second Battle of Swat

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Second Battle of Swat (Operation Rah-e-Rast)
Part of the Insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Pakistan - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Swat.svg
Swat is the red colored region
Date16 May – 15 July 2009
(1 month, 4 weeks and 1 day)

Pakistani victory


Pakistan Pakistan

 Pakistan Army
 Pakistan Air Force


Al Qaeda
Commanders and leaders
Air Force Ensign of Pakistan.svg ACM Rao Suleman
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg LTG Masood Aslam
Air Force Ensign of Pakistan.svg AM Hifazat Khan
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg LTG Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg MGen. Haroon Aslam
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg MG Sajjad Ghani
Flag of the Pakistani Army.svg BRIG Muhammad Habib Ur Rehman
Maulana Fazlullah
Abu Saeed 
Misbah ud-Din 
Sultan Khan [1]
Shah Dauran  [2]
Maulana Shahid  
Qari Quraish 
Naseeb Rehman 
Muslim Khan (POW)
Sher Muhammad Qusab (POW[3]
Abu Faraj [4]
Nisar Ahmed [5]
Units involved

15,000–45,000 Regular Infantry, Frontier Corps and Airborne Forces 2,500 (approx.)
Casualties and losses
168 killed, 454 wounded[6] 2,088 killed[6][7][8]
2 million civilians displaced[9]

The Second Battle of Swat also known as Operation Rah-e-Rast, began in May 2009 and involved the Pakistan Army and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants in a fight for control of the Swat district of Pakistan. The first Battle of Swat had ended with a peace agreement, that the government had signed with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in February 2009.[10] However, by late April 2009 government troops and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan began to clash once again, and in May the government launched military operations throughout the district and elsewhere to oppose the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.[11]

Battle for Mingora City[edit]

Fighting commenced in the largest and main city of the district, Mingora, between elite Pakistani commandos and about 300 Taliban militants positioned in deserted buildings and continued until 23 May 2009, when a major Pakistani offensive retook much of the city. Amid heavy street fighting, the Pakistani Army captured large parts of the city, including several key intersections and squares.[12]

On 24 May, the Pakistani Army announced it had retaken large parts of Mingora. Major-General Athar Abbas, the Army's chief military spokesman, announced that "we want to eliminate the entire [Taliban] leadership".[13] Pakistani soldiers continued to engage the Taliban in street fighting and search buildings for Taliban fighters. Pakistani troops also retook several nearby towns previously under Taliban control.

On 30 May, the Pakistani military announced that it had regained control of all of Mingora, though small pockets of resistance still remained in the city's outskirts.[14] Fighting between Pakistani forces and Taliban militants continued in other areas. The Pakistani army claimed the death toll to be 1,200 Taliban fighters and 90 Pakistani soldiers.[15]

There were believed to be 200,000 people in Mingora as recently as a week prior to the eruption of hostilities. Following the lifting of a curfew, as of 23 May a large exodus left what was believed to be only 10,000–20,000 civilians in the town.[16]

Expansion of Operation[edit]

After retaking the town of Mingora the military moved on to Malam Jabba and Qamabr Bazar taking those towns and killing the TNSM leaders of those towns. On May 29, the Army cleared Aman Kot and the Technical Institute College on the Mingora-Kokarai road in Mingora. On the same day, the village of Peochar in the Peochar Valley, as well as the town of Bahrain in the north of Swat, had been taken by the military. Sporadic fighting went on in the rest of Swat and in the Shangla district.

Capture of Taliban Commanders[edit]

Pakistani soldier checking a militant hideout in swat

On June 4, 2009, it was reported that Sufi Muhammad, the founder of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi or TNSM, was arrested in Amandarra along with other militant leaders.[17] In the coming days there was confusion over this claim since the Taliban themselves said that Muhammad was missing. However, several days later it was confirmed that Sufi Muhammad was not captured and was in hiding, while two of his aides were captured by the Army. Those two aides, Muhammad Maulana Alam and Ameer Izzat Khan, were killed when militants attacked the prison transport they were in on June 7.

On June 6, the Taliban attacked Gul Jabba Checkpoint. This attack was repulsed, but cost the life of Captain Fiaz Ahmad Ghunian of the 72nd Punjab Regiment Pakistan Army.

On June 12, in response to a bomb explosion at a mosque that killed 38 civilians, local Pakistani militia numbering between 1,000 and 1,500 surrounded almost 300 militants.[18] The Pakistani army sent Helicopter Gunships to provide air support to militia fighting in the villages of Shatkas and Ghazi Gai, where the fiercest fighting took place. Pakistani paramilitaries also set up mortar positions on the high ground overlooking the villages. 20 homes suspected of housing Taliban fighters were destroyed. 11 Taliban militants were killed in the fighting. On June 12, the Pakistani army captured the town of Chuprial in a fierce battle. 39 Taliban fighters and 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed. On June 14, Pakistani soldiers began to clear the last pockets of resistance. On July 15, clashes throughout the Swat valley left 11 Taliban militants and 1 Pakistani soldier dead, with the heaviest fighting taking place in the town of Kabal. The refugees that had fled their homes also began to return on July 15.

Final Assault[edit]

On September 11, 2009, the Pakistan Army announced that Muslim Khan and four other senior TNSM commanders were captured near Mingora.[19][20] Maulana Fazlullah was actually hit in two air strikes, and was critically wounded and stranded for sometime in Imam Dehri without any access to medical assistance.[21]

Success of Operations[edit]

By August 22, 2009, 1.6 million of 2.2 million refugees returned home, as per UN estimates.[22] On January 11, 2010, Hayatullah Hamyo one of the TTP commanders in Swat was captured in Orangi Town in Karachi where he was keeping a low profile by working for PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd).[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Daily Express Urdu Newspaper | Latest Pakistan News | Breaking News".
  2. ^ Rezaul H Laskar, Islamabad (June 25, 2009). "Kayani Visits S Waziristan: Fazlullah's Deputy Killed in Swat". Outlook India. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "The Associated Press: Captured Pakistan Taliban commander dies in jail". Archived from the original on October 1, 2009.
  4. ^ Bill Roggio (December 5, 2009). "Captured Taliban commander killed in combat in Swat". Threat Matrix (Blog).
  5. ^ "VOA News - Pakistan Army: Taliban Commander Killed in Swat". Archived from the original on October 13, 2009.
  6. ^ a b table of casualties at end of this page. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2009-11-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Ghulam Farooq (September 2, 2009). "105 Taliban surrender, 15 killed in Swat clashes". Daily Times (Pakistan).
  8. ^ "More Pakistani Taliban surrender - TTP Swat chief with 60 militants surrender". - Pakistan News News. 2009-08-22.
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ Zahid Hussain in Islamabad (May 5, 2009). "Pakistan troops clash with Taleban as Swat Valley truce breaks down". The Times. London.
  11. ^ Isambard Wilkinson (in Islamabad) (24 May 2009). "Pakistani troops gain upper hand in key Swat town". Daily Telegraph (London).
  12. ^ "Army holds key parts of Mingora as battle for Swat valley continues". 2009-05-25. Archived from the original on 2009-06-12.
  13. ^ Hussain, Zahid (May 25, 2009). "Pakistani troops retake part of Mingora after battle with Taleban". The Times. London.
  14. ^ "Pakistan military retakes town in Swat Valley". 30 May 2009. Archived from the original on June 14, 2009.
  15. ^[dead link]
  16. ^ Pakistan army battles Taliban in Swat’s main city (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Banned NSM confirms Maulana Sufi's arrest". GEO Pakistan. June 4, 2009. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014.
  18. ^ "Pakistan Tribesmen battle Taliban". BBC. 8 June 2009.
  19. ^ "TTS spokesman Muslim Khan, 4 others captured". The Nation (Pakistan). September 11, 2009. Archived from the original on September 15, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  20. ^ Ismail Khan (12 Sep 2009). "Swat Taliban mouthpiece, top commander captured". Dawn Media Group.
  21. ^ Syed Shoaib Hasan (10 July 2009). "Swat Taliban chief 'near death'". BBC.
  22. ^ "1.6 million Pakistani refugees return home: UN". The Times of India. August 22, 2009. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012.
  23. ^ "Taliban commander nabbed from Karachi". Dawn Media Group. 11 Jan 2010.