Two Taliban clerics were killed in a shootout between security forces and fighters in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, the military said.
The clerics were arrested by government forces on Thursday and were being transported along with other prisoners in a military convoy to the main northwestern city of Peshawar.
"Amir Izzat Khan and Mohammad Alam were killed and one of our non-commissioned officers embraced shahadat (martyrdom)," Reuters quoted him as saying, referring to the clerics. Five soldiers were wounded, he added.
The clash took place near the town of Mardan on the main road leading to Swat valley, where security forces launched a major operation last month against Taliban.
Khan and Alam were close aides to Sufi Mohammad, a cleric who struck a peace deal with authorities in February to end violence in Swat. The pact collapsed after militants refused to lay down arms and began expanding their influence in nearby districts.
Sufi Muhammad had brokered a deal that allowed the Taliban to enforce its strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, in Malakand district, in return for its fighter laying down their arms, but the deal fell apart in April, soon after it was instated.
The military says more than 1,200 fighters and 90 soldiers have been killed since the army swung into action.
Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kayani said on Thursday his forces had snuffed out "organised resistance" in Swat and would conduct operations on a "limited scale" to destory Taliban houses, and run their leaders to ground.
Pakistani army launched a massive offensive in Swat Valley, breaking the deal between Taliban and government over a Sharia administration.
Taliban gained the right to form provincial administration, implementing Shar'ia laws in Swat districts under the deal. But Taliban fighters entered neighbouring districts, including one just 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad.
Taliban says the offensive was launched by government to please U.S. who has pressured to break it.
Taliban says Pakistani government had no respect for any pact and They kept violating every agreement and if this goes on.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2009, 16:26