Pakistani troops and warplanes killed at least 55 Taliban militants today in what Prime Minister Raza Gilani is calling a "war of the country's survival," the AP reports. Fighting centered in the northwestern Swat Valley, where a curfew prevented residents from fleeing and the main town has only three doctors left, reports Reuters. “We are in pain," said one tearful civilian. "We are helpless and homeless."
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees continued to challenge nuclear-armed Pakistan's security, in one case looting a UN camp for supplies. About 500,000 have been displaced, and Islamabad says the Taliban use many as human shields. Mindful of rampant mistrust in the government, Gilani has directed millions of dollars to assist residents and engender government support.