Pakistan PM Claims 700 Taliban Killed

Army has already killed 700 militants: minister
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2009 11:41 AM CDT
A child sits with his mother in a car at a refugee camp near Mardan, in northwest Pakistan, Saturday, May 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – With more than a million of its citizens fleeing violence within its borders, Pakistan's prime minister said today the army has killed more than 700 militants in the last two weeks, in an operation in which "the very existence of the country was at stake.” Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, whose government has been accused abetting Taliban insurgents, expressed confidence that they will be defeated: "No matter how strong these terrorists are, they cannot stand up to the army."

President Obama has said that Pakistan cannot receive its slated $1.5 billion in aid unless it fights to eradicate insurgents. The Taliban had been moving toward Islamabad since February, but now "militants are on the run," says Pakistan's interior minister. A recent poll found that 45% of Pakistanis approve of the government targeting insurgents, and more than two-thirds see religious extremism as a “serious problem.”