16 Aug 2009

Pakistan officials say 18 Taliban militants killed

9:03 pm on 16 August 2009

The bullet-riddled bodies of 18 Taliban militants apparently killed by furious residents seeking revenge have been discovered in Pakistan's northwest Swat valley.

Pakistan's military claims to have cleared Swat of Islamist extremists in an offensive launched earlier this year, after militants terrorised residents with public beheadings and other violence.

Officials say the 18 militants had been apparently shot dead by residents who fear that the Taliban might return.

Pakistan says more than 1,800 militants and over 166 security personnel have been killed in the offensive since late April, but the death tolls are impossible to verify independently.