ISLAMABAD - Armed militants in Buner District are reportedly using 2,000 innocent people as human shield in view of impending clearance of Pir Baba area by security forces. In its daily situation update, the ISPR said on Monday that operation in Buner was progressing smoothly with continuous consolidation of positions in Daggar and surrounding areas. It said on Monday, security forces engaged militants hideouts in Kalpani. Reportedly, 7 militants including an important commander Afsar Hameed, were killed. One soldier embraced Shahadat and 3 others were injured. In Buner curfew will be relaxed from 11 am to 2 pm today. Against all norms of religious teachings and human ethics, militants brutally beheaded two soldiers in their captivity on Sunday in Khawazakhela. In Swat, militants high-handedness continues in gross violation of peace accord, armed militants are marching on the roads of Mangora city and other areas, threatening the lives of the innocent people of Swat and civil administration. Security forces are still exercising restraint to honour the peace agreement. In the wee hours of morning on Monday militants attacked a security forces convoy in Barrikot. Exchange of fire took place in which an officer embraced Shahadat and 2 soldiers were injured. Militants raided a security forces check post at Shangla top. One soldier embraced Shahadat. Militants burnt the house of DSP at Kumber (Maidan) and also took away household items from the house of UC Nazim at Maidan, Lower Dir. Militants kidnapped a few civilians from Kot Haya Sarai, Maidan. They demolished a vacant police check post Yakhtangi at Shangla. Militants burnt 3 civil trucks at Biladram, Chamtalai. They fired upon security forces at Maidan. Exchange of fire took place in which 3 militants were reportedly killed. Facts about conflict w Militancy emerged in Swat, an alpine beauty spot, in the 1990s when cleric Sufi Mohammad took up arms to impose Sharia law in Swat and neighbouring areas of the Malakand region. w Sufi was arrested after he returned to Pakistan having led thousands of fighters to Afghanistan in 2001 in a vain attempt to help the Taliban resist US-backed forces. w Pakistani authorities released him in 2008 in a bid to defuse another uprising, led by his son-in-law cleric Fazlullah, who has ties with other Pakistani Taliban factions and al Qaeda. w Fazlullah called his men to arms after a military assault on Lal Masjid in Islamabad in mid-2007 to put down an armed movement seeking to impose Islamic law. Fazlullah used illegal FM radio to propagate his message and became known as Mullah Radio. * The army deployed troops in Swat in October 2007 and used artillery and gunship helicopters to reassert control. But insecurity mounted after a civilian government came to power last year and tried to reach a negotiated settlement. * A peace accord fell apart in May 2008. After that hundreds, including soldiers, militants and civilians, died in battles. * Militants unleashed a reign of terror, killing and beheading politicians, singers, soldiers and opponents. They banned female education and destroyed nearly 200 girls schools. * About 1,200 people were killed since late 2007 and 250,000 to 500,000 fled, leaving the militants in virtual control. * Pakistan offered on Feb 16 to introduce Islamic law in the Swat valley and neighbouring areas in a bid to take the steam out of the insurgency. The militants announced an indefinite ceasefire after the army said it was halting operations in the region. President Asif Ali Zardari signed a regulation imposing Sharia in the area last month. * But the Taliban refused to give up their guns and pushed into Buner and another district adjacent to Swat, intent on spreading their rule. * Swat, about 130 km northwest of Islamabad, is not on the Afghan border. Nevertheless Western countries with troops in Afghanistan fear the area could turn into a bastion for militants fighting in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. * Amid mounting concern at home and abroad, security forces launched an offensive to expel militants from Buner and another district near Swat on April 26. * A Taliban spokesman said on Monday the peace pact would end unless the government halted its offensive.