THE leader of Taliban militants in Swat Valley has been critically wounded and is close to death, the BBC has learned. The information about Maulana Fazlullah confirms statements from senior government and security officials. A former village cleric, Fazlullah founded the branch of the Taliban movement which eventually took over the Swat Valley. After a recent offensive, the Army said it had almost defeated rebels in that sector of the northwest. It had been battling Taliban militants there for about two months and the government said it had regained control of the region. The information about Maulana Falzullah was gathered from interviews carried out by the BBC in his heartland in the northwest of Pakistan. Maulana Fazlullah was actually hit in two airstrikes, and is critically wounded, Wasif Ali, a resident of Mingora told the BBC during a trip to Swat. He is now stranded in Imam Dehri without any access to medical assistance and is close to death. Ali has close contacts with the militants and has been keeping a close watch on their movements in the area. He confirmed that another senior Taliban leader, Shah Duran, was also killed in an airstrike as earlier stated by the Army. Interviews with other locals corroborated claims that Maulana Fazlullah had been seriously injured. Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistans top military spokesman, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said that Maulana Fazlullah had been hurt in an airstrike. But we cannot confirm his exact condition at the moment, he said. Ali and his family stayed in Swat through the entire operation. He said the fiercest fighting took place during the first three days of the militarys assault on the urban areas. It was when they pushed the Taliban off the emerald mines, he said. The gunships were right on top of my homes when they opened fire on the militants. We hid in the bathrooms and prayed for it to end. He said many of the Taliban were killed in that onslaught, while the rest melted away. Currently, Swats urban centres are being strictly patrolled by the military. Mingora remains largely deserted as the military seeks out the remaining Taliban and arrests suspects. Armoured vehicles and heavily armed troops patrol the city streets to ensure they retain total control of an area which remains volatile. Online adds: Soon after the announcement made by the government with regard to return of internally displaced people, Chief of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Swat Chapter Maulana Fazalullah breaking his silence after many months has vowed to continue his mission for imposition of sharia. Maulana Fazalullah in a video message received by a private TV channel strongly criticised the government for launching offensive against them in Swat and vowed to continue movement for enforcement of sharia in Malakand division. He said he along with top leadership of Taliban is alive and only one commander Abu Jindal has lost his life so far. He said his mission is imposition of sharia and it would be continue till enforcement of sharia in Malakand. He asked residents of Malakand division especially Swat to chose punishment themselves if they continue to support government. Peace cannot be restored in Swat without the enforcement of sharia and jihad is necessary in this respect, he said. He also refuted the army and Government claims that the leadership of Taliban has been eliminated and he is critically injured. Fazalullah also vowed to resist security forces if Government tries to establish its writ in Swat, saying that he and the leadership of Taliban is in Mangora. It is worth mentioning that ever since the launch of operation Rah-e-Rast by the army in Swat, Fazlullah had gone into hiding.