ISLAMABAD - The unending battle between the security forces and local militants in the Swat valley, the most scenic northern part of NWFP, has resulted in the destruction of 136 girls' schools, through either arson or bombing, during the last one-and-a-half year. "The number of destroyed girls' schools rose to 136 on Tuesday with a latest incident of torching a school at Tahirabad, Kanju, Mingora," independent sources and some locals told TheNation. However, the official circles are talking of about 65 girls' schools destroyed in the militancy hit region. No one is ready to take the responsibility for these acts publicly but officials are alleging that militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah, the Swat commander of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, are responsible. Though they clearly refuted these allegations, the militants did admit that there might be some diehard militants who did so in reaction to the security forces attacks on their bases. After being a battlefield from the start of 2007 or by the end of 2006, the Swat Valley witnessed a complete calm for around two months when the Awami National Party-led government of North West Frontier Province and local militants inked a pact on May 21 to revive peace in the area. But the peace could not last long and ended recently when both sides, the government and Taliban, broke the peace agreement by resorting to violence all over again. The pace of destruction of these girls' schools specially picked up pace since July 24th. According to reports, Sardar Husain Babak, NWFP Minister for Education and Literacy, said Taliban groups have destroyed 65 girls' schools in the valley since the military operation began last year. Sources close to Maulana Fazullah informed TheNation that Taliban are not targeting these schools for girls as part of a policy but as the schools belong to the government, they are an easy target to hit. Another source in the valley said that the District Coordination Officer (DCO) has closed the educational institutions in the most sensitive parts of Swat including Sangota, Kabal, Charbagh and Matta till August 14. "I don't think see the schools like in the danger zone opening any time soon," he said. Fazli Maula, a local school teacher in Mingora, Swat confided that the parents had stopped sending their daughters to schools even those parts of Swat that were relatively at peace in fear of likely attacks and that even the teachers were reluctant to go to these schools. "The schools are kept open by the local administration but no there is no strictness to ensure the students' attendance in the schools," he narrated.      A spokesman for Taliban Swat, Muslim Khan told TheNation from an unknown location on telephone that the provincial and federal governments were making hue and cry over the torching of the girls' schools in Swat to get the attention of international community and donors for funding. When he was asked who are behind these attacks on educational institutions, Khan neither confirmed nor denied but questioned, "The government is crying over the issue of schools burning now but where was it when the innocent female students of Jamia Hafsa, an auxiliary of Lal Masjid were bombed with phosphorus bombs." "Even if all the schools across the country were torched down, it could not be matched with burning alive the students of Jamia Hafsa," he asserted.   He was critical of both the provincial and central governments for not keeping their word and introducing Shariat in the Malakand Division. "They are denying the very basics of this country; Pakistan came into being with the aim of having Islamic rule. We are waiting for it since 1947," he regretted. He criticized the ANP government for its failure to implement the agreement in letter and spirit. Instead of implementing the agreement, they also joined hands with other forces by shifting its policy from "non-violence to violence."