ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR - The Director General ISPR, Major General Ather Abbas, has said that the Frontier Corps (FC) with the help of Pakistan Army on Tuesday evening launched a full-fledged operation to eliminate and expel militants from Buner District. In a media briefing, the Army spokesman said that the operation that may last for around one week was meant to deal with the militants who were around 450 to 500 in number. He said that the Inspector General Frontier Corps was heading the operation with the support of jet fighters of PAF and gunship helicopters of Pakistan Army Aviation besides heavy weaponry of Pakistan Army as backup support in the operation. He said that the operation in Buner had been launched after finding that the whole process of peaceful means proved to be a complete failure. Giving the background details of the operation, he said that kidnapping for ransom of civilians and forces personnel, killing of police and other law and order personnel, barring the routine activities and forcefully taking over the public and private property whereby challenging the writ of the state had become the order of the day in the area. The militants also attacked the military convoys in the area, he added. He said that on April 2 and 3, some 400 to 500 armed militants entered the area in violation of the agreement and despite repeated warnings by the local civil administration during the course, the militants did not stop their unlawful activities. General Ather said that despite all that the government showed maximum restraint and did not go for any operation with the aim of fully exposing the aims of the militants in the area, he maintained. Finally, seeing the worsening situation the government was left with no other option than to launch an operation, he said. Also various tele-conversations (intercepted and recorded earlier through intelligence means and stated to be having material veracity) between various militant commanders including that of Maulvi Fazal Ullah, were played. The tele-conversations proved that the militants had no plans to leave the area but for the sake of media coverage only a few of the militants had to move out of the place. The spokesman said that the operation in Lower Dir area, launched a couple of days ago, had been successfully accomplished where around 70 to 75 militants had been killed, while 10 FC personnel embraced martyrdom. He said no foreign militant was found in Dir operation. Answering a question he said that there was no proof available of foreign hand involvement in the ongoing militancy but there were reports that money, arms and ammunition and telecommunication systems were being provided to them. From where all these are being provided to the militants? he asked. He dispelled the impression and termed all media reports on threats from militants to the federal capital as baseless. All such reports are baseless as militants cannot reach here - its not a matter of distance that how far they (militants) are but there are many other factors - we have a foolproof system in place to check any such activity or threat, he asserted. He expressed the concern that the media did not prominently carry the news of contradiction or denial of a report given by it earlier. We had contradicted the news item according to which a senior military officer was stated to be delivering a sermon and offering prayers under the headship of a militant leader. We are a country of 170 million inhabitants and having a very big military coupled with a huge and strong system of paramilitary and police in the place - we know how we can defend our motherland. We all are here to take care of our motherland, so there is no need to worry about. Answering another question, he said that they had no clue about the banned TNSM leader Maulana Sufi Muhammad who was reported to be missing for the last couple of days. To yet another question, he said nuclear assets of the country were fully safe and guarded well and any report terming them as unsafe was a part of malicious and baseless campaign being run against the country. When his attention was drawn towards a recent statement of US General Mike Mullan, DG ISPR said, We have all confidence in our capabilities - we know our abilities and how to deal with the threats from inside and from the neighbours. AFP adds: Residents said they heard bombs exploding in Karahar and Babaji Kandao, located between the districts of Swat and Buner. Local authorities had declared an indefinite curfew before troops entered Buner, police chief Rasheed Khan said. Abbas said the military was trying to eliminate militants from Buner, a town which lies around 75 kilometres south of Swat valley. In February, the government agreed that Sharia law could be enforced in Swat, in deal with militants aimed at ending two years of rebellion. The operation follows an offensive mounted in Lower Dir Sunday, which Abbas said had now been completed. Meanwhile, along with Lower Dir where the action of Frontier Corps against the Taliban militants continued on the third consecutive day on Tuesday, the security forces also embarked on action against the militants in Buner, who destabilised the writ of the law and put at risk the lives of civilians. So far the authorities have claimed killing of 75 militants in Lower Dir operation, but details of casualties from Buner could not be ascertained. The authorities claimed the end of military action in Dir, but the operation in Buner continued. The security forces launched operation in Buner at 4:00 pm when gunship helicopters pounded the suspected hideouts of the militants in Karakar area where Taliban had established permanent check posts. Besides Karakar they also targeted some parts of Kalil Pass, Pirbaba, and Ambela area. After the shelling of gunship helicopters and pounding of the hideouts of militants, they escaped from their check posts, which they had established in mountains. The gunship helicopters were accompanied by jet fighter planes, which were continuously hovering over the area of Gokand Pirbaba, Bagra, Hisar and Dagar. After clamping of curfew, fear and panic were prevailing in the area while shelling and bombing of jet fighters heightened the worries of the people, who started shifting to comparatively safer places. On the other hand the Taliban blew up a linking bridge and police check post in Ambela area. A house owned by Ayaz Bahcha in Bajkata village of Buner was completely damaged when a mortar shell hit the same. Sources said that the security forces inflicted heavy losses on the militants and dozens of them were killed but till the filing of this report actual number of casualties could not be confirmed.