PESHAWAR - In a bid to check the growing tendency of what the authorities call 'criminal aptitude nurturing phenomenon' in suburbs of Peshawar, the Frontier Corps early Saturday morning launched an operation in Bara region of Khyber Agency. "Only hideouts and dens of the criminals are targeted in the limited operation," Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj General Muh-ammad Alam Khattak remarked while briefing media about the operation at Balahisar Fort in the afternoon. Flanked by Habib Ullah Khan, Secretary of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the Frontier Corps Chief said that operation is being launched in accordance with the directives and policies of the civilian government. So far one person has been killed during the operation and the security forces have demolished the offices and bases of the alleged Taliban supporting organisation Lashkar-i-Islam. Besides, the security forces also demolished the house of Mangal Bagh, chief of Lashkar-i-Islam in Sepah area and also took over the Gandaw Checkpost captured by activists of Lashkar-i-Islam from the traditional Khasadar forces a couple of weeks back. Before launching the operation, the security forces declared curfew in the targeted areas and the tribesmen were directed to remain inside their homes. Almost all the bazaars and markets had been closed. Deployment of the Frontier Corps contingents was in progress since Friday all over the Bara area. Also, heavy contingents of Police and Frontier Constabulary were deployed on the borders between Peshawar and Khyber Agency. Despite frequent queries, the Inspector General of Frontier Corps was reluctant to declare that the operation was focused either on Lashkar-i-Islam or his rival groups like Lashkar-i-Ansar headed by Haji Mehboob and Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anel Munkar (Voice and Virtue) headed by Haji Namdar. "It is not targeted against any individual or any group," was the simple reply of Inspector General, adding, "It is against the criminal phenomenon in suburbs of Peshawar." The Inspector General of Frontier Corps went on to say, "We are going to check the criminals. We are going to strengthen the political administration and ensure writ of the law in the area. Whoever comes to resist will be crushed during the operation." Without mentioning any name, he said, "Recently a situation had developed wherein certain elements had indulged in criminal acts in and around Peshawar, therefore, the security forces in accordance with the directives and policies of the civilian government initiated the operation. Maj Gen Muhammad Alam Khattak has termed it a combined operation, and Police Force and Frontier Constabulary were deployed on the borders between Peshawar and Khyber Agency. He said that it is a limited operation, which is likely to continue for four or five days. The security forces, he said, were making efforts to achieve the objectives with the minimum collateral damages and losses. So far he said that one prison cell and several bases of the criminals have been demolished with the help of explosives and bulldozers by the security forces during the operation. "We have nothing to do with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan," was his reply when his attention was drawn towards the statement of Baitullah Mehsud regarding "termination of dialogues with the government as a mark of protest over the operation in Bara, Khyber Agency." He made it clear that only those will be targeted who are bent upon resisting or challenging the writ of the law. "Subsequent phases," was Maj-Gen Alam Khattak's reply when he was questioned as to whether Mangal Bagh will be arrested or not if he continued his resistance. He, however, didn't mention the name of Mangal Bagh or his organisation in his half an hour chat with the media. "There is not any threat to Peshawar," he remarked when his attention was drawn towards the media reports and claims of certain elements. In fact, he recalled, the existing situation is not new but it is going on for the last 15 years and its reversion would take some time. He, however, said that multi-dimensional efforts are underway in this respect, which according to him could yield positive and fruitful results. Agencies adds: Troops bombarded suspected militant hideouts with mortar shells for a clean-up operation in Khyber district outside Peshawar, officials said. Soldiers killed one militant who fired at a paramilitary Frontier Corps patrol and demolished a house belonging to the leader of Taliban movement which has effectively taken control of the Khyber tribal district. Television footage showed tanks and camouflaged armoured personnel carriers rumbling into the area, while officials said troops had fired several mortar rounds at militant hideouts. "The security forces have demolished our commander's house and our main centre but we have decided not to fight them. We are not Taliban," Commander Wahid, a spokesman for Bagh's rebel group, Lashkar-eIslam, told AFP By Saturday afternoon, the paramilitary Frontier Corps began shelling suspected militant hideouts in the mountains in Khyber, said local official Muhammad Siddiq Khan. Witnesses said troops were patrolling the street in the volatile Khyber district that has been in the virtual control of militants loyal to local militant leader Mangal Bagh. The troop mobilisation followed a series of attacks on police and local tribesmen by the militants vowing to establish Taliban-style rule in the area. "We have moved paramilitary troops to clear the area of militants and establish the control of the government," a senior security official told AFP. Khyber was one of several areas where militants have tried to impose their authority in defiance of government warnings, although officials said Bagh's group was tied to the Taliban more by ideology than any military alliance. A statement issued by the administration of the tribal areas said the operation was launched to control "deteriorating law and order situation" and was "against law breakers." "There was no resistance from any organisation or violators of law," the statement issued in Peshawar said. There had been no loss of life so far in the ongoing efforts to establish government control in the district, the statement said. A security official said the operation was focused on Bara town, around 5 kilometres west of Peshawar, and a resident said paramilitary troops had fired at least three mortar rounds into the surrounding hills. "The Frontier Corps has destroyed eight bases of the miscreants in Bara," the official said, adding that he had no reports of casualties so far. Security experts said the appearance of the Taliban in Peshawar, just two hours drive west of the capital Islamabad, reflected the military and political failure to halt the militants tide rolling in from tribal areas that have become strongholds for the Taliban and al Qaeda. Fasih Ullah, a police officer in Khyber, said 700 Frontier Corps troops moved in late Friday for the operation. A round-the-clock curfew was imposed in the Bara area bordering Peshawar and paramilitary soldiers set up bunkers in Hayatabad. Heavy contingents of troops blocked the main road into Khyber, said Mujeeb Khan, a senior local official. "All bazaars are shut and residents have been asked not to come out of their homes," he said. Tauseef Haider, a top official with the Frontier Constabulary, said his forces had brought in reinforcements and heavy weapons to protect Peshawar and its more than 1 million residents from insurgents who might try a counterattack. "Since the operation is going on in the tribal area, that is why we have to be extra cautious," he said from the constabulary's brick outpost in Shahkas, on the edge of the tribal area just outside of Peshawar. "We have increased our strength we will not let any militant come this way." Across from the outpost was an expanse of flatland covered in bushes and foliage in front of undulating hills that turned into mountains. In a sign of expected resistance, a Taliban-linked group said an offensive in the area will only create more problems. "If the government thinks there is any issue to address, that should be resolved through talks, not by the use of force," said Munsif Khan, spokesman for the Vice and Virtue Movement. "We are ready for talks with the government." Mahmood Shah, a former security chief in tribal regions, said the Taliban control the country's entire tribal belt and "everyone now is waiting for some action from the federal government." "The situation is such that (the Taliban) are all around Peshawar. They are on our doorstep," Shah said. "The situation is like water flowing into a field and until you have some obstruction to stop it you will drown. We are drowning." Afrasiab Khattak, chief negotiator for the provincial government, said that the province is considering a second military operation in Swat, where militants forced out by an army offensive last year are now regaining a foothold.