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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani authorities on Thursday deployed paramilitary troops to a district, only 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the capital, where Taliban militants appeared to be consolidating control after this week's land-grab.
Militants locked up courthouses and seized court documents in the district of Buner, said police Superintendent Arsala Khan. However, a highly placed Buner official said the judges left voluntarily after meeting with Taliban leaders.
The takeover of Buner brings the Taliban closer to the capital, Islamabad, than it has been since the insurgency started. The Taliban commander in Buner, Mowlana Mohammed Khalil, gave a statement before Pakistani television cameras Wednesday, appearing with his face hidden behind a cloth mask. "We came here only to preach Islam," Khalil said. He added that his fighters were carrying weapons only because they were an important symbol for Muslims. The militants said they took control of the Buner district to ensure that Islamic law, or sharia, was properly imposed. The Pakistani government called the advance into the district a breach of a recently signed peace agreement