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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The government announced Monday that it would accept a system of Islamic law in the Swat valley and agreed to a truce, effectively conceding the area as a Taliban sanctuary and suspending a faltering effort by the army to crush the insurgents.
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From Pakistan, Taliban Threats Reach New York (February 17, 2009)
Times Topics: Pakistan | Shariah (Islamic Law)
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Hasbanullah Khan/Associated Press
Pakistanis in Miran Shah, near the Afghan border, on Sunday at funerals of people described as victims of a United States missile attack on a Taliban compound.
The concessions to the militants, who now control about 70 percent of the region just 100 miles from the capital, were criticized by Pakistani analysts as a capitulation by a government desperate to stop Taliban abuses and a military embarrassed at losing ground after more than a year of intermittent fighting. About 3,000 Taliban militants have kept 12,000 government troops at bay and terrorized the local population with floggings and the burning of schools.
Those regions have since become a mini-state for Qaeda and Taliban militants, who are now the focus of missile strikes by remotely piloted American aircraft. On Monday, what was thought to be a drone strike in Kurram, a separate area close to the Afghan border, killed 31 people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
Analysts are now suggesting that the drone strikes may be pushing the Taliban, and even some Qaeda elements, out of the tribal belt and into Swat, making the valley more important to the Taliban.
During two weeks of captivity in a nearby mountain range, Mr. Khan says, he was interrogated repeatedly about his wealth, property and “mission” in the United States. He was released in exchange for an $8,000 ransom. His family, threatened with death if they did not leave the region, is now hiding elsewhere in Pakistan.
“Our Swat, our paradise, is burning now,” said Mr. Khan, 55, who returned to the United States and is working at a fast-food restaurant in Albany, trying to reimburse the friends and relatives who paid his ransom.
Originally posted by 44soulslayer
Frankly if the US doesn't invade Swat I will respect them far less. Afghanistan was a valid war; and the Taliban is a scourge that must be eradicated. Gear up boys, its time to take the war on terror to its logical theatre... Iraq was nothing but a distraction.
Battle-weary residents welcomed a pro-Taliban cleric dispatched by the government Tuesday to convince militants in the former tourist haven of Swat to stop fighting in exchange for the imposition of Islamic law and suspension of military offensives there.
Moscow has correctly assessed that the announced Obama troop buildup in Afghanistan has no relevance to the stated aim of combatting the ‘Taliban’, but rather with a new attempt by the Pentagon strategists to encircle both Russia and China on Eurasia in order to retain US global military dominance. It is not waiting for a new policy from Washington. Rather Russia is acting to secure its perimeter in Central Asia through a series of calculated geopolitical moves reminiscent of the famous Great Game of more than a Century ago. The stakes in this geopolitical power game could not be higher—the issue of world war or peace in the coming decade.
With the Obama administration preparing a major military escalation across South Asia, the corrupt ruling elites perched in their palaces in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi have demonstrated their contempt for the Pakistani people. Unable, and unwilling, to solve the deep-seated structural problems facing their nation--unemployment, lack of security, rampant crime and corruption, the lack of public education, the absence of health care, free expression and the right to be left alone to live in peace--like the Musharraf clique, the Zardari administration has cut a deal with the imperialist overlords who now threaten destruction on a planetary scale. Caught between the jihadi Frankenstein and the American Draculas waiting in the wings, it is the people of South Asia who will pay a steep price as the Pentagon and their corporatist masters seek a "solution" to what Washington insiders have dubbed the "Af-Pak" problem.
Originally posted by Britguy
After so many years now in Afghanistan (longer than WWII) fighting the Taliban, can someone tell me why we are there again?