Jump to content

Taliban Burning, Beheading Its Way Through Pakistani Valley


Statick
 Share

Recommended Posts

Taliban Burning, Beheading Its Way Through Pakistani Valley

Monday, December 29, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Taliban militants are beheading and burning their way through Pakistan's picturesque Swat Valley, and residents say the insurgents now control most of the mountainous region outside the lawless tribal areas where jihadists thrive.

The deteriorating situation in the former tourist haven comes despite an army offensive that began in 2007 and an attempted peace deal. It is especially worrisome to Pakistani officials because the valley lies away from the areas where Al Qaeda and Taliban militants have traditionally operated and where the military is staging a separate offensive.

"You can't imagine how bad it is," said Muzaffar ul-Mulk, a federal lawmaker whose home in Swat was attacked by bomb-toting assailants in mid-December, weeks after he left. "It's worse day by day."

The Taliban activity in northwest Pakistan also comes as the country shifts forces east to the Indian border because of tensions over last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, potentially giving insurgents more space to maneuver along the Afghan frontier.

Militants began preying on Swat's lush mountain ranges about two years ago, and it is now too dangerous for foreign and Pakistani journalists to visit. Interviews with residents, lawmakers and officials who have fled the region paint a dire picture.

A suicide blast killed 40 people Sunday at a polling station in Buner, an area bordering Swat that had been relatively peaceful. The attack underscored fears that even so-called "settled" regions presumptively under government control are increasingly unsafe.

The 3,500-square-mile Swat Valley lies less than 100 miles from the capital, Islamabad.

A senior government official said he feared there could be a spillover effect if the government lost control of Swat and allowed the insurgency to infect other areas. Like nearly everyone interviewed, the official requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by militants.

Officials estimate that up to a third of Swat's 1.5 million people have left the area. Salah-ud-Din, who oversees relief efforts in Swat for the International Committee of the Red Cross, estimated that 80 percent of the valley is now under Taliban control.

Swat's militants are led by Maulana Fazlullah, a cleric who rose to prominence through radio broadcasts demanding the imposition of a harsh brand of Islamic law. His appeal tapped into widespread frustration with the area's inefficient judicial system.

Most of the insurgents are easy to spot with long hair, beards, rifles, camouflage vests and running shoes. They number at most 2,000, according to people who were interviewed.

In some places, just a handful of insurgents can control a village. They rule by fear: beheading government sympathizers, blowing up bridges and demanding women wear all-encompassing burqas.

They have also set up a parallel administration with courts, taxes, patrols and checkpoints, according to lawmakers and officials. And they are suspected of burning scores of girls' schools.

In mid-December, Taliban fighters killed a young member of a Sufi-influenced Muslim group who had tried to raise a militia against them. The militants later dug up Pir Samiullah's corpse and hung it for two days in a village square — partly to prove to his followers that he was not a superhuman saint, a security official said on condition of anonymity. :blink:

A lawmaker and the senior Swat government official said business and landowners had been told to give two-thirds of their income to the militants. Some local media reported last week that the militants have pronounced a ban on female education effective in mid-January.

Several people interviewed said the regional government made a mistake in May when it struck a peace deal with the militants. The agreement fell apart within two months but let the insurgents regroup.

The Swat insurgency also includes Afghan and other fighters from outside the valley, security officials said.

Any movement of Pakistani troops from the Swat Valley and tribal areas to the Indian border will concern the United States and other Western countries, which want Pakistan to focus on the al-Qaida threat near Afghanistan.

On Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials said thousands of troops were being shifted toward the border with India, which blames Pakistani militants for terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month that killed 164 people. But there has been no sign yet of a major buildup near India.

"The terrorists' aim in Mumbai was precisely this — to get the Pakistani army to withdraw from the western border and mount operations on the east," said Ahmed Rashid, a journalist and author who has written extensively about militancy in the region.

"The terrorists are not going to be sitting still. They are not going to be adhering to any sort of cease-fire while the army takes on the Indian threat. They are going to occupy the vacuum the army will create."

Residents and officials from the Swat Valley were critical of the army offensive there, saying troops appeared to be confined to their posts and often killed civilians when firing artillery at suspected militant targets.

The military has deployed some 100,000 troops through the northwest.

A government official familiar with security issues estimated that some 10,000 paramilitary and army troops had killed 300 to 400 militants in Swat since 2007, while about 130 troops were killed. Authorities have not released details of civilian casualties, and it was unclear if they were even being tallied.

The official, who insisted on anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, disputed assertions that militants had overrun the valley, but said a spotty supply line was hampering operations. He said the army had to man some Swat police stations because the police force there had been decimated by desertions and militant killings.

A Swat militant boasted that "we are doing our activities wherever we want, and the army is confined to their living places."

"They cannot move independently like us," said the man, who was reached over the phone and gave his name as Muzaffarul Haq. He claimed the Swat militants had no Al Qaeda or foreign connections, but that they supported all groups that shared the goal of imposing Islamic law.

"With the grace of Allah, there is no dearth of funds, weapons or rations," he said. "Our women are providing cooked food for those who are struggling in Allah's path. Our children are getting prepared for jihad."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The result would have been you posting the same sentence replacing the word "Afghanistan" with IRAQ.

:P

nahh. I agreed with the Afghanistan war from the start.And I think the world would be much safer WITH Saddam and WITHOUT Bin Laden.

I think had they concentrated on that war, and cut Bin Laden off from Pakistan and just been relentless against them there we would all be better for it. ;) And I would not oppose going into Pakistan if we know Bin Laden is there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

nahh. I agreed with the Afghanistan war from the start.And I think the world would be much safer WITH Saddam and WITHOUT Bin Laden.

I think had they concentrated on that war, and cut Bin Laden off from Pakistan and just been relentless against them there we would all be better for it. ;) And I would not oppose going into Pakistan if we know Bin Laden is there.

From the news I'm hearing from some of the SF guys, the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan is liken to a shooting gallery. The insurgents come over at night (thinking our soldiers can't see them) from Pakistan. The daily body count is ridiculous.

And I think most of the guys fighting voluntarily are flying in from all over just to fight us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Just imagine if the war efforts had been concentrated on Afghanistan from the start. Ya know, where the Taliban and Al Queda mostly were?

Our government could have had Bin Laden if they would have wanted him, and I'm sure if they were concerned of the welfare of Afghanistan, there could have been some things done there, too. The real problem is that our government has propagated and is fighting a false war... a false war with no real end.

Of course America funded these guys and trained them, too. Now they are of no use to "us" so we can expose them. Man, I just shake my head. Don't get me wrong, though, what these people do is not acceptable, but they aren't the only ones to blame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with that. But it sure would be nice for the REAL Islamic leaders to come out fully against them and say they will not be tolerated, they will be given no shelter and call them infidels.

And that's the real problem. It's sort of like the rebel flag. It used to stand for ‘Southern Pride’, until the racist rednecks hijacked it and made it their own. Not sure what Southerners are doing now for pride, but they certainly aren't clinging to the flag.

Maybe it's time for Islam to distance itself from the radicals instead of keeping quiet and harboring them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most Islam leaders already condemn these acts. The meda just chooses to focus on the extremes groups

Maybe its because they kill innocents? And they kill innocents because they know it will bring them the media attention they seek? I have yet to see any Islamic leaders publicly condemn these acts using the worldwide public media.

I'm just saying...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe its because they kill innocents? And they kill innocents because they know it will bring them the media attention they seek? I have yet to see any Islamic leaders publicly condemn these acts using the worldwide public media.

I'm just saying...

Maybe if our imams killed some innocent people the media would pay attention to them condeming the terrorism attacks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corruption in Pakistan is rampant. Pakistan has been a nation that has harbored terrorists all along, this time however there is a "world" focus on it because its the al quaeda now. Before it was the lashkar e taiybba and other such groups that attacked Indian soil, but who would care about that right? America aids Pakistan but does anyone know where that aid goes? I bet very little of it goes to the Pakistani people and more to the terrorist groups that are run within the nation. Pakistan doesn't have the balls to stand up and defend its own people, when will the world realize that Pakistan is also a international pariah?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bush thought the big prize for Al Qaeda was Iraq he was wrong it is Pakistan that already has 50 nuclear weapons. He is building an army that may eventually run this country. Bush took his eye off Osama and no doubt this could be Bush's ultimate failure. Bush said he didn't think a lot about Osama this may be the dumbest thing he ever said. Pakistan was always our biggest nightmare scenario and still is hopefully Obama will fix what Bush left him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most Islam leaders already condemn these acts. The meda just chooses to focus on the extremes groups

So Palestinians and Muslims in general HAVE been protesting Hamas raining rockets onto Israeli civilians on a daily basis for years and then taking refuge in their towns and homes and the media is just not reporting it....good to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...