Pakistan lost Swat valley to Taliban?

According to a newspaper editorial in a Pakistani newspaper, the Taliban has taken control of the SWAT valley(also known as the Switzerland of Pakistan for its natural beauty).  There has been total loss of government and Army control in the place.

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There has been no official announcement, no victory parades or televised addresses by the victorious party, no cheering crowds welcoming the liberators – but Swat, to all intents and purposes, has fallen to the Taliban. It is the announcement that all girls education in the valley will cease from January 15 that is the tipping point. All schools that teach girls have been ordered by the Taliban to close by that date or face the inevitable consequences – being blown up being the most usual of these. They have already blown up well over a hundred girls schools, principally those operated by the government, but have moved in recent weeks to blowing up private institutions as well. Female education has virtually ceased anyway, and the Taliban announcement merely puts the seal on what is a manifest reality – the government has lost the battle for Swat and the Taliban have won. They operate at will, go where they like, issue orders and proclamations that a terrified public are unable to ignore and broadcast their message of obscurantism on the radio for all to hear – and obey.

Could the government – either of Musharraf or the present rudderless, drifting Marie Celeste – have done anything to stop this? Yes, and in all likelihood they decided not to. The notion that somehow the militants are our ‘allies’ runs as a strong and deep current through elements of the army and intelligence services, the bureaucracy and the politicians themselves. There are powerful forces that provide tacit if not overt support to them, forces which would like to see the Taliban triumphant in the rest of Pakistan and not just Swat. The caliphate of Swat is becoming a reality before our eyes. Where next?

Read the full article here

Above picture source: Heartkins’ Flickr

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  • Indian Homemaker

    I had read the news about girls not being allowed to study but it just didn’t occur to me that this was the reason.

    This is so horrible, I am reading this book called Latifa (just started) where a girl describes what happened just after Taliban took over Afghanistan…
    And now this. This is exactly the hell we create when we allow religious fundamentalism to take over …

    Will read the linked article now.

  • Quirky Indian

    Things are not looking good…Obama has no clue about how the Pak Army’s taking him for a ride. They have no intention of stopping the Taliban….

    Btw, Reagan was the guy who helped creat ethe first prototype of the Taliban. 🙂

    Cheers,

    Quirky Indian

  • saritha

    What happens when taliban takes over pakistan? Maybe the day will come when pakistan doesnt feature in the world map.
    All the best pakistan

  • Liju Philip

    @IHM, liberty is the first casualty when dictators take over. So true is it with cases when religious morons take over. Its sad indeed for all the women who will be forced into a miserable life now.

    @QI, hope Obama is advised properly and he sees thru the Paki lies. A killer blow is now needed.

    @Saritha, a Pakistan with religious mullahs running amok and nuclear weapons in hand is a sure shot recipe disaster for the whole world.

    @Manpreet, well well that’s what religion does to one’s minds 😉

  • vakibs

    Indian apathy has to end

    Innocent people are being murdered in Swat. The Pakistani army is acting in cohorts with the Taliban : a targeted massacre of educated and intelligent people is occuring. The very events before their eyes remind the Pashtuns of the Babrra massacre. No one is paying attention !

    We Indians betrayed the Pashtuns during the partition, we cannot afford to do it again.

    Letter from Swat :

    by Zubair Torwali

    The main town of Swat, Mingora, has now virtually fallen to the militants. The police are escorted by army officials and come out from their ‘hide-outs’ only for a couple of hours. One of the busiest squares, Grain chowk, was renamed by the shopkeepers as ‘Khooni chowk’ because when they come to their shops in the morning on each day they find four or five dead bodies hung over the poles or the trees. They see dead bodies scattered along the foot path in the morning. The bodies are usually headless. The practice goes thus with an average of four deaths daily in the square. Similarly on each morning there are found bodies with their throats slit in Qambar, Kabal, Matta, Khawza Khela and Charbagh. This practice has been going on for weeks; and unfortunately does not seem to stop.

    Jan 15 is the deadline set by the militants to close all schools, especially those of girls. As the deadline approaches people are getting more and more terrified. The government’s writ is all but absent. Nazims have been killed, women are not allowed to visit bazaars (which are deserted), NGOs have stopped working and children play a ‘Fauji Taliban’ game. The people live a miserable life in the cold. Most bridges have been damaged and beyond the main town phones have been dead for months. Most people live in darkness at night because the fighting has badly affected the power infrastructure as well.

    Curfew is imposed constraining the people inside for days on end. And security forces personnel sometimes fire indiscriminately. The residents can do nothing – they cannot protest against the high-handedness of the military or stand up to the militants. The Taliban gain from strength to strength, partly aided by the use of FM radio. Various checkposts set up by the security forces seem to be no little use. Scores of militants entered Kalam last week in spite of six checkposts set up from from Bagh Dahri to Bahrain. It is quite clear that for now the victors in the war are the Taliban – and the losers the people of Swat.

    But who cares about that in the rest of the country. The government seems too busy dealing with the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage. That said, the predicament of the people of Swat is worse than even of the people of Gaza. In Gaza the enemy is well known but in Swat the people know not who the enemy is and whom to hold responsible.

    The civil society of any country is regarded as a great force to mobilize the general public against the violation of civil rights and liberty. It is considered as a bulwark against the violation of human rights. It is deemed as the upholder of people’s rights where the state fails to deliver. Its mettle was tested in the lawyers’ movement but we in Swat wonder why it is silent now? We hear no voice raise against the atrocities committed in Swat. No civil society organization has its voice against the plight of the women and children in Swat. We have not seen a single demonstration in the big cities against the monster of militancy in Swat, or in FATA for that matter. The media also seems apathetic about the plight. The print media does well to some extent but their scope is limited.

    The people of Swat ask you to come out on their behalf and mobilize the general public against the war tearing the valley. We implore you to come out of your drawing rooms and stage protests so that the government does something about our plight.

  • The main question regarding swat is that what is pak army doing there?. This is not true that they "cannot" whip out taliban but they are not doing this. They are just killing the civilians.they are making every effort to make the lives of swati

    The main question regarding swat is that what is pak army doing there?. This is not true that they “cannot” whip out taliban but they are not doing this. They are just killing the civilians.they are making every effort to make the lives of swatis full of troubles and the poor people of swat can do nothing,they cant even protest because when somebody tries to protest, he is paid for his life. Female education has stopped. Main roads are closed,bridges have been destroyed. Chldren have not taken polio vaccines for an year and a half.hospitals and schools are closed. Doctors have shifted out of swat and several of the pregnant mothers deliver their babies on the roadside.when a mortar shell hits a house,those who die are buried but people are cofused where to let the wounded people.
    On the other hand taliban have forced the people to keep their lips tight. I myself am fearing that what i m writing will go to taliban.
    There are too much problems for the people of swat,if i write them it will take about a whole day. 80% of these problems are created by the army. And none of our leaders have courage,even to visit swat and hear the cries of its inocent people. The valley which was known for its scenic beauty and hopitality is now saying farewell to its inhabitants. The valley which was known as the switezerland of pakistan and “a paradise on earth” is now converted into “a hell on the earth”.There is no helper for these people except the almighty.I dont know what is the fault made by the people of swat.
    I request you,please help the people of swat.

  • Alamanach

    The situation in Swat baffles me. The people there are dead set against the Taliban, and so theoretically that should make it easy to chase the Taliban out of there. That the Taliban are not being chased out, but in fact are growing in strength, suggests that the army and police aren’t making any effort against them.

    I can understand why the government of Pakistan would turn a blind eye to the Taliban along their border with Afghanistan; Pakistan desires an unstable Afghanistan, thinking that this will be to their advantage. But why let the Taliban any further into their country? By giving the Taliban a foothold in Swat, the government of Pakistan undercuts its own viability. I’m not understanding this.

  • Rizwan

    The situation in Swat is indeed deteriorating by every passing day. All of this seems too difficult to imagine for someone like me sitting in southern most part of the country; Karachi. To my understanding the reason why Swat has become a prime target for the Taliban(Religious Bigots) is the support which they enjoyed in previous years, during the American invasion. It seems like that not all the residents of the Swat valley are upset with the change of events, in fact Militant forces enjoy a level of support and cooperation from the local inhabitants, primarily because of the uneducated majority living in these lands. Secondly because of the support that was initially provided by people of the area to the run-away militants pouring into Pakistan from across the border in result of the American invasion. Its difficult to comprehend the command and control structure and battle effectiveness of the militants against Pakistan army. Gaining more and more ground everyday against the a regular army is enough of a proof that these militants are certainly not on their own. They do enjoy shelter, support and coordination through the locals supporting them. I feel extremely sad for the people for swat for the difficulties and the brutalities of this on going tug of war. Some said right, prevention is better than cure. We should have prevented this menace from coming into our lands in the first place. Pakistan in whole and Swat in particular is paying the price for the mistakes of our leaders whom senselessly equipped and trained these nomads in the name of Islam to counter Russia in the first place and abandoned them later to rot. As time elapsed these nomads became their own leaders and now have come back as bigger threat than what they were created to destroy. I have firm believe that this kind of advancement in settled areas of Pakistan is not possible unless our own religiously deviated population has supported this menace to prosper and establish itself. Doing whatever they want in the name of Shariah and in the name of God, these people represent nothing and no one expect barbarism, and savagery.

  • rangnath

    sitting here in sangamner,maharashtra,india,i do fully understand Rizwan’s concerns.what ever is happening in swat genuinely painful and calls for concern of all those who care for human rights and civil society.with whatever feeble democracy at hand,the people of pakistan must come together to raise a voice against the autrocities in swat.otherwise this virus will certainly spread in remaining parts of pakistan.india , too, should not remain a blind spectator to this.we , the people of india should, in some way or other,should work hand in hand with peace loving people in pakistan.we ,after all, are brothers,have common cultural heritage.