Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jason Ditz, "Taliban seize city: Up to 500,000 flee,", May 5, 2009.

The Swat district in Pakistan. Map from BBC.

The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has reportedly wrested control of the Swat Valley’s largest town, Mingora, from the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and Pakistani security forces. The move comes just one day after the group announced that it was formally withdrawing from the controversial Swat Valley peace deal in response to ongoing military offensives in and around the valley.

With the truce apparently in ruins civilians are leaving the region, once a popular tourist destination, in droves and as many as 500,000 have reportedly already left their homes. Reports of indiscriminate shelling by the military and use of human shields by the militants are rampant, and the once sleepy valley is now one of the deadliest warzones on the planet.

  It seems the government forgot that the initial reasoning behind the concessions it made in the Swat Valley deal was that it had tried, unsuccessfully, to defeat the militants militarily.

Read the rest, with links, here =>

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