More Trouble In Swat
The Pakistani government attempted a cease-fire with the Taliban in Swat. The government gave in to the Taliban's demands to impose Islamic law in the Swat Valley. The policy has been a disaster for women's rights. The Taliban has burned girl schools and beheaded people. Residents have fled to camps in Peshawar.
The Swat Valley Taliban's leader is Maulana Fazlullah. He started a pirate radio station in 2006. Fazlullah forbids Swat citizens from dancing and music. This was the message Fazlullah delivered to music centers.
"Close within three days – or you will be blown away".
Fazlullah forbid Swat residents from getting polo vaccinations. 160,000 children did not get vaccinations because Fazlullah claimed the vaccine causes impotency. Fazlullah's radio station started the rumor that the vaccine contained oestrogen. This was proven to be false.
"To cure a disease before its on set is not in accordance with Shariah’s laws," said Fazlullah. "I have never opposed Polio vaccination, but I say if the people are unwilling for it, they should not be forced. Keeping in mind if I say “No” to Polio Vaccination, you would not find a single child to drink a drop of it anywhere in Swat."
If Fazlullah didn't oppose polio vaccinations then why did he tell his listeners health care workers were part of "a conspiracy of the Jews and Christians to stunt the population growth of Muslims"? World Health Organisation were repeatedly assaulted and Fazlullah never once complained about their treatment. The reason is many of the attackers are part of Fazlullah militia.
In March, the Pakistani government agreed to another cease-fire with Fazlullah and his followers. Once again the cease-fire was broken. The Pakistani government continues to be in denial. Hillary Clinton said the Pakistani government was "basically abdicating to the Taliban." This is madness. The Taliban have militia elements in Buner. That places Taliban forces closer to Islamabad.
The move by Taliban-backed militants into the Buner district of northwestern Pakistan, closer than ever to Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, have prompted concerns both within the country and abroad that the nuclear-armed nation of 165 million is on the verge of inexorable collapse.
On Wednesday a local Taliban militia crossed from the Swat Valley - where a February cease-fire allowed the implementation of strict Islamic, or Shari'a, law - into the neighboring Buner district, which is just a few hours drive from Islamabad (65 miles, separated by a mountain range, as the crow flies). ((See pictures on the frontlines in the battle against the Taliban.)
Residents streaming from Buner, home to nearly a million people, told local newspapers that armed militants are patrolling the streets. Pakistani television stations aired footage of Taliban soldiers looting government offices and capturing vehicles belonging to aid organizations and development projects. The police, say residents, are nowhere to be seen. The shrine of a local Muslim saint, venerated across the country, was closed. The Taliban, which adheres to a stricter version of Islam than is practiced in most of Pakistan, hold that worship at such shrines goes against the teachings of Islam.
The Obama administration needs to figure out what to do about Pakistan's nuclear weapons. South Korea or Iran isn't the big threat. Pakistan's government is going to fall. It is only a matter of when. The idea of nukes in Fazlullah's pocession is terrifying.
Update: Lara Logan has a story on the current crisis.