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Pakistan: Has Swat fallen to Taliban?

December 27, 2008 20:53 IST

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Speculations are rife in the Pakistani media that 'Pakistan's Switzerland' [Images] -- Swat, the principal city in the troubled Waziristan region has fallen to Taliban [Images].

"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," Pakistan's newspaper 'The News' said in an editorial 'The Fall of Swat'.

"It is the announcement that all girls education in the valley will cease from January 15. 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," the editorial added.

"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," it added.

The editorial further claimed that Taliban "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."

"They operate at will, go where they like, issue orders a terrified public are unable to ignore and broadcast their message of obscurantism on the radio for all to obey."

The ANP government of NWFP has called for assistance. but little seems to be forthcoming. Refugees stream out of the valley, the operators of private schools have left.

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 "militants" are our "allies" runs as deep current through elements of the army and intelligence services, the bureaucracy and the politicians themselves.

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