Pakistani government inks peace deal with Swat Taliban


Mullah Fazlullah. Click image to view the slideshow of the Taliban Leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government has signed another peace agreement with the Taliban in the Northwest Frontier province. After striking a deal with a banned radical Taliban outfit in the Bajaur region, a peace agreement has been signed with Mullah Fazlullah's Taliban faction in the settled districts of Swat and Malakand.

The peace deal in Swat and Malakand comes after several rounds of negotiations. A 15-point agreement was signed with representatives of the Northwest Frontier Province and representatives of Fazlullah's Taliban. The major points of the agreement are as follows:

• Sharia law would be imposed in the Swat and Malakand districts;
• The Pakistani Army will gradually withdraw security forces from the region;
• The government and the Taliban would exchange prisoners;
• The Taliban would recognize the writ of the government and cooperate with security forces;
• The Taliban would halt attacks on barber and music shops;
• The Taliban cannot display weapons in public;
• The Taliban would turn in heavy weapons (rockets, mortars);
• The Taliban cannot operate training camps;
• The Taliban would denounce suicide attacks;
• A ban would be placed on raising private militias;
• The Taliban will cooperate with the government to vaccinate children against diseases like polio;
• Fazlullah's madrassa, the Imam Dherai, would be turned into an Islamic university;
• Only licensed FM radio stations would be allowed to operate in the region;
• The Taliban would allow women to "perform their duties at the work place without any fear."

Just yesterday, the government denied that security forces would be withdrawn from Swat and other Taliban hotspots such as South Waziristan.

Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is de facto control; yellow is under threat.

The Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with Fazlullah in May 2007 with similar terms. The terms of the nine-point peace deal signed in 2007 required Fazlullah to support the polio vaccination campaign and education for girls, as well as government efforts to establish law and order. He also agreed to shut down training facilities for terrorists, stop manufacturing weapons, and support the district administration in any operation against anti-state elements. Fazlullah's followers were also to stop carrying weapons in the open. In return, Fazlullah was permitted to continue broadcasting his illegal FM radio programs and the government dropped criminal cases lodged against him.

The Taliban promptly disobeyed the terms of the deal, and began to overrun police stations and enforce sharia law in the district. The Taliban used the government's siege and assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, as their reason to violate the peace agreement. But Fazlullah and his fighters began violating the agreement long before the Red Mosque incident.

Fazlullah's forces overran much of Swat and neighboring Shangla. The government launched an operation to dislodge the Taliban from Swat in November and vowed to oust them by December. But the military has fought a grinding campaign that has failed to defeat the Taliban. The Pakistani security forces operating in the small district lost 195 soldiers, policemen, and Frontier Constabulary paramilitaries during a year of fighting.

Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the leader of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM - the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law). He had close links with the administration of the Lal Masjid. Fazlullah has successfully organized anti-polio and anti-girls schools campaigns throughout the region. The Swat region has been a safe haven and training ground for the Pakistani Taliban.

The TNSM is known as the "Pakistani Taliban" and is the group behind the ideological inspiration for the Afghan Taliban. The TNSM sent over 10,000 fighters into Afghanistan to fight US forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001. Faqir Mohammed, a senior leader of the TNSM in neighboring Bajaur agency who is wanted by the Pakistani government, kicked off a suicide campaign after the air strike on the Chingai madrassa in October 2006.

The Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with the TNSM on April 21. The government freed Sufi Mohammed. The government is also close to signing a peace deal with Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban behind a brutal suicide and conventional military campaign in the tribal areas and in greater Pakistan.

The terms of Swat and TNSM peace deals and the proposed South Waziristan agreement are similar. None of the agreements calls for the Taliban to halt cross border attacks inside Afghanistan.


READER COMMENTS: "Pakistani government inks peace deal with Swat Taliban"

Posted by Dan R. at May 21, 2008 6:51 PM ET:

Peace deal with the Taliban? Yeah, right. What's the over/under on how long this one lasts?

Posted by Alex at May 21, 2008 8:17 PM ET:

What needs to be done here, short of a US incursion into the border provinces?

Can the Pakistani military be rehabilitated now with civilian political leadership? Is it loyalty problems? Lack of firepower? Lack of political will?

Posted by KW64 at May 21, 2008 10:14 PM ET:

It seems remarkable that Benizir Bhutto's widower would be so anxious to sign agreements with Baitullah Mehsud who is generally believed to have murdered his wife. It makes one wonder whether he is he making these decisions as head of the PPP or not? Now that Nowaz Sharif has left the coalition, it cannot be Sharif's decision. Hard to fathom.

Maybe there is some "give them enough rope and they will hang themselves" philosphy behind the government's actions; but right now it looks like a play for short term political expediency.

Posted by KnightHawk at May 22, 2008 5:07 AM ET:

DanR put me down for 10-14 days. ;)

Posted by Batman at May 22, 2008 10:00 AM ET:

Ouch, first Lebanon is surrendered to Hezbollah, and now this? Not a good week for the Long War.

Posted by Caleb at May 22, 2008 10:27 AM ET:

Pakistan is collapsing like a house of cards in a tornado. I hope that Musharriff has a good excape plan for himself and his extended family. That short little poopcicle in Iran will have his nuke bomb very shortly now. He will just buy one from the Pakistani Taliban, they will have control of them soon. I hope the PPP has enjoyed their time at the controls. When the Taliban come in the door, the other political parties and groups are shown the door and told to get out. We will see how many politicians like Benazir Bhutto are allowed to contest elections under the Taliban. I only hope that we are ready to ramp up our defensive cross border air attacks, and even some occasional hot pursuit raids and then tell the Pakistani government to sit down and shut up. I also hope that I am being entirely too pessimistic and that everything will come out just fine. I hope that, but I don't expect that. Bill, and guys, I would love to see some more in depth columns on what the developments in Pakistan are going to mean in Afganistan, since you guys have the knowledge and expertise and I just have suppositions and concerns. Thanks for what you do.

Posted by David M at May 22, 2008 2:18 PM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 05/22/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

Posted by Turner at May 22, 2008 11:05 PM ET:

This reminds me of a story I read from the diary of a woman who was held as a slave of an American Indian tribe in the 1800's. The American government was making monthly payments to some Indians in exchange for peace and to assist them with development. Manytimes the Indians receiving cash would meet up with the tribes attacking the settlers and compare notes.

While we thought we were paying for peace, they thought we were paying because of war ... which we were. Sometimes the Indians receiving stipends would share their bounty with the attacking Indians, because the attacking Indians kept the gravy train rolling. While it didn't seem like much too us, any hard currency was compelling to chiefs of the tribes. The billions the west pours into the warlords and warring clans in Gaza and the West bank are probably seen the same way: "We'll keep fighting because that's what makes you pay."

The Pakistanis probably have a touch of this too. As long as the conflict ebbs and flows the cash keeps flowing in and they capture the attention of the world.

Someday this will change. Maybe Afghanis will get sick of it and fight back. Maybe the terrorists will succeed in a strike and the world will have no problem with them being taken out for good. Till then it remains a waiting game. Til then we should keep the payments small, because in the end some of it cycles back to the terrorists anyway. If the Taliban take over that only makes it easier to do something.

Posted by captainjohann at May 31, 2008 1:56 AM ET:

The deal very clearly DOESNOT talk about croos border attacks against Afghanistan or India. They have already statred their atttacks inside india with jaipur the first major strike along with LOC violations. Pakistan territory will serve for Training, rest and recuperation for atacks against afghanistan and India.

Posted by Miss Syeda Zoeya Naqvi at April 27, 2009 1:04 PM ET:

It is highly unislamic to blot out the peace of any nation or country by forcing them to adopt those customs and way of life that do not have any religious proof or background.Its not only a religious extremisim but a sheer ignorance and beasthood! We are humans not beasts. The Taliban's extra strict and cruel, fighting and peace-blotting policies that do not fall in any Islamic search,human rights and modernism is likely to turn our Muslim places into jungles but infact worst than the jungles! Jungles have laws but such fake and useless so-called martyrs of the Taliban who do suicide bombing and kill themselves only to kill the countless innocent humans actually murder the whole humanity! They are doing inhuman acts.They don't love The Great Prophet Mohammed s.a.w. and his descendents (Aal'e Nabi a.s.),rather they are in a desease of being gods of their own extreme,baseless and cruel religion that is not based on any humanity,any true Islamic values! -Why are we loosing our precious youngsters,our precious innocent humans,our Pakistanis? Just because of these cruel and ignorant Talibans who have made Islam and Muslims fall in the eyes of the world! ! Is this Islam to terrorize people,to force them by weapons to follow cruel and unIslamic customs? ? Was Islam spread by weapons and threats? Was Islam ever spread by suicide bombing? ? We believe that such tribes are a rebel of the Muslim world and unity and peace and Islam as well.Such tribes are a part of the Western Opponents and enemies who want to portray Islam as a terror and threat only to the world by buying these faithless people with Islamic fake faces and appearances from here without any characters ! ! May Allah Great Rehman Raheem Kareem make them good humans,wake up their souls and make them truly practical Muslims by the Grace and Spirits of Mohammed s.a.w. and Aal'e Mohammed a.s.! ameen.
We don't want the blood of our precious youngsters! Its too precious! Can they pay the cost of innocent blood? ? What they want? They want Islam? Like this ? ? ?