Pakistani troops advance into Swat’s main town

Click map for full view. Taliban presence, by district and tribal agency, in the Swat region. Information on Taliban presence obtained from open source and derived by The Long War Journal based on the presence of Taliban shadow governments, levels of fighting, and reports from the region. Map created by Bill Raymond for The Long War Journal. Last updated: May 12, 2009.

The Pakistani Army has just made its initial advance into the Taliban stronghold of Mingora, the main town in the insurgency-racked district of Swat. Soldiers appear to have encountered lighter than expected resistance from the Taliban, who were reported to have entrenched in the town and mined the roadways.

Pakistani troops moved into the district’s main town after securing the Kambar Ridge to the west over the weekend. Five Taliban fighters and three soldiers were reported to have been killed during the opening round of fighting in Mingora, Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told Dawn. Fourteen Taliban fighters were captured and six soldiers were wounded during the fighting. Security forces encountered 12 roadside bombs during the advance into the town.

Soldiers seized eight chowks [squares or intersections], in the town, including the notorious Green Chowk, where the Taliban have conducted public executions, including beheadings, and have dumped the bodies of those who opposed Taliban rule.

The Army has linked up with police, paramilitary Frontier Corps troops, and Levies personnel that were holed up in the center of the town during the Taliban siege, according to Abbas. The military has established “a corridor from a suburb to the city centre,” the BBC reported.

Abbas said the military hoped the fighting in Mingora would end in 10 days but said a difficult task in clearing the town still lay ahead.

“Hopefully it will not be more than a week or ten days,” Abbas told the BBC. “We have to clear each and every house, we have to search the streets, all those buildings which are not occupied we have to ensure that no explosives or booby-traps are there. It will take some time.”

Taliban spokesman and military commander Muslim Khan said forces would remain in Mingora but had been ordered not to fire on Pakistani troops in order to avoid civilian casualties and damaging public property. An estimated 20,000 civilians are still thought to be inside Mingora, while more than 2.2 million Pakistanis overall are said to have fled the fighting in Swat, Dir, Buner, and Shangla.

Fighting has also been reported in the nearby villages of Takhtaband, Garozai, Nawakalay and Shahdara.

In Peochar, the headquarters for the Taliban in Swat, the military said it made its first foray into the northern town since air-assaulting troops there two weeks ago. The military is conducting a cordon and search operation in an effort to flush out the Taliban. A large weapons cache and a roadside bomb factory have been found during the operation.

The military also launched an operation in Malam Jabba and reportedly killed five Taliban fighters.

In addition, the military claimed to have ousted the Taliban from the town of Matta, which is north of Mingora. The Taliban are said to still be in control of the northern regions of Swat, however, including the town of Bahrain, where more than 80,000 civilians are said to be cut off from supplies.

A tactical withdrawal for the Taliban?

As the military moves into Mingora after almost three weeks of heavy fighting, the Taliban may have decided to conduct a tactical withdrawal of its forces, estimated at between 5,000 to 7,000 fighters.

A report from the neighboring district of Buner, where the military is fighting to regain control of the region taken over by the Taliban almost two months ago, indicates that some Taliban units have been ordered to go to ground while others have been ordered to fight and die in a rearguard action designed to bleed the military.

A Taliban fighter going by the name of Ghazan Khan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that his platoon of 30 fighters was ordered to melt in with the local population fleeing the battlefield, and said some other units have been selected to remain and fight.

“Our people are giving stiff resistance but you know, the Army has tanks, helicopters and planes,” Khan told DPA. “Therefore, they have divided Mujahideen in two groups – some will continue the fight and the others will either hide in the mountains or leave the area for a while.”

“When this fight is over and the military regains control in Buner, we will wait for some weeks,” Khan continued. “Then we will come back and start a new fight from the mountains.”

The Taliban have practiced this drill several times in the past in Swat , Bajaur, Mohmand, and other areas in the northwest.

The Pakistani military has failed to establish a sufficient cordon to prevent Taliban forces from escaping the battlefields in Swat, Dir, Buner, and Shangla. The military has deployed an estimated 15,000 troops to Swat, many of whom are assigned to force protection details such as base and convoy security and logistical support.

Two weeks after the operation began, Pakistan’s military leaders discussed moving reinforcements to establish a cordon in the region. But there is little evidence that further units have deployed. Just over a week ago, in Battagram, a district bordering Buner, a Taliban force of about 70 fighters overran a checkpoint that was established to block such movement. The outpost was manned by only four policemen. The Taliban force has set up a safe haven in the region and the military has yet to move to evict them.

Background on the Malakand Accord and fighting in Swat

The fighting in Swat, Dir, Buner, and Shangla broke out after a peace agreement with the Taliban failed. The agreement, known as the Malakand Accord, placed the Malakand Division and the district of Kohistan under the control of the Taliban. The Malakand Division is comprised of the districts of Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, and Chitral. The Malakand Division and the neighboring Kohistan district together encompass nearly one-third of the Northwest Frontier Province.

The government signed the Malakand Accord with Taliban front man Sufi Mohammed, Fazlullah’s father-in-law, on February 16 after two years of fighting that put the Taliban in control of the district. During those two years, the military was defeated three separate times while attempting to wrest control from the Taliban. Each defeat put the Taliban in greater control of the district.

The peace agreement called for the end of military operations in Swat, the end of Taliban operations, and the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, in the Malakand Division.

But the Taliban violated the agreement immediately after signing it, and proceeded to attack security forces and conduct armed patrols. The military remained silent while the government approved the Taliban’s demand for sharia throughout Malakand.

After enormous pressure from the US and other Western governments to stem the Taliban tide pushing toward central Pakistan, in late April the Pakistani government ordered a military offensive in Dir and Buner. Earlier in April, the Taliban had advanced from Swat into Buner, taking over the district in eight days. The move into Buner put the Taliban within 60 miles of Islamabad and close to several nuclear facilities and the vital Tarbela Dam. The Taliban also moved into Mansehra and established bases and a training camp in the region.

Pakistani government and military officials have dismissed the Taliban threat to Islamabad and the country’s nuclear facilities, but at the end of April, the local Islamabad government ordered troops to deploy in the Margala hills just north of the city to block a Taliban advance, while the Haripur government beefed up security at the Tarbela Dam.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • KaneKaizer says:

    So the Taliban are sticking to their old tactics, and the Pakistanis will retake Mingora and declare a decisive victory in Swat.
    Odd, I would’ve thought the Taliban could inflict some heavy casualties on the Pakistanis in Mingora considering it’s now urban combat. US Marines took Fallujah in 2004 and lost a lot of good men, and probably no one else could do it better. They’d probably break all political will in Pakistan to fight the Taliban if they turned Mingora into Pakistan’s Grozny.

  • Neo says:

    Malam Jabba 34°47’58″N, 72°34’17″E
    This general area offers an escape route east of Mingora into the remote mountains of southern Shingla, eastern Buner, and western Mansehra. Without pre-positioned supplies there may be a limit to how many fighters they could maintain in this remote area. Most fighters are going to make there way west into Taliban country.

  • Lorenz Gude says:

    This report feels more solid than recent reports from Swat because it contains much more material that sounds like real combat. Perhaps the Pakistani Army is getting a bit serious. It reminds me of the fighting in Iraq when Bill was reporting the search and destroy missions in Anbar and did that animated presentation of the sequence of operations – and Fallujah in the case of Mingora which was of course an attempt to recreate Grozny. Still this is the first time I have encountered a report that makes me feel that perhaps the Pakistani military is making a genuine effort.

  • Cook says:

    Success depends on whether or not the Pakistani Army stays. It’s not hard to scare off insurgents for a while, but as shown in Iraq, a force that stays behind to keep the area clear is needed. Swat needs to be turned “green.”

  • NS says:

    This is another chapter in the dog and pony show that the military jihadi complex is treating the world to.
    A. Leave territory to the Taliban after pretending to have fought it and then signing peace agreements.
    B. Make the US Govt nervous over a Taliban take over and then try to manipulate those fears to get more money, aid and of course military supplies to fight India at the “appropriate time”
    C. Make some actual efforts to convince the US that the miltary really wants to fight the jihadis when both of them are the two sides of the same coin.
    After C, repeat Step A as deemed fit, sure and secure in the knowledge that Step B will surely follow.
    Even as day to day battles over the region seem to change, the overall strategy of the Paki military or its stranglehold on the nation seems to be unchanged. And THAT is the bigger problem, no matter how many battles are won and lost.
    Swat is just a drop in the ocean of problems that Pakistan poses to the world and itself.

  • NS says:

    The Taliban are lying low for now.

  • Spooky says:

    Win the battle. Lose the war. Karachi is striking and violent-striken, Balochistan is one step away from seceding entirely, and the Taliban are yet to be totally destroyed.
    And there are rumors of mid-term polls coming up, which if true would have the PPP thrown out and the PMLN thrown in. Regardless of what that means policy-side, the disruption would be enough to cause chaos.

  • SN says:

    @NS. Well this site requires bit more of seriousness, then your jokes.
    Pakistan Army is fighting a bloody war out there losing its men on daily basis. over 2 million people have been displaced. All you are saying is that is a drama ?. There were no taliban in Pakistan before 9/11. When US pounded Afghanistan, from then onwards all the mess started in Pakistan. Still nearly 50% of Afghanistan is under taliban control. All the fundings and weapon supply of pakistan based taliban are through afghanistan. So, if Pakistan really have to win this battle they have to cut these supply lines. I really praise Pakistan’s overall effort which they have made so far.

  • TK says:

    despite continued reports of “fierce fighting”, there’s no independently verifiable evidence of a serious effort to “eliminate” the taliban – the Pakistani military is allowing no journalists inside swat, with the exception of a few major media organizations that have been taken in on a press junket to see handpicked, “cleared” sites. Local journalists inside Swat have been threatened by both the Taliban and the Pakistani army and told to clear out.
    I was inside Buner last week, as the Pakistani military lifted curfew for a few hours so civilians could return briefly to their homes or to their wheat fields. Inside Buner there were a few sites where vehicles, and in one case an entire gas station appeared to have been struck from the air in a fairly surgical manner – also a burnt out pakistani tank that appeared to have been hit by an rpg. No signs of small arms fire between forces on the ground. Almost no visible presence of Pakistani military, even in the main town of Daggar – I saw not more than a dozen soldiers in the few hours I spent there, so not much evidence that the Pakistani army was attempting to “hold” the area.
    None of the numbers reported from this conflict are verifiable. Pakistani army claims of 1200 Taliban killed are fantastic to say the least – Similarly, the numbers of IDPs reported by UNHCR seems to go up by 100,000 a day – it’s up to 1.8 million as of today, but less than 10% of that number are actually visible or accounted for in refugee/IDP camps – the rest have somehow disappeared into the general population.
    Mainstream media organizations seem content to recycle Pakistan military press statements, but it’s anyone’s guess what’s really happening in this ghost war.

  • xavier says:

    There was Taliban in Pak before 9/11. In fact Pak military and ISI nourished the Taliban. Initially it was Benazir, who supported them to control trade routes into Central Asia, then ISI supported as “strategic depth”. Musharraf’s/ISI cheating of US for 8 years/$10bn is well known. This cheating is probably in comparable in world history since part of the same $ that US provided to fight AQ/Taliban was routed to Taliban to fight US in Afghanistan.
    I do not understand when people say Pakistan is “victim”. They had an opportunity not to choose US’ support against Afghanistan. But then they needed the $. If you make a wrong decision you have to live by it. This looks like a child complaining about the result of its own decision.
    This is what happens when nations make decisions based on ideology and hatred rather than interests.

  • Neo says:

    Pakistani forces are reported to be pushing into the Kabbal area along the north side of the Swat river, west of Kanju.
    Kabbal 34°48″

  • K Khan says:

    We the peace loving people can eliminate tourism; if the so called allies stop lying & cheating and blaming each other for their mistakes of the past and work together honestly with commitment.

  • Saqib says:

    I will not agree to your point that the issue was $. Pakistan did not have the option but to side with US, they were literally under the sword. Everyone knows the famous saying “Either turn back on Taliban or we’ll send you back to Stone Age”

  • xavier says:

    I am not talking about after 9/11. I am talking about 80s and early 90s when Pak(under Zia) supported Mujahedin and started funding thousands of Madrassas to export “freedom fighters” elsewhere.
    Pak was not under sword at that time. It was symbiosis between US and Pak. Pak could have said no in its national interests (if they had a little foresight) but the $ were too tempting along with ideological hatred.
    It would not take a rocket scientist to realize that if you breed extremists on your soil they will come back to bite you. US was smart and trained Mujahedins but not on its soil.

  • Mr T says:

    “There were no taliban in Pakistan before 9/11.”
    Talk about a lack of seriousness. I thought Taliban meant Talib which means student and students are taught in Madrassas of which Pakistan is the leader in religious madrassas. 2+2 does = 4 all of the time.

  • Saqib says:

    US funded Muj’s back in the day through Pak (ISI), they both had interests (Russia). After the war Taliban were never a threat to Pak but they were a threat to US. And so this time Pak is force to do the job instead of opting to for some benefit of there’s which has created a civil war.

  • Geographer says:

    Xavier, in the ’80’s, Pakistan did not want to help or raise the Mujahideen, but Zia did. And what Zia wanted went. And the men Zia left behind and raised in the Pakistani Armed Forces were the ones who continued the Jihadi policy in the ’90’s. Pakistan did not want any of this dirt on its shoulders but Zia forced the country into it.

  • Solomon2 says:

    Since the Talibs are being permitted to escape and fight another day, it is unlikely that the refugees will want to return home, not unless the PA permanently deploys a large part of its Army in Swat. Sooner or later popular pressure will demand that the Taliban be destroyed and the Army will act – my guess is later, the Pakistani Government and Army may want to hold things off as long as the relief dollars keep flowing in for corrupt officials to stuff into their own pockets. In the meantime the refugees will continue to suffer.

  • Xavier says:

    Taliban were not directly threat to US until they decided to host and not give up bin Laden. I think it was justified that the Taliban paid for hosting AQ which is responsible for attacks(9/11) on a powerful nation.
    What do you think a State is? Pakistan has very few recognizable institutions, the military and the ISI being strongest. How can you define Pakistan without ISI or its military. Being from military, Zia and thus Pakistan is responsible for this ideology.
    If Pakistanis did not like military(Zia) they would have said no to recruitment. A country is responsible for what its leader(s) do(es).
    Stop passing blame around.
    Its US, not Pakistan, then its Zia not Pakistan, its Taliban not Pakistan.
    It would help if people start taking responsibility for their actions (inaction).

  • Cordell says:

    For Fouad Ajami’s take on this debate, please read his op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal:
    “The place of Islam in Pakistani political culture has never been a simple matter. It was not religious piety that gave birth to Pakistan. The leaders who opted for separation from India were a worldly, modern breed who could not reconcile themselves to political subservience in a Hindu-ruled India. The Muslims had fallen behind in the race to modernity, and Pakistan was their consolation and their shelter.
    Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was secular through and through. The pillars of his political life had been British law and Indian nationalism. Both had given way, and he set out for his new state, in 1947, an ailing old man, only to die a year later. He was sincere in his belief that Pakistan could keep religion at bay.
    Jinnah’s vision held sway for three decades. It was only in the late 1970s that political Islam began its assault against the secular edifice. A military dictator, Zia ul-Haq, had seized power in 1977; he was to send his predecessor, the flamboyant populist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to the gallows. Zia was to recast Pakistan’s political culture. It was during his decade in power that the madrassas, the religious schools, proliferated. (There had been no more than 250 madrassas in 1947. There would be a dozen times as many by 1988, and at least 12,000 by latest count.)
    Zia had been brutally effective in manipulating the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. His country was awash with guns and Saudi and American money. He draped his despotism in Islamic garb. He made room for the mullahs and the mullahs brought the gunmen with them.
    Say what you will about the ways of Pakistan, its people have never voted for the darkness that descended on Swat and its surroundings. In the national elections of 2008 the secular and regional parties had carried the day; the fundamentalists were trounced at the polls. The concessions in Swat were a gift the militants had not earned.”

  • Pakistan GD says:

    “Jinnah’s vision held sway for three decades. It was only in the late 1970s that political Islam began its assault against the secular edifice.”
    This is only a half-truth. Political Islam defined the origins of Pakistan – one only needs to read C. Rahmat Ali’s thesis on the the state. This identified the muslim areas in opposition to the non-muslim (i.e Hindu) areas. That, along with the quick reduction of the Hindu population in pakistan, along with the ethnic cleansing of the Hindus in East Pakistan in 1971, point to a long history of Political Islam (at the least!). We could also add the ’47 and ’65 wars along with that, if we like.
    Of course the difference between now and then is that if the Islamic literalists (as they literally follow the Quran) were a strong yet not all-encompassing part of the Pakistani populace prior to the late 70’s, now they are on the way to taking over the Pakistani state. And they will win, as they have too many sympathizers in the ISI and military, AND they hold the trump card over the general population as they are learned in the Islamic scripture, and thus can easily refute intellectual (Islamic ) arguments against their practices (they will paralyze the Pakistanis theologically, to paraphrase a Dawn editorial)

  • Xavier says:

    Cordell says “Jinnah’s vision held sway for three decades. It was only in the late 1970s that political Islam began its assault against the secular edifice.”
    Wrong. The 1956 constitution made Pakistan an Islamic Republic. At this point there was to be no law made against Islam (Quran and Sunnah). Sometimes in democracies it is necessary to make laws that may be in conflict with religion. (e.g. law for death penalty to heretics(or whoever insults Islam, you can insult Jesus in the West without any punishment, not even a fine).
    Yes, fundamental rights were given in 1956 constitution including free speech/religion, but there was also another law that made any criticism of Islam punishable.
    Only a Muslim could be president according to 1956 constitution. (all these from wikipedia). Alcohol banned and madatory teaching of Quran to muslims.
    According to the directive principles, steps were to be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan individually and collectively to order their lives in accordance with principles in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
    The President should set up an organisation for Islamic research and instruction in advanced studies to assist in the reconstruction of Muslims society on a truly Islamic basis.
    This was the first constitution of Pakistan and the later versions(1962,1973) got more Islamic, thus intolerant.

  • Xavier says:

    Cordell says “Say what you will about the ways of Pakistan, its people have never voted for the darkness that descended on Swat and its surroundings. In the national elections of 2008 the secular and regional parties had carried the day; the fundamentalists were trounced at the polls.”
    True about 2008 but why don’t you talk about who won 2003 elections? The chief minister of NWFP was from JUI and Maulana Fazlar Rehman belongs to this party. Isn’t this party’s ideology(Deobandi Islam) close to Taliban’s? if not same.
    JUI helped establish all those madrassas in Pakistan.

  • NS says:

    Pakistan Army is fighting a bloody war out there losing its men on daily basis. over 2 million people have been displaced. All you are saying is that is a drama ?
    SN,Your reading comprehension skills are not great – no where did i say that all this fighting is a charade. That was your own interpretation.
    Read my point C , AFTER reading points A and B and then get back to me.
    By the way, there is intense pressure from the US on Pakistan to act – Gen Petraeus gave them two weeks time to get their act together. read the news once in a while before getting all excited.
    There were no taliban in Pakistan before 9/11.
    Such ignorance on the LWJ should be blasphemy 🙂
    The ISI created, trained and armed the Taliban in the 90’s when the so called secular PM Benazir Bhutto was the leader. She was followed by Nawaz Sharif who was an even bigger supporter of the Taliban and general Islamic fundamentalism.
    The Taliban were created by Pakistan, to gain strategic depth against India and to make sure that no Pakthun nationalist movement ever arose in the NWFP.
    9/11 changed things and Pakistan was forced to go against the Taliban in the immediate aftermath. How ever it has not given up on its designs to rehabilitate the Taliban and has been counting on the US to wear down and withdraw from the region.
    You have to ask yourself why exactly there were/are safe havens for the Taliban AFTER 9/11. Or why after 8 years , Iraq is a relatively more peaceful place than either Afghanistan or Pakistan .
    Even more importantly, why is it that the US has been relying on drone attacks in the last 2 years rather than let the Pakis do the job ?
    They know that many people in the ISI are open supporters of the Taliban and actually have been tipping them off abt attacks.

  • Zalmay says:

    Xavier, by most accounts, 2003 elections that bought MMA to power in Pakhtunkhwa were partly rigged in favour of the MMA.

  • Neo says:

    I have a few more geographical notes about the area around Peochar.
    While the area looks remote at first glance it is not really so remote and is well connected by many mountain paths and passes into adjoining valleys. The uplands of four valleys are adjacent to each other on this same mountain. The valleys head east, south, and west.
    The narrow Shawar Valley is on the east side of the mountain and contains the villages of Peochar(Pewchar) and Gatt along the Shawar river running east. Further down the valley and to the east the Shawar river runs into the Arnwai (Haronai) river in the main Rodingar Valley. Likewise the Arnwai river meets up with the Swat river at Matta. Peochar to Matta is about 19 km.
    The Sakhra Valley leads directly south down the mountainside toward past Shahdarai than Kallam Village along the Swat river. The Bawrai river runs through this valley. It is about 22km straight south from the uplands down to Kallam. It’s a mere 3km from the uplands of the Bawrai river across a steep ridge to Peochar in the next valley.
    A significant feature of the Sakhra Valley is a side valley that runs from the Shahdarai area, west into Dir province, than comes out just north of Chakdarra. This road is labeled the Aspanr Road and was upgraded shortly before this conflict. This is one of the primary back routes into the area, avoiding the main roads along the Swat river.
    ? Valley (West toward Dir)
    This 13km valley runs west and joins the main Panjkora Valley.
    ? Valley (West toward Dir)
    On the north-west side of the Peochar area is another valley. Access to this is directly across the top of the ridge. The village of Kwana is in the uplands than the valley heads past Warai on it’s way to the main Panjkora Valley 16km west.
    The thing you must remember about this area is that it is fairly heavily settled. There is rugged terrain mixed with tarraced hillsides and well used paths. Remember that this has been a settled place for over 2 millenia. Roads go well up the valleys and paths are well used. The paths and some of the high mountain ridges even have buildings for temporary shelter add to that there are areas of forest cover interspersed throughout the area.
    Groups of armed men on foot can move into this area from several directions and pick their way past troops looking for them. The Pakistani Army found this area challenging in the past and it will not find long term control of the area to be easy. The Taliban will try to maintain corridors into this area because from it they can quickly reach any part of Swat valley.

  • Neo says:

    It appears that the Taliban has just sent the ISI a “Dear John letter”

  • Xavier says:

    If you find an excuse for everything I can’t help. The population is radicalized. This is evident from opinion polls which repeatedly show significant support for Sharia by majority of the people.
    Few people in Sindh and Baloch may not support bu they are in tiny minority. Punjab and NWFP are solidly behind Sharia.
    More importantly Pakistan is an “Islamic Republic” with an Islamic constitution. Once they remove laws which are based on Islam, may be people will believe that it is moderate (e.g. Turkey).
    Try to find a relevant law in US/West which explicitly refers to Bible as its source, or in India which mentions any Hindu book as its source, or in Turkey which mentions Quran or Hadith as its source.

  • SN says:

    @Xavier and @NS
    Don’t tell me that Pakistan was funding and supporting those mujahideen of 80’s on its own. It was USA that supported Mujahideen in 80’s through pakistan. It was USA that was engaged in a cold war with USSR. It was in interest of both USA and Pakistan. Now when i say that there were no taliban in Pakistan before 9/11.. All i want to make a point that Pakistan was not in that mess. It was all peace there. Taliban were happy in Afghanistan. After US attacked Afghanistan and killed over 100,000 people there in order to exterminate their own funded and abandoned people, from then onwards all the mess started.

  • Xavier says:

    SN says “All i want to make a point that Pakistan was not in that mess. It was all peace there. Taliban were happy in Afghanistan.”
    Yes the Afghan citizens saw one of the worst tyrants in history. Even Hitler did not torture people for not growing beards, not wearing veil. Taliban have record of killing people by skinning people alive. They have raped non-Pasthun tribes and killed them in scores.
    It was US that started war against USSR but it was Pak who made the decision to support the war. How on earth anyone can ever convince Pakistanis that they are responsible for their decisions.
    Of course Pakistan was peaceful coz they were sending Taliban to fight in other countries. Sometimes what goes around comes around. Playing with extremism is playing with fire.

  • Xavier says:

    I forgot to mention that Saudi Arabia(SA) matched US $ to $. So you can equally blame SA for this but I understand if(why) you do not blame them.

  • Cordell says:

    To set the record straight, I was quoting Fouad Ajami, a Middle East scholar at Johns Hopkins University and Stanford’s Hoover Institution. My own knowledge of Pakistan’s history is too limited for me to offer any knowledgeable opinion. “Cordell says” nothing on this topic.

  • Xavier says:

    I apologize for wrongly quoting you, my mistake. I meant your post, but I hope you understand what I meant.
    Anyway the counter I posted to your quoted text is from Pakistani constitution(from wikipedia). I guess that answers whether Pakistan ever was a secular country, notwithstanding Jinnah.
    Also Pakistan does not quite fall into “Middle East” even though the borders might be blurry. It falls into “South Asia”.

  • Zalmay says:

    You’re deliberately confusing the issue now. Support of sharia does not automatically translate into support of religious parties agenda or the taliban’s agenda. Islam will always be a part of Pakhtun life. This is not and has never been under debate.
    What military dictators do can be different from what the public does.

  • Xavier says:

    I am not talking about necessary and sufficient conditions here. What I want to say is that support for Sharia and support for Taliban go hand in hand, unless Taliban screws up really bad. Sindh and Baloch may be more moderate. Many “freedom fighters” are from Punjab.
    Military dictators in Pakistan have historically been encouraging(or indifferent to) Islamist ideology. I am talking about the same history that is taught in public schools that creates hatred which is good breeding ground for Taliban.

  • Lahori says:

    @Xavier. the polls migt suggest that but the reality is different. Every sect in Pakistan has its own brand of Sharia. More than 65% are Brelvis who follow sufism. 20% are shias, the number one o the hitlist of talibans. Then there are the ones who want this brand of sharia nd even they are divided into deobanids, ahlehadiths and wahabi. These ar ethe ones one should watch for.

  • Neo says:

    Here’s today’s round of village locations. (May 28)
    Today the Pakistani army announced that they now control the Khanju – Kabbal road on the north side of the river Swat across from Mingora. The army is pushing northward from the village of Kabbal into the Sakhra Valley. “He said that Kanju-Kabal road had been cleared and intense fighting was continuing for securing Kabbal.”

  • Neo says:

    Relief column in Upper swat has secured past Bahrain up to Kedam.
    Bahrain 35° 12′ 31″ N, 72° 32′ 54″E
    Kedam 35° 14′ 49″ N, 72° 35′ 1″ E (3km north of Bahrain)


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram