The Pakistani kaleidoscope and the Swat ceasefire

February 24, 2009

The debate over the Pakistan government’s decision to seek peace with Taliban militants in the Swat valley by promising to introduce sharia law is proving to be like everything else in the Pakistani kaleidoscope – turn it a little bit and you see something else.

Pakistani analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said the peace deal could encourage groups in other parts of the country to copy the example of the Taliban in forcing through changes. “The bottom line is that while conflict might be arrested for the short term in one part of the country, it might escalate in other parts where groups of people acting like the Taliban could impose their will on the rest of the population in the name of changing the judicial, economic or political system,” she says. “Ultimately, this could come to redefine Pakistan’s identity completely.”

But in an article in Dawn, Kunwar Idris defended the decision by arguing that the roots of the campaign for the restoration of sharia are quite different from those fuelling the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan’s border areas with Afghanistan. Drawing on his experience as a government adviser in neighbouring Chitral, he says a form of sharia used to work well when Swat was still a princely state. “Pakistan stands much to gain and its allies in the ‘war on terror’ have little to lose if the Sharia courts bring tranquillity and tourists back to the Swat valley,” he writes.

While India has, perhaps predictably, condemned the peace deal — Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram called it a threat to the entire region — what has been more interesting are Indian readings of the U.S. response.  Although U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke expressed concern, the U.S. response has been relatively muted.

India’s South Asia Intelligence Review worried that the deal appears to have U.S. acquiescence. It suggested Washington would watch closely what happens in Swat for implications on whether the United States too should cut its own deals with some insurgents in Afghanistan, based on what it called a false premise that it is possible to distinguish between “good” and “bad” Taliban.

Retired Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar saw a different cause for U.S. acquiescence to Pakistani decisions — he argued that Washington basically had no choice since it is so hobbled by the financial crisis and military stalemate in Afghanistan.  The United States, he said, had decided it had no option but to work closely with Pakistan, perhaps to the detriment of India. “The message is clear: Washington will be in no mood to antagonize its Pakistani partner and Delhi is expected to keep tensions under check in its relations with Islamabad,” he wrote.

Just how closely Washington is working with Islamabad was underscored in this New York Times story saying that the United States has  more than 70 military advisers and technical specialists working in Pakistan to help its armed forces battle the Taliban.  “It is a much larger and more ambitious effort than either country has acknowledged,” the newspaper said. And that was on top of reports, denied by Islamabad, that U.S. predator drones which have been firing missiles into tribal areas on Pakistan’s northwest, operate out of an air base on Pakistan.

So is Washington’s dependence on Pakistan making it less willing to criticise its policies? Is there method in the madness in the Swat deal that might suggest a way forward in Afghanistan too? Or is what is happening now a sign of the chaos of desperation?

(Reuters photos: Buying food in Mingora, the main town in the Swat valley; and girls back at school)


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Taliban ‘receives $6M for Swat ceasefire’ 08&sectionid=351020401

No wonder Pakistan needs more loan from IMF! It’s Taliban sending Pakistan to IMF to get more. What a pity!

So peace will last as long as $6M lasts ..:-)

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

No wonder US prefers drone to diplomacy!

Pakistan taken hostage by Taliban!

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive


A rescue package for Taliban, funded by IMF!

Posted by Global Citizen | Report as abusive

“Pakistani Taliban unite against US”

Doesn’t sound like ceasefire to me!  /feb/24/pakistani-taliban-unite-against -us/

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

This is sad,

Its actually like wathcing a train crash in slow motion..

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

I wonder how Pakistan could make a deal with Taliban without US’s approval. The falling empire has more fire power but lacking of money power.

NATO and US can’t keep their people employed in thier own country, how they can fight 3000 miles away in a land locked region. I further doubt that Pakistan may brokerage a safe and proud exit deal for US and NATO from Afghanistan. Ofcourse Taliban may get billions of blood money.

Posted by Murugan | Report as abusive

If UK c’d negotiate with Ireland & NATO forces can make peace with Iran, Korea & Taliban in Afghanistan, whats the problem with negotiations in Swat.

As for link of 08&sectionid=351020401
I wonder,u dont believe Iran otherwise but for such case, u ‘ll do it readily.

That amount is collectively for the region to open schools & establish the region. n Also India-supported Taliban (sent by Indian RSS wayamsevak_Sangh)
will not be given peace for sure.

Posted by thinkcorrect | Report as abusive

The new leadership in US has now exposed its total incompetence when it comes to foreign relations..especially when dealing with Pakistan, Iran and N.Korea. There is no clear cut strategy, no new ideas of its own to deal with new situations..
while it in some cases continues to simply follow the ideas of bush administration like drone attacks they have no idea on what to do next in some cases like pak taliban deal and Iran.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

Swat is far away from the Afghan border and is a wholly internal matter for Pakistan. The groups involved there are not fighting in Afghanistan, neither do they claim to desire so.

If a group is not antagonistic towards the US/West, then they don’t care about them. This is why the Tamil Tigers have ravaged Sri Lanka, and nobody in the west took much notice.

Posted by Aamir Ali | Report as abusive

@Umair, Ali, Aamir Ali 91945

“If Pakistan’s relatively disciplined and well-trained army can’t subdue a couple of thousand Islamist militants in Swat, can Afghanistan’s embryonic army ever prevail over its own Taliban?……..”

Gentlemen, my dear Pak friends, it seems as though in true Pak. Military tradition, they have again surrendered and began double talking with enemies and friends alike. I can’t blame the Pak Military for at least being consistently inept, incompetant, cowardly, two-faced, surrender prone buffoons.

Umair, your military just surrendered to terrorists, as you so boast about your professional military. They are a bunch of cowards! and good for talking and lack the will to do a very heavy fight.

I don’t want to hear your garbage any more, regarding the Indian military, the Indian military would have cleaned up the entire Pakistan in a year or two! and the Taliban in a couple of months.

Thanks for wasting billions of western dollars, fattening your ass, lining your pockets, paying your servants and keeping only enough pressure on terrorists to do the easy fighting, to justify asking for more and more money by the Military in the future.

We are sick of this! No more money to Pakistan, no more support.

It is high time, you guys realize that you just gave up so-called sovereign land to terrorists who behead indiscriminately, burn girls schools and do terrorism.

You guys are buying out terrorists, emboldening them, while they kill more Paks, as they spread like a cancer through out Pakistan, in Zardari’s own words, another 2-faced lying leader from Pakistan. Absolutely no “juan” in Punjabi that means “integrity”.

At the right time, it is probably best to confiscate those nukes, it should not be too hard to do that, everyone in Pakistan is up for sale for the right amount of money. Those nukes will be sitting in an American U.S. Base within a decade and given to India as a souvenir, once de-activated.

Find a new place to live, if you don’t want to Talibanize yourselves.

Saudi and UAE needs more slaves and terrorists.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

@Umair, Ali, Aamir Ali

Lazy guys like you, who should be out organizing large-sign protests on the streets of Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad, denouncing terroristm, Taliban and Sharia.

Are you ready to live Sharia? Are you ready to roll-back your society 1200 years? Are you ready to give up music, technology, t.v., movie theatres?, clothing, the barbershop, your radio and cell phones?

Honestly ask your self, instead of living in denial and hurling vomit and feces at the rest of the world…look into yourself.

Are you ready to return back to the stone age? even your blood hindu ancestors will look like they were more sophisticated than today’s Pakistan, once it falls to Sharia and Talibanization in the not so distant future.

You can still stop it. Attack it head on and fight for your country, or maybe you don’t think its worth fighting for against the Taliban.

Even after this lashing I gave you, you guys are still going to return living in denial.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Global Watcher:
I am fine with the reasons sometimes given by Pakistanis that let the people decide what they want. Yes they want Sharia but do they want Sharia from Taliban :-( Let them get their hands chopped, beheaded or whatever they like. Let Pakistanis live in denial and find reasons after the damage is done and say Oh yes we Pakistanis wanted it that way; so smart of us. The problem is this radicalism will affect the region-lessons from the history have not been learnt. If US/Nato are defeated, Pakistan is cooked–Taliban will consider itself the superpower and will like to first control Pakistan. “Good or Bad Taliban” (ridiculous labels for comfort). I am wondering would people in Lahore welcome these “Good Taliban” as guests in Lahore, Islamabad. Sooner or later Taliban is going to rule Pakistan in coalition with other Pakistan parties. The situation is much worse than one can imagine—Just like rear view mirror with sticker: “Objects are nearer than they appear in mirror”.

The key words like: Pakistani Army is professional, Tactical withdrawal of the Army, people want Sharia in SWAT, Good and Bad Taliban, This time Pakistan is playing its cards smartly, etc.. are such classical symptoms of denial.

There is no way except to determine to elominate these forces–I hope “big boys from Islamabad” have some real sane plan.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev i can tell you about 1 clear plan from islamabad..
“Genocide in Baluchistan”
-Unidentified militants on bikes killed 5 in quetta and injured 2 others..Now who would have a motive to indiscreminately kill baluchs ?? with out claiming for responsibility ??

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

“Taliban abducted and later released the new district coordination officer in Swat and his six bodyguards to secure the release of their three aides on Sunday”

Only Lawyers, Journalists and Human rights activists are left in Pakistan jails! 11735

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Seems like US Air Force controls Pakistan’s skys. asia/24carrier.html?ref=asia

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Taliban on the ground and US in the skys .. Zardari finds China safer .:)

“Pakistan threatened by ‘non-state actors\': Zardari” on=com_content&task=view&id=68946&Itemid =1

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Report: U.S. Aid Funding the Pakistani Taliban

“At least $6 million has been paid to the Taliban and more is on the way”

“As one of the conditions to ending the fighting in Swat, Taliban chieftain Mullah Fazlullah has demanded the government pay reparations to the Taliban”

“The Taliban .. demanded guarantees regarding the withdrawal of around 10,000 Pakistani army soldiers deployed in the Swat Valley”

On Monday, .. major general Athar Abbas officially announced the end of military operations in the province’s volatile Swat Valley”

“”The state failed to control foreign elements in Swat,” said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas”

” the amount was delivered from a special fund of president Asif Ari Zardari”

“Not only is the United States paying the Pakistani government to abdicate territory to the Taliban, we get to fund the Taliban as well”

“Meanwhile, a shura or tribal council of mujahadeen leaders namely including Baitullah Mehsud, Sirajuddin Haqqani, Moulvi Nazeer and Gul Bahadur formed an alliance and vowed to stop all hostilites against Pakistani security forces”

“Instead they vowed to launch a joint struggle against NATO forces in Afghanistan next month” SFP/2009/02/report_us_aid_funding_the_pa ki.asp urity/?id=3.0.3045993078

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

“Blast kills 4 US coalition troops, Afghan civilians: Reuters”

.. So far 600 US, 107 Canadian, 144 British soldiers .. 1002 foreign soldiers dead in Afghanistan ..

Taliban internal matter of Pakistan or Non-State matter of Pakistan? 27/1002-foreign-soldiers-killed-in-afgha nistan-since-2001-website-says.html

Posted by Global Ciizen | Report as abusive


To put it simply, the US has only two options to deal with the Taliban,

a) Eliminate Taliban & its support structure, permanently

b) Sign fickle peace deals with the Taliban

Both the options have their benefits and risks. It seems the US govt does not have the resolve and the resources to take on the Taliban.

Well, it made me think, what action will the US govt take if terrorists attack the US and the source of the attack is traced back to the Afghan-Pak border?

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

@Rajeev i can tell you about 1 clear plan from islamabad..
“Genocide in Baluchistan”
-Unidentified militants on bikes killed 5 in quetta and injured 2 others..Now who would have a motive to indiscreminately kill baluchs ?? with out claiming for responsibility ??
– Posted by Anitha

–May be those who control deccan mujahideen.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev, Myra, Anitha,

I have to be quite honest here. Although I don’t like the Taliban, I think that can be to India’s advantage, if the situation were correct.

By that I mean, Pakistan gets Talibanized, gets control of the nukes and intends to hold India hostage.

India, U.S. and European allies will have the perfect reason to wipe Pakistan off the map. I for one can tell you, India would not leave one inch unscathed, if terrorists started the aggression first and started playing games.

Just think, how it would fuel panic in the world if terrorists like the Taliban took over a nuclear state?

I guarantee you, Pakistan’s days would be numbered. Although this scenario would not come a price to India and its allies, it would ensure that a massive reaction from India and the US allies would ensure a denuclearized Pakistan, albeit a devastated region.

This would be the hall mark opportunity to put Pakistan to the history pages and split up Pakistan into three regions, some going to India, Afghanistan and Iran.

Sometimes to get long term stability you have to be willing to entertain short term pain.

The real enemies of Pakistan are those who have hijacked the ISLAMIC faith for goals of religious conquest. They will bring death and destruction to Pakistan, as most Pakistani’s sit by idly and watch their country dissolve.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive


In order to keep this discussion constructive, do read this piece by Salman Ahmad, the founder of the rock band Junoon: th/salman_ahmad/2009/02/rescuing_pakista n_from_the_tal.html

He condemns the ceasefire in the Swat valley, but what is more interesting is his appeal for the recognition of the plurality of Pakistani culture, and the vibrancy of its arts and music. This subject of the plurality of cultures and identities is one I am going to keep stressing as I’ve seen too many comments on earlier posts which have reduced people to a single identity on the basis of nationality or religion. More on this later.

Nikhil, you asked what the United States would do if it is attacked and the source of the attack is traced back to the Af/Pak border. That’s a good question to which I don’t know the answer. Does anyone else have a view on this?


Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive on=com_content&task=view&id=68946&Itemid =1

“We bask in your glory and Pakistan and every Pakistani is proud of success of China.”
looks like zardari is behaving as kirdari 😛

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive

I agree with this one “what is happening now a sign of the chaos of desperation”

Posted by Blogger | Report as abusive

@So is Washington’s dependence on Pakistan making it less willing to criticise its policies?
–Washington DC will not criticize Pakistan unless Pakistan’s moves are hurting DC. At this point of time, US strategy is not fully backed up by its payed war ally Pakistan– double dealings are happening and SWAT deal is a defining moment. Thus far Pakistan is a necessary nuisance since her soil is essential for the military tactics of US/NATO; so US is ignoring Pak’s moves such as playing silly with Taliban/militants. In that case, some time very soon, US and Pak interests are going to conflict unless US and Pak both are working together and making underhand deals for which we normally think Pak alone is responsible.

@Is there method in the madness in the Swat deal that might suggest a way forward in Afghanistan too? Or is what is happening now a sign of the chaos of desperation?
–I don’t see any plan as far as the SWAT situation happened-Taliban has upper hand and Pakistan just cannot flush out Taliban even if it wants. Although I doubt pak wants to get rid of Taliban completely (Good vs bad Taliban explanation is like saying Good vs bad terrorist!), it may not want Taliban to be so openly control Pakistan. Peace deal keeps Taliban on Pak side which could be used later on.
My feeling is that in the ideal world Taliban has no place and should be eliminated for real success of the operation (you do not want BUSH-type mission accomplished of Iraq). I will not put my money that Taliban will be eliminated– even if everyone including Pak gets together. Taliban has shown resilience and has dual face-terrorist and diplomats both. There will be deals with them or other militants to use them, shut them up and compensating them to control their urges until US/NATO exits. After that it will be worse than the situation when US arrived here. Pretty pessimistic picture—but that’s how I see it right now. Normally US will not exit but with Dow/Jones hitting lowest in 10yrs and US and global economy of US will force them (Obama is to give “State Of The Economy” address tonight).
It will be prudent to define the goals vis-a-vis allies, resources, strengths and limitations. But for sure Pakistan needs some medication for its attention deficit disorder.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

If the US economy recovers soon, then one can expect bold actions in this terrorist haven. If not, there will be a lot of pressure to either make a deal with the Taliban to buy time or go all out. My feeling is that the US will choose the former option. I will not be surprised if they make a deal with Afghan Taliban. Their enemy is not the Taliban. They are after the Al Qaeda. If the Taliban comes forward to do that, then that will be the deal. As it is the US is getting uneasy with Hamid Karzai. So I expect the US to follow the Pakistan example and make a deal with the Taliban. In return, these guys get to run their regions the way they want and the US will go after Al Qaeda only.

This might come as a big relief to Pakistan who can now use this time to resume its acts on its Eastern neighbor. They will have to do this because one should not allow things to settle down for too long. So if the US makes a deal soon, you will see the Kashmir issue erupt to a much larger level than ever before. And one can expect many Mumbai style attacks inside India.

An election is coming soon and this will be the best time to stage an action plan that will strike India at its heart. And the US might not show much sympathy to India this time, looking at its gains first. The BJP might use that attack and the government ineptitude to its advantage during the elections. Or to thwart that, the Congress party might postpone elections and declare emergency. And then a war will definitely start, which will force the US and its allies to come back. And Pakistan will hope that it will force the issue of Kashmir settlement with India.

Zardari/ISI/Pak Military – these guys are the experts at selling their mothers. No one can equal them in surrendering and then using wily methods to get out. So I expect them to be working on this plan now.

Posted by Mauryan | Report as abusive


Myra I respect your attempt to divert attention to give a chance for cooler heads to prevail.

It just seems Pakistan is a danger to the world and India, whether it is stable or unstable. We have depleted our economies, wasted our soldiers and so much much energy trying to correct something, which seems is incorrectable.

Although there are pockets of positive things in Pakistan, those are not enough to convince the world that Pakistan is worth saving. What we would like to see, is an awakening or a revolt against radical Islam. If the everyday Plebescites in Pakistan are lacking in courage or religious or political or moral will, then there is no future for Pakistan.

The Pakistani military is not trained to fight guerilla warfare and don’t have the stomach or the will to fight the Taliban any more, as it does not electrify the population. The people of Pakistan however, are many times more electrified when you mention India as a foe.

Pakistan has just backstabbed the world in the war on terror, a terror, which it created, in part to destabilize India. How do you warm the hearts and minds of the Pakistani peoples towards India, when they view any friendship as a sign of fear or weakness? In western countries, being friendly is regarded as a sign of strength, having humility in the U.S. UK or Canada or Australia, is viewed as a mental strength as well.

After my personal journey to seek out answers, I have come to the conclusion that the world is not ever going to be safe with an ustable or a stable Pakistan.

It is a futile attempt, which will bankrupt our already bankrupt economies.

It is serious time the UN, NATO and IMF do the footwork necessary to facilitate disintegration of Pakistan. It is an utter failure to the lack of will by its people to reject Islamicists, who are taking over their country.

India will be antagonized and attacked only so many times before it reacts. Tough diplomacy only seems to buy time until the next planned event of terrorism is thrust upon India.

I for one favour a very proactive approach to the south indian subcontinent for the sake of regional security.

If the people Pakistan and Afghanistan want Sharia, let them have it. If these people are happy lopping off heads, hands and feet, doing public executions, torture, losing their modern way of life, let them have it. If they are happy regressing back to the stone age, let them have it.

We should help these countries regress to the dark ages, if they choose and the people there, have no will to do it for themselves.

We can start by denying them food, money, technology, airplane parts, vehicles, all technology. Give them nothing, let’s see how their society survives without the west. Let it become lawless, backward and unstructured. It maybe easier to deal with, once it does.

I have been right in all my blogging, when I said Pakistan is falling apart. While we indulge in Liberalism and pluralities, entertaining a diverse range of opinions on Pakistan, it fails daily as we speak

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Myra, Amy, Anitha… out…caliphat is on its way….just kidding…have a laugh with this 2004 Qatar TV clip fromm friday muslim prayers YY

Posted by azaddp | Report as abusive

In reality, the US is not as concerned about Pakistan or its behavior, because of its direct control and influence over the military and political leaders in Pakistan who survive with and are hooked on US aid. Pakistan knows well and takes full advantage of this “speacial relationship”. The US has no choice but to support Pakistan diplomatically, as they have in the past as a “strategic ally”, especially now, to achieve US goal in Afghanistan. At the most perhaps an idle threat, the Generals in Islamabad get a “dress down” as Musharraf claims “The intelligence director told me that[Armitage] said, ‘Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age’,”.
The US diplomatic response will always be as you put it “Hobbled” and “Relatively Muted” regarding Pakistan’s involvement in:
(a)Until very recent acknowleding Pakistan operates terror camps (b) supplying Chinese nuclear technology to North Korea in exchange for ICBM technology (c) Nuclear proliferation to Iran and Libya (d) Supporting Al Qaeda (e) Supporting insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir (f) Supporting 9/11 terror attacks killing nearly 3,000.
Infact, under great pressure the references to Pakistan in the offical Kean/Hamilton 9/11 inquiry/report had to be expunged – what a farce!
In many ways the US by blindly supporting the regimes in charge of Pakistani with no accounting or repercussions has created its own problems. The Generals and the people in Pakistan know how to keep Holbrook or future diplomats “hobbled” and “relatively muted” no matter what they do, unless of course the checks stop clearing, in which case the US may find a few more problems in its path such, as the torching of the US military convoy of a 150 trucks to support the GIs in Afghanistan. The US truly has a “special relationship” when it comes to Pakistan Myra.

Posted by Nathuram Waghmare | Report as abusive

Global Watcher and Anitha:

If I said otherwise, let me restate: I agree with the view currently offered that Taliban is not India’s enemy (I think Anitha said that). But I do not think Taliban can be to India’s advantage by any flight of imagination. “Nukes and Taliban”- do not think them togther–a very dangerous & lethal combination. Whether India help herself or the world comes to help-Taliban controlling NUKES in reality is a nightmare. We are already getting densensitized by the word NUKE.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Nikhil and Myra
@Well, it made me think, what action will the US govt take if terrorists attack the US and the source of the attack is traced back to the Afghan-Pak border?
– Posted by Nikhil

-1. US/NATO withdraws and do carpet bombing of the region and use all their fancy bunker buster/cave busters? Leave everyone dead there :-( OR
2. Keep on doing what they have been doing.
3. Get used to the idea like rest of the world and stop crossing continents for such matters.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

4th option in theory is:
4. NUKE the area–Af-Pak and Pak (?) :-(
For sure, Gordon Brown will not hesistate to agree with that since 75% of terrorists leads in Britain coming from pak.

Disclaimer: NUKE use by anyone is a bad idea since it kills by >100,000 in one shot.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Rajeev – @”But I do not think Taliban can be to India’s advantage by any flight of imagination”
Is taliban usefull to anybody ??
In some frame of thinking..there is some use of taliban to somebody..thats why they still exist..
The advantage i talk of to India with strinking a deal with Taliban or alike islam factions in pakistan is that India can make them not to look towards India and its muslims for what ever reason .
Apparently thats exactly what China did !!!

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

@Anitha and Rajeev,

Perhaps Islamic Nations are meant to Talibanize. We should quit trying to modernize a people who do not want to modernize or be forward moving. If they choose wanting to be RETROGRADE, let them roll backwards.

We have goto move forward, develop our spritual side, knowledge, imagination, music poetry, science, astronomy, medicine, aerospace, engineering and all matters which we identify with living in the modern world.

With technology comes a great responsibility. If your cultural and spiritual development is stunted, you should be denied technology. As countries Talibanize, deprive them of anything modern, let them regress to the days of the desert, while the rest of the world moves forward.

Ever heard of the term, living well is the best revenge? well. Give it 2 to 4 generations and you will have beyond night and day between western and non-western countries.

As Pakistan Talibanizes, we should confiscate the nukes, and this is the key linch pin in South East Asia, is those Pak Nukes. Deprive the society of all modern technologies and let it regress to the stone age.

We are tired of bearing the burden for those who can’t choose whether they want the dark ages or the modern age.
You can’t have it both ways, choose one.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

[…] After consulting with our Islamabad bureau, reading other news organisations’ reports and scouring the web, I have the feeling — familiar to anyone who has reported from that part of the world — that the more you look at this deal, the less you see besides the fact of the deal itself. The devil isn’t hiding in the details because there aren’t many there. He’s playing a bigger political game. […]

Posted by The more you look, the less you see in Swat sharia deal « GOATMILK: An intellectual playground edited by Wajahat Ali | Report as abusive

Indians have gone ape over peace in Swat and gone into geopolitical fantasy ovedrive, with dreams of Pakistani nukes being confiscated by God knows who!

To calm down and return to the topic, this deal just gives a temporary respite to the people of the region, while the govt/army plots a new strategy, probably based on successful campaigns in Bajaur and Khyber.

Posted by Aamir Ali | Report as abusive

I would like to contribute just a little bit
I am pushtoon and was brought up in that area, did my education and know the area and people very well
some of you people are harsh and some of you are not understanding the exact situation I am afraid
you see for many years many people in my area knew that these so called militants are connected to intelligence and that is plain truth
the only question I have and its an important one is that when we all knew that they both are connected (pak army and militants) then how on earth americans are not aware.
That is for sure they are, and so if they are then are they so impotent to be bullied and take for ride from pak army
dont think so, i dont know the right answer myself but am only assuming that they might be the part of this game as well
as far as why militants are there its simple, to keep india in check, to get aid, to have control of afghanistan
we pushtoons are the only one who suffers alot in this all
honestly my heart just burns when i remember my boyhood days which is about 10 years ago, there was nothing like that
punjabis are murderers, they now got alot of blood on their had, u can never trust them and i think america is their real ally

Posted by janan | Report as abusive

Janan’s words confirm my belief. Pakistan has been falling apart due to Punjabi arrogance. East Pakistan separated for the same reason. All the anti-Indian, macho attitude stems from the Punjabi heartland of Pakistan. During partition, it was Punjab where most of the massacres happened on the West side. This arrogance will never disappear. And it will accelerate the disintegration of Pakistan. This is not a wish. It is only a matter of time.

Posted by Mauryan | Report as abusive

“punjabis are murderers, they now got alot of blood on their had, u can never trust them and i think america is their real ally”

—punjabi’s are toddlers compared to the americans, whose history is blood-drenched with the genocide of 90million red indians, hiroshima-nagasaki, vietnam, iraq & now afghanistan, – your evaluation of the situation is spot-on – this taliban game is being scripted in the pentagon, washington & enacted in the pak-afghan region, pakistan was created to be a base & puppet of the western powers.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

We, in India, are stuck between 2 situations:

Bangladesh: first mutiny and now mass graves found.

Pakistan: Taliban in Swat & protests on Sarif ban.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

@this taliban game is being scripted in the pentagon, washington & enacted in the pak-afghan region, pakistan was created to be a base & puppet of the western powers.
-posted by Anup
@janan: on links of intelligence with milkitants

Anup: Is Pakistan state ignorant of this larger game? Or is it that Pakistan is controlled by select few often implanted by US (fact), so they damn care about regular Pakis–leaving them in a spot to explain all this on the blogs. If what is being said is true, then does it not mean that the real parties should be concerned and work together 1. India. 2. Pakistan 3. Afghanistan

That means relieving Pakistan from the cluthes of West-poor economy, hard to do. Foremost is the will of Pakistan. if they do, rest will follow.
So far, so bad…

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Anup and janan:
@this taliban game is being scripted in the pentagon, washington & enacted in the pak-afghan region, pakistan was created to be a base & puppet of the western powers.
-posted by Anup
-If this true, Pak knows the game and select few who control Pak (US implanted) selling the country and damn care about regular Pakis. Means nothing can happen if Pakistan does no will so. Then the real parties should work together and India & Afghanistan are 2 parties. Will happend only when Pak can be relieved from the clutches of the West. poor economy, hard to do.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Janan, you bought up a good point..Its not that US do not know what pakistan is up to…it would be a kinda uneasy marriage between CIA and ISI where both know the other will be a double crosser. US seems to only want to stay in the region as long as possible and pakistan is providing the reason for them to stay long as pakistan keeps braging that US cannot enter pakistan to fight militants, US has a reason to stay there in afghanistan and do nothing but wait for militants to cross over from pakistan and fight.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

US will not have much money to run the war in Afghanistan for too long. The economy is sinking. All the stimulus money is dissolving into empty space quickly. Obama will be under immense pressure to steer the country out of trouble. War in a remote location is the last in his priority. Mexico is rumbling with drug war. US military involvement seems inevitable.

Punjabi and Sindhi politicians have begun to clash openly in Pakistan now. Their military will move in soon and take over. Kayani is being pulled back by Washington from taking over. Most probably he will get replaced by someone else who will take over the power through a coup. You will see articles supporting it here.

Obama will be forced to do something very quick in this region. He has only two hands and there are too many leaks on his sinking ship. I won’t be surprised if massive aerial attacks happen over the Swat and North West regions of Pakistan by the US. This will help get the troops move in swiftly into those regions after driving the Taliban out of there for a short time. The Taliban will move into main street Pakistan and that will cause more chaos.

India should be very worried and should keep its military on full alert. Attacks will come from Pakistan to draw India into a desperate conflict, a nuclear one if possible.

We are about to enter dangerous times.

Posted by Mauryan | Report as abusive


Since Pakistan military just surrendered and would prefer spending its time figuring out ways to destabilize India, instead of fighting the Taliban, I think the U.S. should drop leaflets to those citizens in SWAT and tell them all to temporarily leave.

Then the U.S. should undergo a massive, relentless, night and day pounding of SWAT with thermo-baric high yield weapons. These have a very large horizontal spread zone and would be great for Taliban wiping.

Again, let me stress, the residents of SWAT should be given notice to leave before this happens.

Then send in 100,000 troops to secure this area and wipe it squeeky clean of taliban. Tell citizens to return, army leaves.


Don’t be ridiculous, Pakistani Army is scripting game of Taliban, the entire screenplay is from Islamabad. Don’t you remember, that double speaking Asfaq Kayani’s phone or email was tapped by the U.S., and they caught him saying that the Taliban leader was a strategic asset??

Well….you could say that the U.S. just got “Ash-Faq’ed” by Kayani.


Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Global Watcher et al
“NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan require 70,000 containers of supplies per year,”
“Taliban extracted payments of $1,000 per vehicle at the point of a gun.”
“Karachi port authorities made at least $260 per container in assorted port charges,”
“The National Logistics Corporation an ostensibly civilian entity staffed by serving and retired military personnel, and owned by the Pakistani army earns around $1500 per container for moving them to Afghanistan. Between 2002-2008, the NLC made at least $1.15 billion. And the meter is still running.”
“Pakistani government collects a fuel tax of the average fuel consumption per container per trip is 1200 litres, which amounts to $460 in taxes per trip.”
“The Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary force, collects a minimum of $150 per container in security charges from truckers,”
“Pakistani military establishment earnings—a rough estimate is around $500 million per year.”
“—and is in addition to the $10 billion that the Bush administration gave Pakistan over that period.”
!Only around 60 percent of the goods were actually delivered to their recipients, the rest being lost, stolen or destroyed en route.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

“Helicopter engines valued at $13 million were also hijacked. Taliban fighters gave Pakistani drivers certificates guaranteeing their trucks were requisitioned, not stolen.”
– remember some wise one’s mentioning talibanese economy & destroying the crops of poor farmers, rendering those who earn a dignified income as paupers…all this for the ‘western anal-eye’stists’, they are an insult to intelligence or either a cunning lot.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Global watcher writes: “Again, let me stress, the residents of SWAT should be given notice to leave before this happens.”

The problem is, as soon as the leaflets fall, the Taliban will also move out of the Swat valley into the surrounding urban areas of Pakistan. This is what the Taliban did when the US bombed Afghanistan. They moved into Pakistan. Once they are outside the Swat valley, they will take over whatever area they move into. The Pakistani military will surrender again and, the US bombardment would result in enhancing Taliban’s spread and hold over Pakistan. The military might switch sides and fight alongside Taliban against the Western aggressor. This is to save their skins in the long run, once the Americans leave (assuming this happens soon).

Bombing Swat valley will accelerate the spread of Taliban in Pakistan. The US needs help from India and Russia to make the offensive productive.

Posted by Mauryan | Report as abusive

@Don’t be ridiculous, Pakistani Army is scripting game of Taliban, the entire screenplay is from Islamabad. Don’t you remember, that double speaking Asfaq Kayani’s phone or email was tapped by the U.S., and they caught him saying that the Taliban leader was a strategic asset??
Well….you could say that the U.S. just got “Ash-Faq’ed” by Kayani.
– Posted by Global Watcher

– meaning Kayani is letting Pak run over by Taliban? For what greater interest than they already have? All said and done, what you said is a compliment to Kayani. Ofcourse the Pak-Tal links are known but I don;t think Army is inviting Taliban into SWAT and… It is just that army is clueless aganinst unconventional Taliban and making deals to salvaging the situtaion, keeping in mind that Taliban is strategic asset (your point about phone call and common sense too) against India for sure, as indicated by Taliban offer of vlointeering men and amunition in case of war against India. But Pakistan is not in TOTAL CONTROL of Taliban and if Taliban becomes more ambitious, Pak has no way except to deal with them.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

BHAKKAR- a gateway to Pakistan for Taliban. The people of BHAKKAR district have elected a chief minister of Punjab and a prime minister of Pakistan in different elections. Although a goup of local leaders sponcer the occasion and personally benefited by this gesture but basically the people of Bhakkar elected these leaders in hope of a better Bhakkar. It’s requested to the President, prime minister of Pakistan and chief minister of Punjab to consider upgrading Bhakkar as a divisional head quarter by appointing a commissioner to provide better governance, extra facilities and security in the area. There are news that religious violence and drug smuggling is increased in the area recently.Dera/ Bhakkar road link is already a busy drug traffic route of the world. Bhakkar is a gate way to the Punjab and Sind provinces for NWFP and Afghanistan. Bhakkar has been head quarters of divisional level organization of Thal Development Authority since 1952. TDA was abolish in 1971 on corruption charges against it’s high officials. Bhakkar is also a border district to Dera Ismail Khan and a capital city of Thal desert area-spread in six districts in Punjab. Thanking you, Khwaja Aftab Shah,Florida, U.S.A.

Posted by Kh. Aftab Shah, Orlando, USA | Report as abusive