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A Taliban Emirate

In Pakistan, Taliban groups are no longer confined to tribal areas and unsettled scrubland:

Even the Swat Valley, one of the most beautiful green highland landscapes on earth and until recently a popular tourist destination, is now home to Taliban FM radio stations which broadcast the names of new death squad targets most evenings, and justify the latest murders of women and girls.

In Green Square in the centre of Mingora, the valley’s largest city, executions are staged and bodies dumped within walking distance of police stations, to help local people understand the Taliban’s take on Sharia law.

Police officers in Swat have abandoned their posts in fear and diplomats say they can’t blame them – the state’s writ no longer runs here and its police officers do not receive regular salaries for fighting the Taliban.

The Telegraph’s Dean Nelson describes the area as al Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s own “emirate.” Which is not a bad way to look at things. If we’re going to step up aerial bombardment of these regions, questions of sovereignty will take center stage. Coming to grips with the fact that the Zardari government has lost jurisdiction over Taliban areas might help to preempt moral posturing in the West and soften the bluster out of Islamabad.



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