Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome to the world of the "moderate" Taliban
Revisiting the Swat region of Pakistan

President Zardari of Pakistan insists that the truce was made with “moderates” in the region and his officials have even held it up as a model for other parts of Pakistan’s troubled northwest, which borders Afghanistan.

The deal was agreed with Sufi Mohammed, the leader of an outlawed Islamic movement who was recently released after six years in jail for leading thousands of his supporters to Afghanistan to fight American forces in 2001.

He is the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah, the 33-year-old cleric who leads the Pakistani Taleban in Swat and is known for propagating his strict interpretation of Islam through pirate FM radio broadcasts.

Pakistani officials argue that many residents of the Swat Valley, which only became part of Pakistan in 1969, have long demanded Sharia law because of the weakness of the secular state judicial system.

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