Swat news from Pakistan?

Stanley Kurtz:

If you thought the mainstream media didn’t want to report on the Iraq surge, try finding stories on the Pakistani army’s offensive in Swat. I know it’s an important issue, because the New York Times ran an op-ed yesterday claiming that Pakistan never does anything about Islamists in its northwest. So where is the Times’s coverage of the gains made yesterday by Pakistan’s army in Swat? Clearly the Times has been put to shame by the Washington Post, which devoted at least three whole sentences to the issue today.

How many people in the United States know that for the past week or so Pakistan’s army has been shelling Swat, attacking with helicopter gunships, cutting off food to the area, taking strategic hills, and reportedly, yesterday, driving Taliban opponents out of their headquarters and several key entrenched positions, and forcing them into the mountains. Much of the civilian population of the area fled some time ago, after being warned by the army of an imminent offensive. Where are the in-depth stories on all this in our mainstream outlets?

The reports of Pakistan’s apparently significant gains in Swat come from major sources, like Pakistan’s Daily Times, the widely quoted Malaysia Sun, China View, and of course the ever-popular Adnkronos. Granted, with the valley closed off and communications shut down, word from the front has been sketchy. Yet somehow these lesser-known sources managed to carry the story. Where are the West’s major media outlets?

The mainstream media has repeatedly made the supposed lack of fighting in Pakistan’s northwest into an issue. But in fact Pakistan has been carrying out a significant offensive in Swat for the greater part of the emergency. The Western media has simply ignored or downplayed it.

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Bill Roggio is a good source of information on developments in Pakistan. He was one of the first to write about the deterioration in the area. Kurtz's report suggest that Pakistan is at last engaged in the battle and is using its better troops to confront the enemy instead of the weaker regional forces who have a tendency to surrender quickly. What happens in Swat will tell us how serious Pakistan is about the changes in fighting the terrorist it is hosting.

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