Pakistan puts bounty on Taliban leader

AFP:

Pakistan stepped up its offensive against the Taliban on Friday, slapping a 600,000-dollar price on the head of a firebrand rebel and claiming to have captured another militant stronghold.

The government hopes the bounty will help it get -- dead or alive -- Maulana Fazlullah, a hardline Taliban cleric and commander who masterminded a two-year uprising in the northwest Swat valley to enforce sharia law.

The interior ministry published names and mugshots of "miscreant-terrorists" from the Taliban leadership in Swat, offering 50 million rupees (616,500 dollars) for Fazlullah and 10 million rupees each for 15 of his bearded aides.

Fazlullah led thousands of supporters, a mixture of hardcore ideologues and disenfranchised young men, in a brutal campaign that beheaded opponents, burned scores of schools and fought against government troops since November 2007.

...

He is a bad guy who deserves to have a wanted poster. This is another sign that Pakistan is finally getting serious about the threat posed by the Taliban. Pakistan has also run a more effective media campaign against the Taliban than the US has. We have been far to passive in dealing with Taliban information operations such as their civilian casualty scam which is cynical in the extreme. In contrast the Pakistan military has been outspoken in referring to the Taliban abuse of non combatants.

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