Death for Taliban found in Swat

Sunday Times:

NEARLY three months after the Pakistani army retook the Swat valley from the Taliban, corpses are appearing on the streets almost every day.

This time the killings are about revenge. The bodies are suspected militants or Taliban collaborators. Their killers are alleged to be the security forces, although this is denied officially.


The body of Afzal Khan, who was in his mid-thirties and lived in the village of Salampur, is one of dozens that have been found since last month. Khan used to serve food to the Taliban and was friendly with Shah Dau-ran, their commander. Dau-ran was killed in June.


Some families have protested that innocent relatives have been targeted: the Ullah brothers were found blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their backs, after they had been killed with a shot to the head. “My sons had nothing to do [with the Taliban]. They were innocent,” said their mother, Bakht Begum.

The reprisals are a grim echo of the Taliban’s own reign of terror. However, many believe they are the only way to stamp out the Taliban forever.

“They must be punished for their atrocities, for beheading people, lashing girls and destroying schools,” said Ameer Muhammad, the owner of a shop selling records. The Taliban had warned him to close his business.

Zahoor, a security guard in Mingora, said he he had not been able to sleep since the Taliban killed an innocent man in the street near his home.

“Those responsible for such acts do not deserve any other treatment than the one being given to them,” he said.

The Taliban had a brutal reign and now they are suffering the consequences and receiving the same mercy they exhibited. It is also a message for the Taliban that still resist the government elsewhere in the country. Some hearts and minds are not deemed worth persuading. That is too bad. Counterinsurgency doctrine suggest there are better ways to clear the enemy.


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