After Swat, Taliban intends to spread influence over rest of Pakistan: CSM

April 16th, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Karachi, Apr 16 (ANI): Pakistan Taliban, which has gained a foothold in Swat, intends to spread its influence more broadly across Pakistan - and may face little resistance in some areas

After securing their demand for imposing Islamic law in the Swat Valley, the Taliban has moved into the neighbouring district of Buner and won the right to preach in mosques there.

The success in Buner came with little fighting - unlike in Swat, where they’d battled government forces on and off since 2007, The Christian Science Monitor.

Pakistan Taliban militants are still holding several areas of Buner, carrying out armed patrol to keep up a campaign for recruiting fighters, and having no impact of the enforcement of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, as demanded by their Swat counterparts.

This continues their expansion beyond their stronghold in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where Swat and Buner are located. The two areas lie about 60 miles from Islamabad, the capital.

Residents in Buner initially fought the incoming Taliban last week by forming a lashkar, or tribal militia. According to newspaper reports, they killed 20 militants. But they soon found themselves outnumbered as hundreds more Taliban fighters swarmed the area.

Buner tribal elders met with Taliban representatives twice in the past week at a jirga, or council. They guaranteed the militants the right to preach in mosques, as long as they did not threaten local residents or their property. The fighters agreed to leave by last Friday.

But that promise remains unfulfilled. Although more than 100 had departed as of Monday, armed Taliban militants are still roaming freely through marketplaces and mingling with local tribesmen, says Abdur Rahman Abid, a journalist based in Sultanwas, a village in Buner.

Government officials say they can’t prevent the peaceful entrenchment of the Taliban in Buner.

On Monday, according to Dawn, a leading English-language daily, Taliban members briefly detained a government official they had mistakenly identified as belonging to the lashkar, along with his security personnel. (ANI)

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