A million people are displaced from the fighting in the Swat valley in northwest Pakistan as the Pakistani army attempts to rout the Taliban. According to sketchy press reports “hundreds” of Taliban fighters have been killed and the army controls the valley again.
It is a worthy show of force that convinces the West that Pakistan is serious about fighting the Taliban. But is the army going to stay? Surely there are thousands, not merely hundreds of Taliban fighters. They are not going to retire. They will lie low until the Pakistan army retreats.
(Image: Huffington Post.com)
Blowing up villages is dramatic and accomplishes several objectives. It drives the enemy out, asserts the government’s authority, and assures continuing aid from the west. However it also creates millions of refugees and does nothing to solve the long term problem of Islamic radicalism in Pakistan. In the absence of a strategy, this may be the best that can be attained right now.