Islamism,  Pakistan

Swat valley exports

That “deal” with the Taliban in the Swat valley is looking more disastrous day by day. Here is the organiser of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, taking responsibility for the attack in Lahore yesterday:

“We wholeheartedly take responsibility for this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future,” said Mr Mehsud.

“It’s revenge for the drone attacks in Pakistan.”

He said he had set up a council of mujahedeen (holy warriors) bringing together different militant groups “to step up attacks on US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.”

He shrugged off the US bounty on his head, saying his militants would continue their assaults in Pakistan and Afghanistan and could even mount attacks in the United States.

“You can’t imagine how we could avenge this threat inside Washington, inside the White House,” he said.

“The maximum they can do is martyr me. We will exact our revenge on them from inside America.”

Mehsud is the head of the Tehreek-e-Taeiban Pakistan (TTP), or Movement of Taleban Pakistan, a loose umbrella group of factions which has carried out attacks across the country, although so far mainly in the northwest.

He is influential in both North and South Waziristan as well as the Bajaur tribal district to the north, where Pakistani security forces carried out a major offensive last month.

He is also influential in the Swat valley, which the Pakistani government recently handed over to Taleban control after its security services were driven out. Analysts say that this deal has enabled him to turn his attention to other parts of the country.

And here is yet more evidence of the harm caused by abandoning parts of Pakistan to the Taliban (via Mick Hartley).

Miliants in northern Pakistan have triggered a medical emergency by refusing to allow health officials to conduct a polio vaccination campaign.

Taliban militants in the former tourist destination of Swat Valley have obstructed officials from vaccinating over 300,000 children.

Militants have seized control of most of Swat and its capital, Mingora, and have extended their rule since striking a peace deal with the government and army earlier this year.

“There is a real emergency there. It is urgent to go in and vaccinate children,” said Dr Nima Abid, the Polio Team leader from the World Health Organisation in Pakistan.

Extremist clerics have used mosque loudspeakers and illegal radio stations to spread the idea that the vaccinations cause infertility and are part of a US-sponsored anti-Muslim plot.