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Taliban melting into local population in Swat to fight another day : Report

Washington, May 23 (ANI): Even though the Pakistan Army has claimed that it has regained control of some of the major areas of the Swat Valley by flushing out the Taliban from the region, experts believe that it is a daunting task for the Army to quell the insurgents completely, as they are using the local population as their shield and dissolving amongst the civilians, only to resurface later.

Pakistan commanders, who visited a base camp recently situated in the Valley, also admitted that regaining full control of Swat will probably take months and involve intense battle with the ‘well-trained and well-funded’ militants,’ The Washington Post reports.

They believe that the Taliban is melting back into the civilian population so that they can emerge later and fight once again, as they have been doing for the past 18 months.

“You cannot distinguish between a Talib and a normal citizen. The area is densely populated, and it’s very easy for the terrorists to hide,” Major General Sajjad Ali, who commands troops in the northern Swat, said.

The Taliban had violated the peace norm earlier, and there is not even a slightest of chance that it would accept a cease-fire this time around.

However, the Army appears pledged to root out the insurgents from the country, much to the relief for the international community.

“The army will pursue its operation until ‘the logical end’, which is when all the terrorists and militants are eliminated in Swat,” Major General Ali said.

The Swat offensive has taken a heavy toll on civilians, resulting in exodus of thousands of people, but it has also bolstered hopes in Pakistan and foreign countries that the government will not allow fundamental Islamist forces to expand their writ in the country that posses nuclear weapons.

But residents who have been forced to flee their home have claimed that  the army’s promises to restore peace in the Valley is a mere hog wash, as the security forces have failed to target the top commanders of the Taliban who are actually leading the insurgents.

“No top commander has been killed. They are alive, but they are underground,” said one of the displaced Swat resident, Badsha Syed. (ANI)

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