Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pakistan declares war on its homegrown Islamic extremists

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told his nation on Thursday that a major military offensive will be launched against Taliban guerrillas who have seized control of the Swat valley, a region in Pakistan about 100 miles north of Islamabad. The PM said that the government had tried peaceful negotiations with the Taliban, but that approach had failed.

The government has reached a point where it “believes that decisive steps have to be taken,” the PM said, and that the army would now “eliminate the militants and the terrorists.”

The Taliban, which are linked to al Qaeda, have seized control of the Swat valley in northeastern Pakistan, an area bordering Afghanistan. They are similar to the Afghan Taliban, but are said to be even more extreme.

One can only hope that this development does not precipitate terrorist attacks here in the West. Although the Pakistani Taliban are not believed to have the capacity to strike overseas, they could do so with the cooperation of al Qaeda.

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