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Eyewitnesses: Inside Swat

Article Date: 
21 May 2009

The military operation against Taliban militants continues in Pakistan's north-western district of Swat. It is hard to get news from the war zone, other than the official version. The communications network has been destroyed and all journalists have left the region. But the BBC Urdu service's Abdul Hai Kakar has managed to speak to two people in the main town of Mingora. The names have been changed for security reasons.

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What is the difference between a civilian and terrorist in the subcontinent?

Now we know the civilian death toll in Sri lanka since Jan 2009 of over 7000 dead is bigger than wars this year in Iraq, Pakistan, Gaza and Afghanistan combined.  Will Pakistan outperform this feat?

According to Sri Lanka's Human Rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe in a live press statement

Appeal For Donations for Internally Displaced Persons in Pakistan

We're hoping to write something longer on Pakistan soon, but I thought I would pass on this appeal in the meantime.  I don't know enough about this situation and haven't researched many of the organisations below to understand how relief fits in with my politics here, so please act on and send on as and how you see fit.  You can see the original unexcerpted text at the website linked above.

Karzai's rival on what to do with Taliban and other problems in Afghanistan

Those of us who have lived in "Failed states" would find this fascinating.  George Packer from the New Yorker reports on an interview with former finance minister Ashraf Ghani who is running for presedential elections in August (this seems to be the year of wars and elections.  Israel, Sri lanka, India and now it seems Afghanistan).  Ghani's perception of Karzai's failings?

Pakistan bows to demand for sharia law in Taliban-controlled Swat Valley

Article Date: 
14 Apr 2009

In Swat, some residents celebrated in the streets, hoping the law would herald a return of peace to the violence-ridden valley, home to a ski resort and a one-time honeymooners' favourite. But that outcome was far from certain.

Human rights activists condemned the law, worrying it would presage the spread of Taliban rule to other parts of Pakistan. "I don't think this law is going to appease the Taliban. It's just going to give them a taste of victory," said Asma Jahangir, the United Nations special rapporteur on religĀ­ious freedoms.

Article Author: 
Declan Walsh
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