Attacks and kidnappings fuel fears of Taliban resurgence in northwest Pakistan

A Pakistani soldier overlooks Pakistan’s Swat Valley (May 2009). Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan last year, more militants have re-emerged in Swat and other border areas. Just last month, the Taliban captured an army and a police officer in the mountains around Swat.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in northwest Pakistan that killed eight people, including a prominent peace activist. The multiple killings are fueling fears of a new wave of terrorism in the region.

The car carrying peaceful activist Idris Khan was detonated with explosive devices in Kabal town located in the Swat Valley, last Tuesday. Among those killed in the attack were Khan, a former member of the Pakistan Peace Committee, and two police officers.

The attack comes at a time when concerns are rising about the return of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) to the Swat region in northwest Pakistan.

On the same day, seven employees of international telecom companies in the Swat valley were allegedly kidnapped by gunmen. They are reportedly demanding a ransom of 10 million rupees, around 42,000 euros.

Threatening and ransom messages

murad happy, a former minister and federal parliament member in Swat, told the editors that he had tried to persuade his government to stop the militants before they could settle down. The conflict scenario of 2007-2008 is feared when groups linked to the Taliban invaded most of the valley and killed singers, soldiers and opponents. However, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan last year, more militants have re-emerged in Swat and other border areas.

Taliban fighters come from neighboring Afghanistan. They blackmail people by sending threatening messages, and kidnap people for ransom…’, Saeed says.

He says locals will march to the capital of Islamabad in protest if the situation does not change. “We need peace and prosperity and we want the security services to stop the militants.” According to him, the local population wants to carry out military action to keep the terrorists out of the area. Said says that if the militants’ violence does not stop, the public reaction could be serious.

After the Pakistani Taliban occupied much of the Swat Valley in 2007-2008, they ruled the area illegally until 2010. When the Pakistani army ousted the group. Since then, the situation has somewhat stabilized, although the army is still very much present and accidents happen from time to time. In 2012, the then 15-year-old Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban. The local Taliban representative did not accept that she advocated for girls’ education in his area.

Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan last year, more militants have re-emerged in Swat and other border areas. Just last month, the Taliban captured an army and a police officer in the mountains around Swat.

The incident sparked a wave of fear among the people who had witnessed in the past the worst forms of terrorism.

We have seen security personnel, singers, political leaders and members of civil society executed in the main bazaar in Swat. The Taliban militants also prevented female doctors, nurses and teachers from working.”

Vaccines are prohibited

At the time, Taliban leaders banned polio vaccination, which paralyzed dozens of children. School-age girls and pregnant women suffered from a shortage of doctors and teachers during the rule of the Pakistan Taliban.

Some Taliban members from Afghanistan have arrived in the Swat Valley, but the situation is under control.”

According to eyewitnesses, the Taliban prevented hairdressers from shaving beards and women from leaving the house without being accompanied by a male relative.

On August 12, dozens of people staged street protests in various districts to protest the recent resurgence of the Pakistan Taliban. “We will not allow anyone to sabotage the hard-won peace in the region,” Shafiq, a university student, said.

On the same day, the local police admitted that “rascals” had appeared in a few mountainous areas of Swat, but they were prepared to deal with the situation. “Some Taliban members from Afghanistan have arrived in the Swat Valley, but the situation is under control,” a police statement said.

political plot

Even the former prime minister Omran Khan He expressed concern about the Taliban’s actions. In a televised address, he said the militants were threatening his ruling party’s lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of Pakistan’s four provinces where the Swat Valley is located.

“Local people remember Taliban activities in the past and decided to put an end to them.”

It is a conspiracy against the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Previously, the Taliban targeted security forces and politicians because they considered them loyal to the United States. But this government has long opposed Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States. So why are the Taliban targeting this regional government, Khan said?

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However, the locals remember the Taliban’s activities in the past and decided to put an end to it. The former prime minister said, “The militants will soon flee the area due to massive public pressure, especially through social media platforms.”

Mohammed AbdullahFor now, a political science teacher at Peshawar University says, the federal government is ignoring it. However, pressure on social media has become a vital force behind the protests.

Videos circulating on social media show a strong presence of militants in Swat that militant violence is likely to return if no action is taken. He adds that the hardliners want to implement their own Islamic law, which people will not allow.

dance and music

The last time, peace came only after massive sacrifices by the local population. They have been shamed, displaced or killed. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state government spokesperson said, Muhammad Ali SaifiHe says that every effort will be made to preserve peace and prevent terrorism.

“The government is taking measures in coordination with the security forces to stop the miscreants and protect the population,” he said.

analyst Abdulrahman From Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan explains that the original Taliban militants in the Swat Valley want to restore their illegal rule since they took power in neighboring Afghanistan. However, he believes that public protest will not allow them to realize their ambitions.

Swat is an area with many musicians and dancers, and people have not forgotten the days when they were publicly executed in the markets.

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