Speaking in India on the last leg of his trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the region, Richard C. Holbrooke, did not address the truce directly but said the turmoil in Swat served as a reminder that the United States, Pakistan and India faced an “enemy which poses direct threats to our leadership, our capitals, and our people." . .
“The Taliban was trying to take advantage of the local movement and desire for a judicial system,” the official said. The official insisted that the Obama administration, informed of the accord, “showed understanding of our strategy.”
On Monday, a White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said only, “We have seen the press reports and are in touch with the government of Pakistan about the ongoing situation in Swat.”
The Pakistani government will allow this region to be ruled by harsh Sharia law rather than the civil law. For the peaceful people who call this area home, the consequences could not be worse. A recent New York Times article depicts what is happening in the region based on accounts of recent Pakistani immigrants to our country:
Pakistani immigrants from the Swat Valley, where the Taliban have been battling Pakistani security forces since 2007, say some of their families are being singled out for threats, kidnapping and even murder by Taliban forces, who view them as potential American collaborators and lucrative sources of ransom. Some immigrants also say they, too, have been threatened in the United States by the Taliban or its sympathizers, and some immigrants say they have been attacked or kidnapped when they have returned home.
The threats have brought an added dimension of suffering for the immigrants, who say fresh reports of hardship arrive here every day, sometimes several times a day, and spread quickly among the several thousand Swati immigrants in the New York region: families driven from their villages, houses being destroyed, relatives disappearing. The fate of the valley dominates conversation among the exiles.
“It’s 24/7,” said Zakrya Khan, 30, the owner of two gyro restaurants in New York whose staff of 15 is almost entirely Swati. “This is their only concern now.”
By not standing up for the rights of the people in the Swat Valley region, the Obama administration is causing danger to every person living in the region with American ties. "Though every community of exiles from a conflict-ridden country suffers when relatives who remain behind are caught in the fight, the immigrants from Swat also bear the burden of believing that their presence in America is endangering their relatives back home, where the Taliban have imposed their authority over vast swaths of the region, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad," the NY Times says. It's hard to believe that this region was Pakistan's most popular tourist region until the Taliban started moving into the region a couple of years ago. "But the tourism industry has evaporated amid the Taliban’s uprising, and by some estimates, hundreds of thousands of residents have abandoned their homes, fleeing for Mingora or other regions of Pakistan," the NY Times observes.
This development happens just as Obama prepares to deploy an additional 17,000 American troops to neighboring Afghanistan. Allowing the Taliban to gain a foothold in Pakistan makes absolutely no sense. The possibility of Pakistan becoming an Islamic republic is a far greater threat to world stability right now than the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon. The country is said to have 60 nuclear warheads. The country's top nuclear scientist has been identified as a part of an international nuclear proliferation network and other scientists are believed to have Al Quaeda ties. Have we learned nothing from the history of dealing with these terrorists?