Languages
Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 15:20 UK

Swat's Taleban expand operations

By Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Islamabad

Pakistani Taleban member
The Taleban have not yet heeded calls to disarm

Taleban militants operating in Pakistan's Swat region who agreed a peace deal with the government have expanded operations into nearby Buner.

Dozens of militants have been streaming into bordering Buner to take over mosques and government offices.

Buner is part of the Malakand region, which has just seen the implementation of Sharia law under the peace deal.

But the Taleban have mainly operated in Swat, where they fought the army from August 2007 until this year's deal.

Under the deal the Taleban were expected to disarm.

Buner district is only about 100km (62 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for North West Frontier Province, said he had received reports of the Taleban expansion.

Recent reports said the Taleban had ransacked the offices of international aid and development agencies working in Buner.

Some employees of the agencies were also briefly taken hostage before being released on Monday.

Patrols

The Taleban have banned the playing of music in cars and are also using mosques to invite local youth to join them.

Map
We implemented Sharia law as it was a demand of the people, not just the Taleban
Mian Iftikhar Hussain,
NWFP official

The Taleban have also started regular patrols in the district.

Buner's police chief, Rashid Khan, said the police had lodged an official complaint over the matter.

But the Taleban are not mentioned in the reports, which only names "unknown persons" as the culprits.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain maintains that the Taleban must disarm as agreed under the peace deal.

"Even Sufi Mohammad has said that there is no reason for the Taleban not to disarm," he said.

He was referring to the head of a local religious group who has been acting as the government's chief negotiator with the Taleban.

"We initially adopted the path of dialogue and reconciliation, but this is as far as we can go," Mr Hussain said.

"We implemented Sharia law as it was a demand of the people, not just the Taleban.

"If they continue with their activities, they will not have the support of the people.

"The majority of the people are now with the government. The government will not stand by and tolerate [the violation of] the peace deal."

The Taleban say they will not lay down their arms until Sharia is fully implemented.

Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Swat Taleban, said his movement's aim was the enforcement of Sharia law in all of Pakistan.



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific