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Swat: 'Who is next to be killed?'

1 September 09 17:01 GMT

Many people who fled fighting between the army and the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat valley returned to their homes over the summer after assurances of improved security.

The army says it is in control but violence has continued. Dozens of bodies of suspected militants have been found in recent weeks. Swat residents give the BBC their views.


Habib, a Swat villager, says there is a huge shift of opinion in Swat.

"I belong to the village of Akhoon Kalay Kabal. No house was spared from destruction in our village. When the Taliban were in power, they burned people's houses. They even looted and then burned the house of the superintendent of the police. They didn't give a reason for these attacks.

See a map of the region

The rest of the destruction was completed by the army's shells and missiles. After the Taliban's defeat, the army came in and burnt 19 houses of militants. So there is nothing left.

At the moment the army is busy capturing Taliban fighters, killing them and burning their houses. There is a big change now - ordinary people trust the army like never before. People changed their minds and now they are against the Taliban and help the army in capturing militants.

The Taliban made the mistake of attacking common people, their homes, their property. That turned opinion against them and played into the hands of the army.

It's now part of life in the Swat Valley - when we get up from sleep we see bodies killed by somebody. Nobody knows who is behind this. What's certain is the tremendous amount of insecurity in people. We don't know who will be the next one to be killed.

Can you imagine this to be part of your life? How would you be able to live? And what effect will this have on young children?

We are going through the worst period of Swat history. From the safest and most progressive part of Pakistan Swat was turned into the most unsafe place on earth. We are going back to the Stone Age in the 21 Century!

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Majid's father has decided to move the family and the business out of Swat due to the security situation there and settle down in Peshawar. He visited Mingora last week.

"My whole extended family and friends are in Mingora. We moved to Peshawar in May but I go back to Mingora from time to time.

I keep in touch with my family and friends back in Mingora and I went there last week. The security situation now is a lot better than before. The place is much safer and people are happier. Before the army offensive you could see the Taliban, their presence was obvious.

Now you no longer see them. The army claims it has driven them away, but people have doubts. The very fact that the army is on every corner means that there are still problems.

The army is busy now destroying houses of militants. If bodies are turning up - that is definitely the work of the army. Local people can't be responsible for this.

There is still doubt and worry. There was another suicide explosion a few days ago. It means the militants are still at work.

I believe the army is pretty much controlling the situation and they will eventually drive the Taliban out, but it will take some time.

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A Swat resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that he and the majority of people around him are satisfied with the army's work.

"We are very happy that the army has flushed out the Taliban from Swat. There were doubts earlier about the motives of the army, but now it is certain and clear that they came here to protect us and they did a good job of it.

We want them to remain in Swat to keep us safe from the Taliban. In Swat and northern areas of Pakistan, most people are against the Taliban while the vast majority are satisfied with what the army has done here.

Have you seen any protest against the army in Swat? We hugged them and thanked them on our independence day.

As for the dead bodies which have been appearing lately - this is the natural reaction of local people against the militants.

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