Holbrooke casts doubt on success of Pakistan's Swat Valley offensive
The US envoy said it was unclear if the military had defeated the Taliban in the region or simply driven them underground.
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Also according to the Financial Times, Pakistani security officials say Taliban members in Swat may have gone into hiding among the civilian population and may continue to fight. That puts everyone from schoolgirls to truck drivers on NATO supply routes in danger, reports the newspaper.Skip to next paragraph
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Security forces acknowledge the danger of the Taliban melting away into the local population and staging guerrilla attacks. Military experts say it is difficult to identify who belongs to the ranks of the Taliban and what their strategic goals may be.
"The Taliban may not want to seize territory but simply to keep the government, the military and common people surrounded by fear," said a senior security official. "Their agenda is going to be to keep on reminding us they are a powerful force."
Taliban militants have also continued to attack supply convoys for Nato troops in Afghanistan. "As you can see, the Taliban are searching for any weak point they can find," said the senior security official.
Pakistan's lingering Taliban problem helped win it the dubious honor of the world's 10th most failed state in Foreign Policy magazine's 2009 Failed State Index. In its citation, Foreign Policy says the situation in Pakistan has "deteriorated" over the last 18 months, and voices concern that its internally displaced population is now under the care of "an increasingly fragile government."
The Taliban's tenacity has been on full display in the past 24 hours, which have seen an uptick in violence, reports Agence France-Presse. On Wednesday, more than 50 Taliban attacked and killed pro-Western militia leader, Khalilur Rehman, in his home in Shangla district, reports the news service. Shangla borders the location of the recent offensive but until Wednesday had seen little fighting itself.
Pakistani officials also say troops have killed four militants since Tuesday and arrested 21 others suspected of militant activity.