Pakistan makes a Taliban truce, creating a haven
The government announced Monday that it would accept a system of Islamic law in the Swat valley and agreed to a truce, effectively conceding the area as a Taliban sanctuary and suspending a faltering effort by the army to crush the insurgents.
The concessions to the militants, who now control about 70 percent of the region just 100 miles from the capital, were criticized by Pakistani analysts as a capitulation by a government desperate to stop Taliban abuses and a military embarrassed at losing ground after more than a year of intermittent fighting. About 3,000 Taliban militants have kept 12,000 government troops at bay and terrorized the local population with floggings and the burning of schools.
The accord came less than a week before the first official visit to Washington of the Pakistani army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, to meet Obama administration officials and discuss how Pakistan could improve its tactics against what the American military is now calling an industrial-strength insurgency there of Al Qaeda and the Taliban militants.