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Half a million flee Swat valley as Pakistan faces months of fighting

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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-08-09 11:17 PM
Original message
Half a million flee Swat valley as Pakistan faces months of fighting
Edited on Fri May-08-09 11:53 PM by Turborama
Source: The Independent

Prime Minister appeals for unity amid growing anxiety over spread of militants

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia correspondent

Up to 500,000 terrified residents of Pakistan's Swat valley have fled or else are desperately trying to leave as the military steps up an operation using fighter jets and helicopter gunships to "eliminate" Taliban fighters.

As the military intensified what may be its most determined operation to date against militant extremists, the UN said 200,000 people had already arrived in safe areas in the past few days while another 300,000 were on the move or were poised to leave.

The escalation of the operation came after Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousaf Gilani, made a public appeal for unity. In a televised address on Thursday evening, Mr Gilani said: "I appeal to the people of Pakistan to support the government and army at this crucial time. We pledge to eliminate the elements who have destroyed the peace and calm of the nation and wanted to take Pakistan hostage at gunpoint."

The struggle to drive the Taliban from Swat comes amid intense pressure from the US and deepening anxiety in Pakistan about the spread of the militants to areas no more than 60 miles from Islamabad. The government had initially hoped to bring an end to two years of violence in the former tourist haven by signing a controversial peace deal which saw it agree to the establishment of sharia law in the valley and in neighbouring areas. However,the ceasefire appeared to encourage Taliban militias and their fighters slipped into the adjacent area of Buner.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/half-a-mil...



Panic grips Pakistan's Buner as fighting intensifies

Until a few weeks ago no one outside Pakistan had heard of Buner in the North West Frontier Province but that's all changed now. More than 300,000 people have fled the area as troops battle Taliban fighters.

For all of this time, Al Jazeera has had a cameraman behind the frontlines, documenting the developments. Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reports from Peshawar, the main city of NWFP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqQ03pReHUM
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BunkerHill24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. "The struggle to drive the Taliban from Swat comes amid intense pressure from the US "
Well, I bet our CIA man in Pakistan has his hands full.
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friendly_iconoclast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. I'm sure an offer was made that they couldn't refuse
Saying more or less:

"Do this or we'll stand aside and watch while India does it for you..."
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. So, we have destabilized Iraq, Afghanistan, and now parts of Pakistan.
This may explain why:

( see legend below map)






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ronnie624 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. It definitely explains why.
And those who claim our intervention there is to free women from the Taliban, are lying propagandists. Declassified documents (to which I have posted links, but have now lost track of) show conclusively, that those who concocted the policies and direction of our intervention in the region years ago, were perfectly willing to see the destruction of civil society in pursuit of their goals. They didn't give a shit about women then, and they don't give a shit about them now.
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HeresyLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Do you have an url for that map?
Pretty please? I could really use it!
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Just right click the picture, and then hit properties

It will tell you were it came from.
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HeresyLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thank you!
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Oh DUH...so sorry...trying to multi-task...
tho the B click suggestion below is cool, too.

Here are a few sites I use to track the oil pipelines, thus the geo-political reasons for our
"saving the world for democracy" BS.

http://www.theodora.com/pipelines/world_oil_gas_and_pro...

http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/energy-s...

http://liesofbush.com/maps.shtml





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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Don't forget Georgia, and we'd really like to do Iran too.
Just think of the value of a US-friendly Iran.
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-09-09 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
10.  Civilians trapped in Swat fighting
Tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians in the Swat valley have been trapped amid fighting between government forces and the Taliban.

Bodies were reported to be lying in roads, homes have been destroyed and people have been cowering with no means of escape after the military imposed curfews across the region during the clashes on Saturday.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Peshawar, the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), said people were caught after the military imposed "unrelenting" restrictions across the region in an attempt to take control of areas held by opposition fighters.

He said: "No-one can get out; the wounded are lying at home. Most people are running out of supplies.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/20095915...
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