Pakistan Routs ‘Cancer’ Of Taliban Fighters
The Pakistani government has appealed to the international community for support – as it claimed virtual success against the Taliban in the Swat Valley.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani went on national television to say the Taliban had been routed in the former tourist spot.
He went on to say tens of thousands of people who had fled the fighting would begin to return home soon.
The announcement came at the end of a three-day visit to Pakistan by British Foreign secretary David Miliband – his fifth to the country since he took office.
In an interview with Sky News just before he left, the Foreign Secretary said the outside world and Britain all had a responsibility to support Pakistan in its battle against extremism.
He said he had noticed a real change in attitude by the Pakistani authorities to grasp the nettle of extremism and tackle the problem head on.
But he acknowledged that Britain and the outside world bore a great responsibility to support and help the civilian government in its efforts.
“I think Pakistan has looked at itself in the mirror and it’s seen real danger,” he said.
“Real danger to Pakistan from the Pakistan Taliban – and the scale of the losses for the Pakistan army is very great indeed and not just the 800 to 900 lost in the last year.
“But the 160 to 170 soldiers or so it has lost in the last two months.”
He said pictures and reports by Sky News which showed the Taliban taking over Swat Valley had contributed to the massive change in public and military perception in the country.
“You (Sky News) have shown pictures from the Swat Valley of insurgents, of militants virtually running the town, running the Valley.
“Now the Army is back in control and we are talking about the refugees being sent back in the next couple of weeks. This is a major change.”
A clearly pleased Rehman Malik – the head of the Interior Ministry in Pakistan and responsible for internal security – told Sky News: “This is good news for us, and good news for the world.
“This has shown we have the will. The extremists need to be flushed out and they have been. We have done it – but not with the desired level of capacity.
“This is a cancer and Pakistan cannot handle it alone. We need international support.”
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