It’s Yet Another Pakistani Nuclear Anniversary Today
Eleven years ago a million Pakistanis danced in the streets after six nuclear weapons had been successfully tested. They had been told that making nuclear bombs was the biggest thing a country could do; Pakistan was now a great country. But this week’s North Korean nuclear test gave rock-solid proof that it was a lie.
North Korea is a country that no one admires. It is unknown for scientific achievement, has little electricity or fuel, food and medicine are scarce, corruption is ubiquitous, and its people live in terribly humiliating conditions under a vicious, dynastic dictatorship. In a famine some years ago, North Korea lost nearly 800,000 people. And it has an enormous prison population of 200,000 that is subjected to systematic torture and abuse. Continue reading
By ROHAN SULLIVAN –
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban have fled the Pakistani army’s advance on the main town in the Swat Valley, delivering the military a strategic prize in its offensive against militants in the country’s northwest, commanders said Saturday.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said an unknown number of militant fighters were able to escape Mingora town despite the military having it surrounded, raising the prospect that they could return to the fight elsewhere.
The military launched a major offensive about one month ago in the Swat Valley and neighboring areas to oust Taliban militants who had been extending their control over the northwestern region near the border with Afghanistan. Continue reading
The Pakistani army announced Sunday that troops had secured the key Taliban stronghold at Mingora, the district headquarters of Swat in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Security forces also had begun trucking in relief supplies for the 40,000 residents remaining there (the actual population of the town is about 300,000) following the battle. Mingora has sustained significant damage, with most buildings and shops in the town square destroyed, according to the BBC.
The collateral damage underscores the cost of wresting control of the town from the Pashtun jihadists. Significant conventional firepower appears to have been brought to bear. More important, however, is the fact that the Pakistani military’s ability to reclaim the town — while significant — does not mean that the Taliban were defeated. Many jihadists might have been killed in the battle, but a great many are likely to have escaped. Continue reading