"MARDAN, Pakistan — The dank and shadowed hallways of the Mardan Tuberculosis Hospital, crumbling relic of another age, were transformed here on Wednesday into a clinic of a more modern sort, when the refugees of nearby battles came streaming in the whole long day."
Excerpt: "If you do something wrong, if you miss your prayers or something like that, the Taliban will flog you in the street," he said. "We are Muslims. We don't have much problem with people trying to enforce the religion — it's when they cut the throats of the policemen that people become angry. Yes, they are doing that."
It's interesting that the refugee the author interviewed expressed the same suspicion of the Pakistani military with regards to their links (and seeming complacency--and according to some, outright support in the past) to the Taliban as I've read in "Descent into Chaos" by Ahmed Rashid and "Punishment of Virtue" by Sarah Chayes. How much of the offensive going on now in Swat and Buner is merely a show to to placate the U.S.? It could very well be that many soldiers do have a genuine mission to eliminate the threat, but is their toil and suffering merely a calculated setback for leadership in Pakistani military intelligence that still sees Islamic militants as a useful tool to covertly support Pakistani military interests in Kashmir and Afghanistan? I hope not--it's bad enough that civilians are caught in the middle. Perhaps the military's position on the issue will change as they have apparently lost control of the same militants they had fostered all these years (as it seems is widely believed)...
-- The Kettle Rumbles