Thursday, April 23, 2009

Danger in Pakistan

The Pakistani Taliban is consolidating control of the Buner district, just 70 miles from Pakistan's capital:

Last year when the militants encroached into Buner, killing policemen, the local people fought back and forced the militants out. But now, with a beachhead in neighboring Swat and a number of training camps for fresh recruits, the Taliban was able to carry out what amounted to an invasion. A local politician, Jamsher Khan, said by telephone: “We felt stronger as long as we thought the government was with us, but when the government showed weakness, we too stopped offering resistance to the Taliban.”

The advance had been building for weeks, with the assistance of sympathizers and even a local government official who was appointed on the recommendation of the militants, a senior law enforcement official said. But Buner’s final capitulation was rapid.

On Wednesday, officials and residents said that heavily armed Taliban militants had begun patrolling villages and that the local police had retreated to their station houses in much of the district. Staff members of local nongovernmental organizations had been ordered to leave, and their offices were looted, residents said. Pakistani television news channels showed Taliban fighters triumphantly carrying office equipment out of the offices of the organizations.

I've read that one of the methods that Pakistan uses to secure its nuclear warheads is keeping the various components in separate locations, but that they've been reluctant to share those locations with the U.S. More on that here.

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