James Forsyth

The most worrying story you’ll read today

The most worrying story you'll read today
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The New York Times carries a really important piece today on how the Taliban are exploiting social grievances in Pakistan. I would urge all Coffee Housers to read it. Here are the two key sections:

“In Swat, accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.

To do so, the militants organized peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, the residents, government officials and analysts said.

The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.

Analysts and other government officials warn that the strategy executed in Swat is easily transferable to Punjab, saying that the province, where militant groups are already showing strength, is ripe for the same social upheavals that have convulsed Swat and the tribal areas.”

The situation in Pakistan is bad and getting worse. There has been an average of five terrorist incidents a day for the last 14 months. Pakistan failing would, as David Kilcullen has said, make everything else we’ve seen so far in the war on terror seem very small.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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