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Swat Ceasefire Agreed

Posted by tothewire on February 22, 2009

‘Permanent Swat ceasefire agreed’

Taleban supporters in Swat, 21 February 2009
Taleban supporters are in plain sight in Mingora, in the Swat valley

Taleban rebels in Pakistan’s Swat valley have agreed to a “permanent ceasefire”, a senior official has said.

Syed Mohammad Javed, commissioner of Malakand, which includes Swat, revealed the deal but gave no details. There has been no confirmation from the Taleban.

Swat, once one of Pakistan’s most popular holiday destinations, has been blighted by violence since 2007.

Reports of the pact come a week after a 10-day ceasefire and a deal to implement Sharia law in parts of Swat.

Local Taleban met a senior elder, Sufi Mohammad, to discuss ceasefire terms before the agreement was announced, reports said.

Sufi Mohammad, a pro-Taleban cleric, is the father-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah, who has been waging a violent campaign to impose Sharia in the region.

Crossfire

Following the deal struck last Sunday to agree to introduce Sharia law, negotiations between Maulana Fazlullah and Sufi Mohammad now appear to have led to a more permanent deal.

Tribal areas map

“They have made commitment that they will observe a permanent ceasefire and we’ll do the same,” Mr Javed, the commissioner of Malakand, told reporters on Saturday.

A Taleban leader was expected to confirm the ceasefire later on Saturday, Reuters news agency reported.

Thousands of people have fled and hundreds of schools have been destroyed in Swat since a Taleban insurgency began in 2007.

The people of Swat have long been caught in the crossfire between the army and the Taleban.

More than 1,000 civilians have died in shelling by the army or from beheadings sanctioned by the Taleban. Thousands more have been displaced.

The Taleban now control the entire countryside of Swat, limiting army control to parts of the valley’s capital, Mingora.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk

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