Thousands of Fighters Train in New Taliban Haven

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2009 11:50 AM CDT
Thousands of Fighters Train in New Taliban Haven
Amir Izzat, center, spokesman of pro-Taliban cleric Sufi Muhammad, briefs the media about the negotiations between Muhammad and the government officials in the Swat valley, March 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

Militants have been pouring into Pakistan’s Swat Valley, thanks to a controversial peace deal between the Taliban and Pakistan’s government, the Wall Street Journal reports. President Asif Ali Zardari signed a bill yesterday to impose Islamic law in Swat, effectively sealing his agreement with the militants. Training camps have sprung up across the area, catering to some 6,000 to 8,000 fighters—double the number at the end of last year.

Many join the Taliban out of fear, since public floggings and even executions have become commonplace. “We are all frightened by this brutality. No one can dare to challenge them,” said one shop owner. And Taliban fighters have already violated the peace accord, invading a nearby village in Buner district. “We want Islamic sharia also to be enforced in Buner,” said a spokesman. “No one can force us out.” (More Taliban stories.)

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