The Taliban are moving closer to the Pakistani capital stoking fears about security in the country.
Pakistan ally Washington, for whom the country plays a vital role in efforts to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan, has expressed grave concern. The Taliban now control the northwestern Swat valley – including cities like Buner less than 100 kilometres from Islamabad – where they have been allowed to establish an Islamist administration and Sharia courts. The US Secretary of State was blunt in her assessment of the situation: “I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists.” In a strategic assault overnight, armed militants attacked a lorry terminal in northwestern Pakistan near the city of Peshawar burning five tankers carrying fuel to NATO troops in Afghanistan. As attacks like this one multiply, NATO commanders are having to look for alternative routes into landlocked Afghanistan to supply their troops.