Pakistan has sent troops to its northwestern province which has been virtually taken over by the Taliban amid growing fears their presence will threaten stability in the region.
Pakistan ally Washington, which fears the unrest could spread to neighbouring Afghanistan, has denounced Islamabad’s attitute, saying it has abdicated to the Islamists. The Taliban now control the whole of the Swat valley, where they have been allowed to establish an Islamist administration and Sharia courts by the government. In return they were supposed to disarm but never did. In a strategic assault early on Thursday, 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 of this kind multiply, NATO and US commanders are having to look for alternative routes into landlocked Afghanistan to supply their troops.