US ‘Concerned’ Over Swat Valley Peace Deal

"You Can't Deal With These People," US Envoy Insists

In an interview today on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, top American envoy Richard Holbrooke reiterated his “concern and confusion” over the Pakistani government’s peace deal with militant factions in the Swat Valley, saying that the recent comments by an unnamed chief spokesman “ought to be a wakeup call to everybody in Pakistan that you can’t deal with these people.”

In previous comments Holbrooke said he feared that the peace deal would “turn into a surrender.” The deal, which came after months of failed military offensives left the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan and other militant factions under de facto control of a significant portion of the restive valley, was announced in February.

A key aspect of the pact, which was embraced by significant portions of the local population, was to reform the corrupt, inefficient local judiciary by replacing it with aspects of Islamic law, which the militants had been offering in its rival court systems. After unanimous approval in the Pakistani National Assembly, President Asif Ali Zardari signed the pact into law Monday.

Holbrooke insists that the proximity of the Swat Valley to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad was a matter of further concern, and has said that the $5 billion already pledged to Pakistan is insufficient.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.