Media reports suggest that as the peace deal establishing Islamic law across Malakand takes hold, Pakistan’s Taliban-styled militants are setting up a stronghold across the Swat Valley, putting the contentious groups within 65 miles of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
One senior security official in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) said that some of the militants had taken effective control over Buner District, putting the factions within striking distance of the city of Mardan and potentially, Islamabad.
At this point, the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are patrolling the district while police are reportedly hiding out in their stations. TTP spokesman Muslim Khan says that they took over Buner because the government was failing to provide justice to the people. He says they intend to leave after Islamic law is implemented in the district, and that it did not signal a challenge to the government’s authority.