Muslim Khan, the spokesman for the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s Swat chapter announced today that due to the ongoing military offensives, the group will formally withdraw from the Swat Valley peace deal and start combating the government forces directly.
Though the TTP was a secondary party to the much vaunted peace deal between the Pakistani government and the Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM), which the government insists it is respecting, TTP positions have been attacked in growing numbers in recent days. The group’s auxiliaries in Buner have been engaging in open combat with security forces, seizing the town of Sultanwas and capturing scores of police and paramilitaries.
Now, TTP forces are patrolling openly across the Swat Valley, and whereas the government was previously struggling with only a small fraction of the region’s chapter, they now face the full force of the group attacking them openly. The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) Information Minister Ifthkar Hussain says that they will not tolerate violations of the deal.
Yet the other, even more influential group in the region, the TNSM, is increasingly at odds with the government’s attacks as well. They’re also irked at the NWFP government for side-stepping the ongoing negotiations about the proper judges for the appellate courts and unilaterally appointing their own choices. Minister Hussain says its solely the government’s decision who to appoint – leaving one to wonder why they engaged in the dialogue in the first place.