Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says that, while he signed the Swat Valley peace treaty into law last month after the National Assembly unanimously supported it, he did so with serious reservations. Not just that the United States was so vehemently opposed to the peace but because, the president insists, he knew it wouldn’t work.
Indeed, Zardari slammed the very concept of negotiation with the various Taliban-styled militants in the nation’s northern regions, declaring “I don’t think there’s any good Taliban.” Yet his government defended the peace deal just weeks ago, insisting it was the nation’s only alternative after having proven woefully incapable of defeating the factions in the Swat Valley militarily. Times have changed, now that same government facing those same factions vows to kill thousands of them, and has torn the valley asunder to that end.
Not that he intends to do so alone. Zardari says that since the Taliban were created by several world powers to fight the Soviet Union, those powers owe Pakistan a cure to the “cancer” they helped create. It should be noted that while the Taliban government of Afghanistan has fled into parts of Pakistan the groups being fought in the Swat Valley, the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Swat branch and Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) are almost exclusively home-grown phenomena and are not directly affiliated with the Afghan group.