Just a day after the Pakistani military declared the Swat Valley’s largest city Mingora fully under control, journalists reported seeing corpses laying exposed in town, while residents who had been unable to flee the offensive scrambled through empty marketplaces, desperately searching for food.
The offensive hasn’t even been going on for a month, but it has displaced millions and left the hundreds of thousands who stayed behind on the brink of starvation. For residents in the picturesque Swat Valley, once a popular tourist attraction, a return to normalcy and peace can’t come soon enough.
The Pakistani military says it expects to have complete control over the valley in the next two or three days. Rectifying the humanitarian disaster in the region, however, is likely to take months or even years for the struggling Pakistani government.
But even as President Asif Ali Zardari looks to expand the war throughout the nation’s frontier, militants in South Waziristan are unwilling to wait for their turn and have been launching attacks on military encampments in the area.