The Pakistani military offensive into the Swat Valley continued apace today, and the military reported at least 14 more militants were killed. The government has announced that a few thousand families have finally been allowed to return to the districts along the outskirts of the valley, though so far it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of civilians displaced since the attack began in mid-April.
The chief minister of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti declared that the war is “about to end,” a sentiment which the Pakistani government has been echoing since the Defense Minister said the war would be over in “two to three days” in May.
But the war endures, and every proclamation that it is “almost over” seems to be followed by another bombing, another offensive, more delays for the civilians waiting in the squalid refugee camps. Some of the Swatis tried to return home over a month ago, the military prevented them and ordered them back to the camps.
Most of the attention both internationally and internally is on the new offensive in South Waziristan. Yet while analysts watch and wonder if the military can handle the massive struggle there, few have noticed that despite all their predictions, they have been unable to return the Swat Valley to anything close to normalcy.