How long will the Taliban lull last in Swat?

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Lahore, June 3 (ANI): The Pakistan Government might be busy claiming that it is all set to clear Mingora of terrorism, but have the Taliban been decisively defeated, a Time magazine article questions.

The report refers to a statement of military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, saying, "Once the army closed in on Mingora, the Taliban forces there "decided not to give a pitched battle" and mostly slipped away.

The Time report compares Pak-Taliban's current disappearing act with militant group's strategy in Afghanistan in 2001. When the US-backed forces arrived in Afghanistan, the Taliban declined to defend Kabul only to return later with a vengeance.

Trying to hold ground against a sustained onslaught of armour, artillery and air power is suicidal for an irregular force, the article opines.

Earlier, Taliban fighters in Swat and Buner had told journalists that they planned to retreat and preserve their forces. Meanwhile, they attacked in Lahore, Peshawar and some smaller towns far from Swat.

According to the report, the only lasting impact of the military offensive could be the humanitarian crisis with three million displaced civilians.

War-weary locals say the current campaign is the fourth army offensive against the Taliban in Swat, and each time, the Taliban have returned stronger than before and wreaked even more havoc on the local population.

Some local residents also blamed the civilian political order that allowed the Taliban to take Swat. They say that local administrative and security structures have been badly damaged by that takeover and the subsequent battle.

It is alarming to note that a charity linked to a banned militant group has come forward to help internally displaced people.

Soon, the 15,000 military troops deployed in Swat will be moved into South Waziristan. What will happen in Swat next? There is no safe bet, the reports says. (ANI)

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