"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Plan for Attack on Norwegian & Swedish Embassies Foiled in Pakistan

A man carrying two tonnes of explosives has been arrested in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Police report that he intended to attack the Norwegian and Swedish embassies because both countries have a presence in Afghanistan.

Initial reports suggest that he may have planned to attack various other European and Western embassies.

I suppose this report is telling, because the Pakistani government has finally recognised that terrorism is a greater existential threat to them than neighbouring India.

Many ordinary Pakistanis are beginning to turn against the terrorists too; The Times reported yesterday that a Taliban commander was shot dead and several of his men burned to death when terrorists killed a number of people in a mosque bombing - then demanded the widows they had just made for 'marriage'.

It was the Taleban’s demand to take the women they had widowed that was the last straw for the residents of Upper Dir.

When the militants arrived in their mountainous corner of northwestern Pakistan in February the locals cautiously welcomed them, thinking they were waging jihad against foreign troops in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Some even joined them, attracted by the five or six pounds a day they paid. Over the next three months, however, Upper Dir’s residents were increasingly angered by the Taleban’s criminal activities and disrespect for local customs, according to residents and Pakistani officials.

In early June elders asked them to leave the five villages they had occupied. The Taleban responded on June 5 with a suicide attack on a local mosque that killed 39 people. The next day they told the elders to give them the women who had been widowed in the attack.

Instead, the elders summoned men from 30 surrounding villages, told them to fetch their weapons (many men in the region own a gun), and launched a “lashkar” — or tribal militia — of more than 1,000 people to drive out the Taleban.

They shot dead the local Taleban leader — who went by the name of Champo — burnt several more to death in the houses that they had occupied, and surrounded the remaining 150 in a mountainside village, where they were still under siege yesterday.

“Don’t call them Taleban because they are gangsters, looters and plunderers,” Omar Rehman, 35, a farmer and member of the lashkar, told The Times.

“The Taleban should be those who are getting religious education peacefully.” Upper Dir’s lashkar is the most dramatic illustration of the public backlash against the Taleban that has accompanied the army’s attack on the militants in the northwestern region of Swat since late April.

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