Taliban har inntatt et nytt område sør for Swat-dalen, kalt Buner, og står nå bare ti mil fra hovedstaden Islamabad. Utenriksminister Hillary Clinton sier en løs Taliban-koalisjon er en trussel mot hele verden og anklager Pakistans regjering for ikke å kjenne sitt ansvar.
Etter at president Asif Ali Zardari inngikk en våpenhvileavtale med Taliban i februar og for ti dager siden undertegnet en lov om innføring av sharia i Swat-dalen, har motstanden mot Talibans fremrykking, smuldret hen. Lokale ledere sier de var forberedt på motstand, men da regjeringen inngikk våpenhvileavtale og sendte soldatene tilbake til barakkene, oppga de håpet.
Buner, home to about one million people, is a gateway to a major Pakistani city, Mardan, the second largest in North-West Frontier Province, after Peshawar.
«They take over Buner, then they roll into Mardan and that’s the end of the game,» a senior law enforcement official in North-West Frontier Province said. He asked that his name be withheld because was not authorized to speak to the news media.
Lokale NGO’er har fått beskjed om å stenge og kontorene deres er allerede plyndret.
The staff members of local nongovernmental organizations have been ordered to leave, and their offices have been looted, they said. Pakistani television news channels showed Taliban fighters triumphantly carrying office equipment out of the offices of the organizations.
«They are everywhere,» one resident of Daggar, Buner’s main city, said by telephone. «There is no resistance.»
Hillary Clinton var meget direkte og tydelig da hun for første gang møtte utenrikskomitern i Representantenes hus onsdag.
«I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists,» Mrs. Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill.
She added that the deterioration of security in nuclear-armed Pakistan «poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world.»
«I think that we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by continuing advances, now within hours of Islamabad, that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear-armed state,» Clinton said in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday.
«I don’t hear that kind of outrage and concern coming from enough people that would reverberate back within the highest echelons of the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan,» she added.
Lokale krefter i Buner greide å slå tilbake et Taliban-fremstøt i fjor. Nå har Taliban kunnet rykke frem fra Swat. De har opprettet treningsleire i Buner, og mobilisert lokal støtte. Blant visse offiserer i hæren skal det være bekymring.
But with a beachhead in neighboring Swat, and a number of training camps for fresh recruits, the Taliban were able to carry out what amounted to an invasion of Buner.
«The training camps will provide waves of men coming into Buner,» the senior law enforcement official said.
The Taliban expansion into Buner has begun to raise alarm among the senior ranks of the Pakistani Army, said a Western official who was familiar with the Pakistani military.
USAs forsvarssjef Mike Mullen kom til Islamabad igjen onsdag.
Fra Buner har Taliban nærmest fri bane til Islamabad. Når de kommer ned fra fjellene er det slettelandskap og en fire felts motorvei.
One of the major concerns is that from the hills of Buner the Taliban have access to the flatlands of the district of Swabi, which lead directly to the four-lane motorway that runs from Islamabad to Peshawar, the capital of North-West Frontier Province.
Man får inntrykk av at ting kan rakne raskt. Det finnes ingen motstandsvilje og handlekraft på sentralt hold. Det utløser kaos, forvirring og handlingslammelse ute i distriktene. Hva skal vanlige mennesker stille opp?
The Pakistani military does not have a presence in Buner, Pakistani and Western officials said. The main government authority in Buner is the police, who have become demoralized by their low pay and lack of equipment in the face of the Taliban, Pakistani police officials say.
The Taliban have set up checkpoints in a number of villages in Buner, intimidating policemen and forcing them into their police stations, residents in Daggar said by telephone.
The militants were patrolling the bazaar in Daggar, residents said. Women, who used to move freely around the bazaars, were scarcely to be seen, they said. Those who did venture out were totally covered.
Taliban viser sitt sanne ansikt når de stenger religiøse helligdommer for sufi-islam. Dette gir dem ikke poeng hos lokalbefolkningen, for hvem helligdommene er av stor betydning, både religiøst og økonomisk.
One of the big attractions of Buner for people from all over Pakistan, the shrine of the Sufi saint Pir Baba, was now in the control of the militants, the senior law enforcement official said.
Last year, the villagers around the shrine kept the Taliban at bay when the militants threatened to take it over.
But in the last 10 days, the Taliban closed the shrine and said it was strictly off limits to women, the senior official said. The militants are now patrolling it.