I’m currently working with an international organization in Mardan, Swabi, Swat, Buner and D.I. Khan– all conflict affected areas of Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa (KP). I’ve literally been living in these areas since January this year and have tons of stories to share but time constraints have not allowed me to write about my experiences as yet.
I do not favor religious parties and groups such as Taliban. I have always not only condemned but also never even become sympathetic to any of their socio-economic or religious justifications for violence. Similarly, I do not agree with the wholesale bombardment of innocent towns and villages of KP, our military does not have a great track record of its operations inside and outside the boundaries of Pakistan.
Nevertheless, the point I would like to make is that people of Swat and Buner, across the board, including schools teachers, doctors, small business owners, landless peasants, manual laborers, government employees and even the religiously inclined do not believe there was any alternative to pushing out the Taliban other than a military operation. Urban and rural poor that I have met in health facilities of Qambar and Charbagh, two core headquarters of the Taliban in Swat, unanimously stated that we expected the Taliban to be like our brothers, to assist us in rooting out corruption and implementing shariah law.