Taliban demands for cash stir fears of comeback in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

A policeman stands guard at a market in Mingora, in Swat Valley

From Reuters:

“When Pakistani shopkeeper Abdur Rahim’s phone rang in mid-October, he was shocked to hear the voice of a senior militant commander demanding protection money from him and his fellow traders in the Swat Valley.

The menacing call was taken seriously in a northern pocket of the country where Pakistani Taliban insurgents took partial control in 2007, before being ousted two years later in a major military operation hailed as a telling blow against Islamist violence.

Locals fear that recent threats of extortion and a spate of targeted killings earlier this year mark an attempt by the Taliban to regain a foothold in the picturesque, mountainous area they once ruled with an iron fist.

Western powers, including the United States which has thousands of troops fighting other militant groups across the nearby border in Afghanistan, want to see jihadi networks along the frontier crushed.”

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