The moment of truth has arrived for the Pakistan army and it has responded with vengeance to the refusal of the Taliban to adhere to agreements in the Swat Valley. Thousands of Pakistan soldiers are pounding away at the Taliban which is dug in by the town of Mingora and airplanes are bombing enemy positions. General Athar Abbas said the goal was to “eliminate” the insurgents from the Swat Valley and restore its population to the rule of Pakistan, not Taliban law. A spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says an estimated one million people will have fled or are in the process of fleeing the battle zone as fighting intensifies in fury. It appears more and more Pakistanis are now recognizing dealing with the Taliban is not an “American issue” but one that concerns the future of their nation.
The consensus supporting the current army operation is present, but the question is how long will this feeling endure, particularly if thousands are killed in the fighting. The other unanswered question is to what extent has army leadership come to realize they must crush the Taliban to save their nation. The future will answer those questions.