Pakistan Truce Cedes Region to Militants

Government reins loosen in return for fewer attacks; West worried
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2008 2:15 PM CDT
Pakistani soldiers sit in an army truck in Mingora, in the Swat valley, in northern Pakistan Saturday Dec. 8, 2007. The army said Saturday government troops had forced Islamic militants out of their strongholds...   (AP Photo/Stephen Graham )
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(Newser) – Pakistan struck a peace deal today with Islamic militants in northwestern Pakistan, the AP reports. Under the pact, the military will slowly pull out of Swat, a region along the Afghanistan border, and allow radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah to install limited Islamic law there. In exchange, the militants will recognize government authority, halt attacks, and turn over any foreign members.

“Both parties are sincere about establishing peace in Swat,” said one government minister. But the US is less enthusiastic, noting that past deals haven’t decreased violence, and that this one might ease pressure on Taliban and al-Qaeda forces—allowing for increased attacks both in Pakistan and the West.