Pakistani Vigilantes Strike at Taliban

Desperate police encourage citizens to take actions
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2008 11:30 AM CST
Pakistani tribesmen gather for an operation against Islamic militants in troubled area of Daudzai near Peshawar, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
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(Newser) – As Pakistan’s overtaxed military and police forces wage a desperate battle against the Taliban, vigilantes are striking back at the militants on their own, the New York Times reports. Last August, citizens in a quiet farming valley hunted down and killed the Taliban fighters who murdered six policemen, lining up the bodies like trophies and capturing their work on video.

With their numbers dwindling, Pakistani police are encouraging the vigilantes, arming the 15,000 unpaid “special police.” “There is no other way,” explained one official, saying traditional military force would push people to “turn against the government.” The vigilantes hope to stave off civil war, which could displace thousands. “The people are more motivated than the police,” said a police chief.