Taliban Just 70 Miles From Islamabad

Advances pose 'mortal threat' to US security, says Clinton
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2009 6:06 PM CDT
A student walks on the debris of a school building allegedly destroyed by militants in Mingora, capital of Pakistan's Swat valley, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)
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(Newser) – The Taliban are expanding their reach in Pakistan and are now perched about 70 miles from the capital of Islamabad. The militants, recently given control of the Swat Valley by the government, took over the neighboring Buner district last night. Hillary Clinton told a House panel today that the "Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists,” a development she said posed a "mortal threat" to US and world security, the New York Times reports.

The unusually charged language may be a bid to rattle not only Pakistan's rulers but American lawmakers who might balk at providing aid for US efforts in the region, the Times notes. In the Buner district, meanwhile, Taliban militants entered from Swat and set up their headquarters after driving out government officials. TV and music are banned, and a commander said Sharia courts would be set up soon, notes the Wall Street Journal.