Pakistan Army Likely Behind Widespread Swat Killings

Military says deaths due to locals settling scores
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 15, 2009 9:14 AM CDT
Pakistanis who fled fighting between security forces and Taliban militants load their belongings onto a bus as they await transport back to the Swat Valley from Karachi, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009.   (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
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(Newser) – Pakistan’s army took over the Swat Valley two months ago, ending Taliban control of the region—but lately, violence has swept the streets, with hundreds of bodies reportedly strewn about, the New York Times reports. The military says it’s a matter of revenge killings between locals, but human rights groups and locals say the army has a hand in what appears to be widespread, systematic violence.

A Pakistani official says the killings may be part of an army effort to quell support for the Taliban and get retribution for the heavy casualties it sustained. Locals say army rule is “arbitrary and unpredictable,” the Times notes. The US pushed hard for Pakistan’s takeover of the area and now faces trouble by association.