February 18, 2009
Pakistan: An Unsettling Peace
BY FRONTLINE/World Editors
Just a few days after U.S. special envoy Richard C. Holbrooke finished touring Pakistan's strategic Swat valley, the Pakistan government struck a surprising deal with the Taliban, which has taken control of most of the region. The agreement lays out that government forces and Taliban militants will stop fighting in return for putting the region under strict Islamic law called Sharia.
A year ago, FRONTLINE/World correspondent David Montero reported from Swat in our broadcast story "State of Emergency," and provided an early warning about the growing power of the Taliban in Swat under a mysterious leader, Maulana Fazlullah, also known as the "radio mullah." As Montero's report reveals, Fazlullah has waged a particularly violent campaign to impose extreme Islamic law on Swat valley, which was a popular tourist destination before the Taliban took over.
Tragically, Montero just learned that Musa Khan Khel, a reporter who had worked with him in Swat, was murdered there yesterday covering a march by supporters of the Taliban. The New York Times reported that Khel broke away from the march late in the day apparently hoping to get an exclusive interview with Fazlullah.