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Taliban Advances in Pakistan

April 23, 2009 at 6:40 PM EDT

JIM LEHRER: Next, the Taliban advances in Pakistan. We begin our coverage with a report narrated by Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News.

LINDSEY HILSUM: On guard and in control, the Taliban showing their strength in Buner, the latest part of Pakistan to fall under their command. The militants want to overthrow the Pakistani government, and they’re making rapid progress.

Today, the Pakistani military sent in a couple of platoons. Too late. Local people had initially tried to resist, but the authorities did nothing to help.

“Long live the Taliban!” they shout, whether they mean it or not.

PAKISTANI MAN (through translator): Taliban are our brothers. We are Muslims, thanks be to God, and they are also Muslims. It’s their aim and ours to bring Islamic law.

LINDSEY HILSUM: These slightly distorted pictures show Sunday in Mingora, the main town in neighboring Swat. The women have been confined to their houses; the men are heading for a rally. A similar one took place today in Buner.

Ten days ago, the Pakistani government agreed that the Taliban could run Swat district, if they laid down their arms.

Pacing up and down, the man who negotiated the deal, Maulana Sufi Muhammad. The banner shows a sword and an execution. The Taliban are using Swat as a base to take more territory in Malakand, the surrounding area.

HAJI MUSLIM KHAN, Taliban Spokesman (through translator): This will not be restricted to Malakand only. May Allah give us the strength and power to spread this message and extend this movement to the whole of mankind.

LINDSEY HILSUM: Today, the Pakistani prime minister was having second thoughts about the policy of conceding power to the Taliban.

YUSAF RAZA GILANI, Prime Minister, Pakistan: In case the peace is not restored, then the provincial government decides otherwise, or if the peace is not restored, certainly we have to review our policy.

PAKISTANI MAN (through translator): The prime minister should think about Western white women who take up arms and come from 20,000 miles away to fight against us here. Why is the prime minister silent on this? As long as these infidels are present in our land, it is our duty to fight them.

LINDSEY HILSUM: In Buner today, the Taliban were establishing full control, imposing their social code on an area which previously followed a relaxed form of Islam and welcomed Western visitors.