Image: Residents flee from Bari Kot
Abdullah Khan  /  AP
Residents flee from Bari Kot, a troubled area of the Pakistani district of Buner on Saturday.
updated 5/3/2009 11:31:02 AM ET 2009-05-03T15:31:02

Taliban fighters have resumed armed patrols in the Swat Valley's main town, an official said Sunday, further imperiling a peace deal with the government that imposes Islamic law there and in surrounding areas.

The government has ordered a curfew for the entire valley from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., added Khushal Khan, a top Swat administrator, and officials were discussing what to do if the militants violate the order.

Already Sunday, Pakistan's army accused the Taliban fighters of "gross violation" of the peace pact, blaming them for several acts of violence over the weekend in Swat, including the blasting of a bridge.

Throats slit and bodies mutilated
On top of that list, two security personnel were discovered with their throats slit and their bodies and faces mutilated Sunday in Swat, a security official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media on the record.

The army's accusations came as the northwest province's government said it was fulfilling its end of the peace deal by establishing an Islamic appellate court for the area, though a cleric mediating the pact rejected the panel.

The carrot and stick approach has underscored the divisions and ambivalence in Pakistan's government over how best to tackle the spreading militancy. It is a topic that will come up when Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari meets with President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a visit to Washington later this week.

The Taliban spokesman in Swat could not immediately be reached for comment.

Deal cast by some as surrender
The Taliban hold heavy sway over Swat after some two years of fighting with the army and other security forces.

The peace deal reached with them in February was aimed at fulfilling their demands for an Islamic justice system in the hope they would stop their bloody campaign.

But critics including the U.S. have cast the deal as a surrender. The region is near Afghanistan, prompting U.S. concern that the peace pact has created a haven for militants who can threaten its forces across the border.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments