The Fall of Swat Valley to the Taliban: Reflecting on Immediate and Long Term Causes
A religious movement initiated in mid-1990s by the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-eShariat-e-Mohamadi (TSNM) for bringing about Shariah in the valley of
Swat gradually transformed into an armed insurgency by 2007. Initially,
the government tried to quell the movement and the insurgency by small
army operations and peace deals. However, when the insurgency
strengthened in 2009, the government decided to carry out a large-scale
army operation Rah-e-Rast. In this article I critically reflect on the
immediate and deep-rooted causes of the fall of Swat Valley to the Taliban.
The immediate causes include the flawed peace pacts between Pakistani
State and the Taliban, and state’s reconciliatory policy and the resulting
complacency. The deep rooted causes include partial merger of the valley
with Pakistan, exploitation of religious sentiments, weak legal and judicial
system, economic deprivation, international politics, and lack of
comprehensive counter insurgency and de-radicalization policy.
Key Words: Swat Valley, Taliban, Peace and Conflict, Counter-insurgency.