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Swat Truce Slightly Less Horrible Than Believed

Somewhat mitigating detail about that troubling deal with the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat valley:

Many of the poor who have stayed in Swat, which until the late 1960s was ruled by a prince, were calling for the Shariah courts as a way of achieving quick justice and dispensing with the long delays and corruption of the civil courts. The authorities in the North-West Frontier Province, which includes Swat, argued that the Shariah courts were not the same as strict Islamic law. The new laws, for instance, would not ban education of females or impose other strict tenets espoused by the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It's hardly a good thing, of course, that the Pakistanis are cutting deals with the Taliban. But at least they're not totally selling out women in the process. 

[Photo: The Malam Jabba ski resort, torched last year by the Taliban. The Swat valley was a tourist destination before it became a Talibanistan dystopia.]  

--Michael Crowley