Here’s the latest bad news from Pakistan:

Taliban fighters and Pakistani government officials today agreed a controversial deal that will lead to a “permanent ceasefire” in the troubled north-western Swat valley, potentially creating ahaven for terrorists 100 miles from the capital, Islamabad.

The agreement, between the militant commander Maulana Fazlullah and local administrators, builds on a previous temporary deal. “They have made commitment that they will observe a permanent ceasefire and we’ll do the same,” Syed Mohammad Javed, the commissioner of Malakand and the local representative of the Pakistani government, told reporters.

Around 1,200 people have been killed and between 250,000 and 500,000 people have fled Swat in 18 months of fierce fighting over the beautiful valley, once a tourist centre. Three thousand militants have been battling up to 12,000 troops.


Here’s what the Guardian story above leaves out — it’s not a “controversial deal” that was just signed between Islamabad and the Taliban. It’s a treaty.

Treaties are signed between states, so there’s a silver lining on this very dark cloud. If Pakistan is giving up the pretense that they maintain sovereignty over the Swat valley, then so can we. We should all adjust our maps to show the Swat region detached from Pakistan and tacked on to that under-governed region we’ve historically (and mistakenly) called Afghanistan.

As I wrote back in November of ’07:

If Pakistan isn’t already a failed state, wait a minute.

Their minute seems to be up.


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