Backlash. “Pakistan: Border Villages Rise Up Against Taliban,” by Ashfaq Yusufzai for IPS, August 26 (thanks to Will):
PESHAWAR, Aug 26 (IPS) – “We are trend-setters. Others are following us,” boasts Rauf Khan, mayor of Pakistan’s Buner district, where villagers killed six militants in the Dara Shalbandi area on Aug. 14.
In some parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), people are enlisting in anti-Taliban squads to take on the extremists who are blamed for a spate of abductions and arson attacks on girls” schools, rural clinics and cyber cafes.
Rauf Khan is leading the village defence squads in Buner, a small valley between Peshawar and Swat. On Aug. 8, the Taliban had attacked the Pir Baba police station in Buner and killed nine policemen.
The village defence squad retaliated with indiscriminate firing that resulted in the deaths of eight militants, including Kamran Khan, the so-called chief of the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in adjacent Mardan district.
“Villagers had asked the militants to surrender before they laid siege,” Khan told IPS. “But the militants requested safe passage. That was denied. Then the militants threw a hand-grenade in the direction of the villagers to break the siege,” he recounts….