One of our Observers in Pakistan has sent us some Taliban-made video footage that, until recently, was available on market stalls in the restive Swat Valley, in north-west Pakistan.
The Taliban are rapidly gaining control of the Swat Valley in the North-Western Frontier province in Pakistan, once a prime tourist destination. Over the past two years, the Islamist militants have carried out multiple attacks against security forces in the area. Soldiers deployed in the region to combat the Taliban are simply no match.
Mohammed Aziz, a resident of Mingora sub-district in the Swat, came across CDs with images of Taliban militants beheading Pakistani soldiers. Aziz sent the images, filmed by the Taliban, to our local Pakistani Observer Ajmal Shah Din, who then passed them on to us. We have omitted the more shocking elements from the videos, including the actual beheading.
Taliban training camp in the Swat Valley. Not dated.
Mohammed Aziz (pseudonym) lives in Mingora in the Swat Valley.
These images were being circulated to intimidate local residents and to remind everyone of the militia's victory against Pakistani forces. Almost 50 percent of the residents in the Swat work for the Taliban or support their cause.
In the video, there are clips of military training at Taliban camps. These images are intended to inspire the local youth to join the group. Given the paucity of employment in the area, they are also easily swayed by the high salaries offered by the rebels. The minimum salary is Rs.15,000 per month (141 euros) and suicide bombers' families receive approximately Rs.500,000 (4,000 euros)
One can no longer oppose the Taliban in public because the person next to you may be working for them.
The Taliban group's influence is gradually spreading in the country. In the district of Buner, near the Swat, the Taliban have taken complete control despite opposition from local residents."