Bomb Vests And Beheadings In Pakistan Resort

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headings In Pakistan Resort

8:52am UK, Tuesday March 24, 2009
Stuart Ramsay, in Swat, Pakistan
The Swat valley in northern Pakistan was once the country's equivalent of the Lake District - a resort the Queen described as the "Switzerland" of the old empire.


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Recruit is trained to use a suicide bomb vest


Now, it is a Sharia law tribal land where hooded gunmen patrol the streets and the Taliban run everything.
I had been invited there to visit the Taliban leadership but warned not to stop or speak to their men guarding the entry to the stunning valley that once made it such a popular destination.
I would be killed, was the rather terse explanation.
What is clear is that the elders oversee a well organised and brutal militia. Sky News was given previously unseen video footage of their men in action.


Patrick Mercer, Counter-Terrorism Sub-Committee

It is propaganda for certain - but when forensically examined, it is truly shocking. Everything is filmed in what used to be Pakistan's main tourist attraction.
In the mountains, scores of men in combat clothes are taught unarmed fighting techniques, shooting and suicide bomb preparation.
Pakistan has denied these camps exist but this is absolute proof that they do - and we are told the pictures were filmed just weeks ago.

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Combat training in the mountains

The United States in particular is furious this training still goes on.
Until recently, suicide bombing in Pakistan was unheard of. But the Taliban dedicate a large chunk of their film to the bombers.
They are all desperately young men, grinning with pleasure as their hooded colleagues hug them and congratulate them on their decision to blow themselves up for the cause.
The men are shown strapping on suicide vests or checking cars and vans packed with high explosives.
Both the attacks and the aftermath are filmed - the carnage, the dead bodies and the grieving relatives depicted as victories.


Pakistani security source

In Pakistan today, the bomb attacks are a daily occurrence, and as a rule, seem utterly pointless.
Bus stops and markets are the softest of targets, but they are struck with mind-numbing regularity.
Nobody even claims responsibility and the attacks generally change nothing - except in Swat where the suicide campaign has actually brought the security forces to their collective knees.

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Sky's Ramsay in Swat

The scale of the campaign is surprising. It does not matter where you travel, the ruins of buildings scar the landscape - a gloomy reminder this was a war zone and the Taliban won the war.
The brutality of the video is perhaps the most shocking element of the film.
A burglar is shot dead in the street, watched by dozens of local people.
A police officer is questioned then decapitated bound to a chair, his headless body then displayed in the main square of Mingora, the regional capital.
The locals have renamed it "Slaughter Square" because so many people have died there.
The Taliban, apparently welcomed in Swat with their promise of fair justice for all, back up their "Liberation" with clear warnings to all of the consequences of stepping out of line.
The alarm bells are ringing in London, Washington and Delhi but Islamabad's response has failed.
This part of the country may never be the same again - worse, the transformation of Pakistan may not stop at Swat, it could so easily keep spreading.
 
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