Radio spreads Taliban’s terror in Swat
PESHAWAR: Every night around 8 o’clock, the terrified residents of Swat valley crowd around their radios. They know that failure to listen and learn might lead to a lashing or a beheading.
Using a portable radio transmitter, a local Taliban leader, Shah Doran, on most nights outlines the newly-proscribed “un-Islamic” activities in Swat, like selling DVDs, watching cable television, singing and dancing, criticising the Taliban, shaving beards and allowing girls to attend school. He also reveals names of people the Taliban have recently killed for violating their decrees and those they plan to kill.
“They control everything through the radio,” said one Swat resident, who declined to give his name for fear the Taliban might kill him. “Everyone waits for the broadcast.”Soldiers largely stay inside their camps and have not destroyed mobile radio transmitters mounted on motorcycles or pick-up trucks that Shah Doran and the leader of the Taliban in Swat, Maulana Fazlullah, have expertly used to terrify the residents.
Being named in one of the nightly broadcasts often leaves just two options: fleeing Swat, or turning up headless and dumped in a village square.Meanwhile, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said the military did not have the means to block the Taliban radio transmissions across such a wide area.
Recently, Shah Doran broadcast word that the Taliban intended to kill a police officer who he said had killed three people. “We have sent people, and tomorrow you will have good news,” he said on his nightly broadcast, according to a resident of Matta. The next day, the decapitated body of the policeman was found in a nearby village.