Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taliban Commander Known as “the Butcher” Dies After Arrest in Swat Valley

Via (Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 29) -

The Pakistani military’s powerful offensive in Swat has destroyed much of the terror network of the Taliban. The fiery “FM Mullahs” who once announced death threats to opponents on their radio networks are now silenced. Their readily available spokesmen claiming responsibility for the daily deadly attacks on security forces are now in government custody. The men who flogged those considered to be in violation of Islamic law have either been killed or captured. Above all, in a recent development, the notorious head of the Taliban’s throat-cutter squads, Sher Mohammad Qasab, was arrested and subsequently died while in government custody (Dawn [Karachi], September 20).

Qasab was a symbol of terror, having slaughtered police and military officials and all other opponents, including “spies” and members of anti-Taliban tribal militias. He did this publicly and sometimes on videotape to terrorize the rest of the people. He used to make piles of heads in the notorious Green Chowk (later known as Khooni Chowk, or Bloody Square) in the Swat capital of Mingora, once famous for tourism and scenic spots. The mutilated and decapitated bodies were often left hanging on poles with threatening notes.

The arrest and death of Sher Mohammad Qasab is considered to be a major blow to the Taliban network in Swat. His capture marked the fourth high profile elimination of a Taliban commander in Swat this month after the capture of Taliban commander Mehmood Khan, the capture of Taliban spokesman and organizer of suicide bombings Muslim Khan, and the killing of fiery “Radio Mullah” Shah Dauran, who used to announce every evening the names of those waiting in the death queue (Daily Times [Lahore], September 4; September 12).

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