Oh News Media...
Oh mainstream media, your inability to properly report the news never ceases to amaze me.
"Pakistani forces claim advance in Swat valley"
This is what is being reported by the AP. The previous headline actually read, "Pakistan forces say insurgents fleeing battlefield in Swat valley." What the AP failed to report in its story is that this is what good insurgent armies do when the hammer of the government comes swinging down on them: they pack up and leave. They setup shop somewhere else and wait until the government leaves, and then they return and execute all the collaborators. The fighting currently being waged is most likely a token force, much like our encounters with Al-Qaeda in the failed Operation Anaconda, where we failed to roll up an Al-Qaeda in tactical retreat.
"a growing humanitarian crisis is adding pressure to the government"
This is not good news for the Pakistani government if they fail to address this crisis. A failure on their part de-legitimizes them in the face of the population and once again leaves an opening for militants to come in and establish law and order.
"The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees on Tuesday said nearly 2.4 million people have been uprooted by the violence, with people being forced from their homes at a rate of about 126,000 people day — one of the sharpest rates of displacement in recent world history."
This just isn't good. People are being displaced at the rate of one American army in Iraq per day. That's an astounding number which the Pakistani government should seriously be fretting and tearing their hair out over.
"Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, chief spokesman for Pakistan's army, gave an upbeat assessment Tuesday of the campaign, which is strongly backed by U.S. officials who want Pakistan to root out al-Qaida and Taliban havens used to plan attacks on Western troops in nearby Afghanistan. Swat is considered an important test of the Muslim nation's ability and willingness to do so."
What they forget to mention is that the attacks are largely being carried out by a single ethnic group which spans the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This seriously is a test of the Pakistani nation-state. By continuing their military offensive against the Pashtun they seriously run the risk of alienating that segment of the population, which is not insignificant, and escalating the conflict to what can only be described as a civil war. One which would most likely draw in the surrounding nations of Afghanistan and India, in which case the conflict also runs the risk of going nuclear.
"The military says about 1,100 suspected insurgents have died so far in the offensive, and civilian casualties have been kept to a minimum...But witnesses have described widespread civilian casualties."
This is usually the case and only functions to weaken the nation-state. Covering it up only makes the state look guilty of having committed a crime, and presents the nation-state with a lose-lose scenario. Engage the militants and you run the risk of killing civilians and driving them from their homes which undermines the position of the state, while at the same time if you do nothing you leave the civilian population at the mercy of the militants.