SWAT: Security forces are pondering on a set of questions but mainly: who were the actual backers of local militants, because they are finding cache upon cache of lethal weapons since the day the military operation ended in Swat Valley.
Uncovering of arms and ammunition in such a large quantity is prompting the local people to wonder how the militants were able to acquire and move weapons into the valley, who provided them and who was financing them.
Amjad Ali, a local columnist, told The Express Tribune, “The real question – asked here and abroad – is regarding the militants’ finances. Everyone knows that any kind of conflict affects local economy.
If this is true, then how were these rag-tag militant groups able to afford such sophisticated weapons, which enabled them to take on the country’s regular, well-equipped army, which is rated the seventh largest in the world.” Fazal Rabi Rahi, a local editor and analyst told The Express Tribune, “Swat is a settled area which is not very densely populated and (because of this it) can be easily monitored. This was why security forces were able to seal off all important entry and exit points of the valley,” adding: “And this is also why the presence of modern weapons in such large quantity is worrisome.”
The source of financial backing for terrorists operations in Swat also remains an enigma. Sources, which people speculate may have contributed include: criminal activities such as kidnappings and killing for ransom, small and large robberies, selling emeralds, smuggling and illegal cutting of timber and donations.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2011.