January 17, 2010 in Nation/World

Taliban’s sway ebbs, envoy says

Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan – The brutality of Taliban attacks in northwest Pakistan has cost the militants public support, the U.S. special envoy to the region said Saturday.

Richard Holbrooke, making his sixth trip to Afghanistan in the past year, said the ruthlessness of militants like Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, is beginning to “backfire” on the extremist network’s operation in the Swat valley.

Holbrooke cited Swat’s notorious Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah whose radio broadcasts long spread fear among residents of the valley and Mehsud.

“I feel that the extremists … have overshot their mark,” Holbrooke said. “I think that brutality with which they approach Swat has now backfired.”

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