Screening – Battle for Swat Valley

Screening Friday 31st July, 2009

Swat is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Earlier this year the Pakistani Government agreed to the demand by religious and tribal leaders for the implementation of Sharia law in the Valley in return for an end to the fighting with the Taliban which had waged for over two years. Instead of disarming, the Taliban sent in their fighters and took over the Valley. Schools and Government offices were destroyed, local leaders kidnapped and killed. 

Public opinion in Pakistan was outraged at the take over of Swat by the Taliban and forced the government to send in the army to take back the Valley. But is it a war they can win? And at what cost?

In the making of the above programme BBC reporter John Sweeney was given unprecedented access by the Pakistani army as he accompanied them on helicopter missions deep into the Swat Valley.  Sweeney takes the viewer right into the battle assessing the army’s capability in fighting this insurgency. He also goes behind the scene to reveal the events which caused so much revulsion and turned public opinion in Pakistan against the Taliban. He talks to politicians, religious leaders, analysts and ordinary people in refugee camps. We also find out what life was really like under the Taliban during their reign of terror in Swat and look at intimate moments in the Taliban camp.