Pakistan lifted on Tuesday restrictions on the return of people displaced by fighting in the Swat valley, hoping to boost confidence among residents wary the Taliban might come back.
The army went on the offensive in late April to crush a Taliban insurgency in Swat after the militants took over a district 100 km (60 miles) from Islamabad, raising fears for U.S. ally Pakistan's stability and the safety of its nuclear weapons. The ensuing exodus of nearly 2 million people was one of the biggest human migrations of recent times, stretching cash-strapped Pakistan's resources and prompting a global appeal for humanitarian help. After two months of battles, and the death of more than 1,700 militants according to the government, the former tourist valley has been cleared although soldiers are still carrying out searches in some areas. Authorities began taking people home on Monday, using a fleet of buses and trucks to send back 650 families who volunteered to return. But, fearing chaos on the main road into the valley and wary of militants trying to slip back in, authorities on Monday stopped private vehicles from entering the valley, only letting government buses and trucks through.
That restriction was lifted on Tuesday, said a spokesman for the government unit overseeing the humanitarian effort.
Although I don't see what else they could do, this is surely a mistake. The Taliban will be right there among the influx of residents.