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Pakistani Taliban move closer to Islamabad

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Mohammad Shoiab/Reuters

(Read caption) Former Taliban soldiers displayed their weapons in Herat, Pakistan, March 10. The Taliban have moved steadily into the Punjab district, where Islamabad is located.

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The Pakistani Taliban is moving closer to Islamabad, the capital, according to news reports. This week the militants advanced to within 60 miles of the capital, sparking concerns that their reach is growing.

A Pakistani Taliban-aligned group came to power in the Swat district of the North West Frontier Province in February, striking a controversial peace deal with Pakistani authorities. The deal allows, among other things, rule by a conservative interpretation of  law.

The terms of the  deal encompass Swat's neighboring districts, including Buner, which borders Punjab Province. However, the militants' power is more firmly established in Swat than in Buner. Reuters reports that militants arrived in Buner this week:

 
In a development that will deepen the West's concerns, scores of Taliban have moved into Buner district, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad, from the Swat valley....
 
"About 20 vehicles carrying Taliban entered Buner on Monday and started moving around the bazaar and streets," said senior police officer Israr Bacha.
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