ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 4 (UPI) -- A Swat Valley peace deal between the Pakistan government and the Taliban is close to collapse, a spokesman for the militants said Monday.
The controversial accord allowed for the imposition of Shariah law in parts of Swat Valley, located in Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province, in exchange for calm. But a government offensive against the Taliban in the neighboring Buner Valley has led to new fighting in Swat Valley as well, the Daily Telegraph reported.
An army convoy was attacked in Swat Valley, officials said, and Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Taliban, told the newspaper the peace deal "practically stands dissolved." He said his fighters had permission to attack Pakistani troops "everywhere."
The apparent collapse of the peace deal comes as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari prepares to visit Washington this week to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. The United States had criticized the Swat accord, saying its has only emboldened Islamic militants, but Islamabad says that by adhering to its end of the bargain, it can gain more public support if militants violate its terms, the Telegraph said.