Video may show different Taliban flogging

April 29, 2010 at 5:22 PM
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KALA KALAY, Pakistan, April 29 (UPI) -- A video of Pakistan's Taliban flogging a girl may show another flogging but it still awakened a nation that had misjudged the Taliban's reach, activists say.

The 2009 video purported to show the public flogging of a wailing, pleading Chand Bibi in the Swat Valley village of Kala Kalay, Pakistan, after she and her fiance were seen together in her house before they were married -- something fundamentalists view as a violation of Islamic law.

Villagers who witnessed the flogging tell the Los Angeles Times what they saw was different from the video shot by Swat Valley lawyer Shaukat Saleem.

"Obviously, that video isn't of this flogging," Kala Kalay Mayor Jaffar Khan told the newspaper.

"If (Saleem) claims it is, let him come here and say where it happened," Khan said. "He won't be able to."

Most villagers say they imagine the video was of another flogging in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Saleem had no comment.

But the location doesn't matter, activists say.

The video "was the catalyst," Talat Farooq, executive editor of Criterion, a Pakistani current affairs magazine, told the Times.

"When people spoke out about this, the tide turned and made it possible for the army to move into Swat," he said.

Reaction to the video prompted the army to launch a decisive attack against the Taliban occupying Swat Valley in April 2009. After heavy fighting, the Swat Valley was largely pacified by July 2009, although isolated pockets of Taliban activity remain.

While the flogging video wasn't the only catalyst for restoring normalcy to Swat, it was crucial, Farooq told the Times.

And whether or not it showed the flogging it purports, the message pushed the right buttons, he said.

"I don't think that the purpose was to deceive people," Farooq said. "The purpose was to show what was happening."

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