Death Valley

John Moore / Getty Images

A destroyed military truck in the town of Mingora reflects how violent Swat has become

The transformation was radical. In the village of Matta, the police post sported a new sign: "Taliban Station." So did the precinct in Kabal. In Kalam village, Dr. Fazli Raziq's barber disappeared, driven out of business by a new edict prohibiting men from shaving their beards. Fazli's wife, Zaibi, stopped leaving the house, preferring to stay inside rather than replace her headscarf with the freshly mandated shuttlecock burqa that left only a mesh opening for the eyes. Then militants threatened to bomb their daughter's school. All in all, five out of seven subdistricts — some 68 villages — in...

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