Dr Naeem Khan was taking no chances. Walking through streets once filled with Taliban gunmen, the amiable country doctor looked ready for battle – an AK-47 in his hand, ammunition across his chest, and a chunky dagger tucked into his pocket.
He patted his weapon fondly. “This has become part of our everyday life now, like lunch and dinner,” he said as he entered the small hospital where he works.
In his surgery Khan pulled a stethoscope from a drawer and turned to his first patient of the day, a burka-clad mother bearing a sick infant. His gun remained tucked under the desk.
Thousands of civilians are joining village militias in Pakistan’s Swat valley as a precarious peace takes root in the former Taliban stronghold after a four-month army operation. [continued…]