Militants have begun reopening lucrative emerald mines which had been closed by the government, since they took full control of the poor but picturesque region in the north of the country under a controversial peace deal last month.
They are using revenue from the sale of the emeralds to help finance attacks on Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, and to support their drive to extend harsh sharia, including public whippings and summary executions, into more regions of Pakistan.
Swat holds one of Asia's two largest-known deposits of high quality emeralds, from where the precious stones are smuggled to Jaipur, India, and transported to Bangkok, Switzerland and Israel. Here they are cut and polished into the lustrous gems that adorn the world's finest jewellery, sold to unsuspecting customers who have no idea that the money they are spending may end up financing the Taliban.
We have got to give those in extreme poverty someone to turn to besides militants like the Taliban to make money. Isn't it obvious why these groups get support? People are fighting for their survival, they'll turn to anyone who can put food on their table. Why aren't we using this knowledge? Why are we still bombing countries after the fact instead of putting together dedicated groups to work with locals to create a sustainable economy?
I just don't get why things keep running in these circles...