Taliban Felt In Pakistan Flood Zone

Two weeks ago, as residents of Kalam in the Swat district of northwestern Pakistan were busy picking up the pieces of their existence after flooding had ravaged the town, a loud explosion shattered the quiet of the night. It was 2 a.m., the local deputy mayor Amir Saeed said, and Kalam's girls' school had been bombed. "It was the Taliban," Saeed told me as we stood by the destroyed building. "We know exactly that it was them". "I was very scared when I heard the blast. I could not sleep after that and in the morning I saw the school was damaged," 10-year-old Nadia said as she and three other girls walked through the rubble. No one was injured in the bombing and Pakistan's military says it was an isolated incident, but international observers and the U.S. government fear the Taliban and other Islamist groups might use the breakdown in public order caused by the floods to gain ground. "We put so much effort into this area. There was so much progress in places like Swat and now all of that has been washed away by this flood," said Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, while touring the devastated areas earlier this month. The Taliban controlled much of Swat for an 18-months period that ended in the spring of last year when the Pakistani military launched a massive campaign against the militants, ousted them and restored civil order. Now tens of thousands of Pakistani soldiers are involved in flood relief.And Maj. Gen. Javed Iqbal Ramday, who is charge of flood relief and security in Swat, scoffs at the idea that militants could make a comeback in places like North Waziristan. "While we are undertaking the flood relief operations and the flood relief efforts, at the same time we have a posture where we are already taking care of the threats coming back into the area," the general told CNN in an interview AT his headquarters in Khwazakhela. Pakistan's military says it is determined to hold the ground it fought for last year and prevent militants