About Face

Taliban Announces Cease-Fire

The war-torn Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, along the Afghan border, may finally get 10 days without bloodshed: The Taliban, which controls much of the region, has announced a cease-fire as "a goodwill gesture" toward the Pakistani government of Asif Ali Zardari. But the agreement comes at a price—the two parties have negotiated a deal that will implement Islamic law in the valley. In recognition of the agreement, the Taliban also released a Chinese engineer it had held prisoner for five months. The Pakistani government has frequently been criticized by the US for negotiating with the Taliban, which uses the border region as a launching pad for attacks into Afghanistan.