Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Sharia law in Swat

I know it looks like a setback but I suspect this might be a smart move. Give the people of Swat sharia law, and see how they like it. Meanwhile, bolster your security forces in the area so they can pick up the ball when the Taliban has sufficiently alienated the populace. Risky? Sure. But ...

I know it looks like a setback but I suspect this might be a smart move. Give the people of Swat sharia law, and see how they like it. Meanwhile, bolster your security forces in the area so they can pick up the ball when the Taliban has sufficiently alienated the populace. Risky? Sure. But better than losing Swat altogether.

I know it looks like a setback but I suspect this might be a smart move. Give the people of Swat sharia law, and see how they like it. Meanwhile, bolster your security forces in the area so they can pick up the ball when the Taliban has sufficiently alienated the populace. Risky? Sure. But better than losing Swat altogether.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.