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Taliban Unleashing Harsh Justice In Pakistan

Taliban militants have scored yet another point in Pakistan, forcing the country's U.S.-backed government to step aside and allow the imposition of Islamic "shariah" law in a remote northern region.

This is a controversial matter in Swat - the picturesque northern valley once the destination for honeymooning couples. But the area has seen a considerable advance by Taliban militants just in the past year.

During this time, the Taliban systematically destroyed schools for girls driven by the belief that women must stay at home. Even Pakistan's only ski resort was not spared and was set on fire, taking away the country's only facility for winter sport.

The militants used guerrilla-type tactics to fight military and police troops, ultimately forcing the government to accept a controversial peace deal in Swat earlier this year. The Pakistani government says it had no other choice as the Taliban threatened to keep up the fight unless their demand for the imposition of Islamic laws was met.

But those opposed to the Taliban argue strongly that this particular brand of Islam is dangerous. The Taliban have a history of unleashing harsh justice against those they consider to violate Islamic norms. Publicly flogging men and women on vague accusations such as display of public indecency and adultery are central to the Taliban brand of justice.

Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari signed the introduction of Islamic law for Swat on Monday night, after the country's parliament supported the move. However, there are many Pakistanis who are now asking themselves if the latest development in Swat will embolden the Taliban to seek a similar type of Islamic justice elsewhere in the country.

Farhan Bokhari reports for CBS News from Islamabad.