Pakistani military wonders: How to defeat an enemy you can't find?

Speaking at a rudimentary base in the heart of this verdant valley, the commanders acknowledged that regaining full control of Swat will probably take months and involve intense combat with the well-trained, well-funded Taliban militia. Highlighting the difficulty, some extremists are simply melting back into the civilian population so they can fight another day, as they have during previous clashes over the past 18 months in Swat.

“You cannot distinguish between a Talib and a normal citizen,” said Maj. Gen. Sajjad Ali, who commands troops in the northern portion of Swat. “The area is densely populated, and it’s very easy for the terrorists to hide.”