Fears for Pakistan's stability have heightened in the past week after the Taliban took control of Buner, a valley just 100 km (60 miles) and less than five hours drive from Islamabad. The order for the Taliban's retreat from Buner was given by Fazlullah, the Taliban commander in neighboring Swat valley, where the government has already caved in to militants' demands for the imposition of Islamic law.
"Our leader has ordered that Taliban should immediately be called back from Buner," Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan told Reuters. He said there were only around 100 fighters in Buner. Government and Taliban representatives went to Buner, along with Maulana Sufi Mohammad, a radical Muslim cleric who brokered the Swat deal, to tell the fighters to vacate the district. Fazlullah's aide Mehmood Khan said the militants were returning to Swat, and witnesses saw them leaving Buner in the early evening.