On the 16th of Febuary the Pakistan government signed a deal with Muslim insurgants in the Swat Valley in which they have in effect handed over the running of the valley to them. The insurgents have vowed to introduce Sahria law and although they say that all the girls' schools will be reopened as soon as they are repaired, it has been pointed out that most such schools are not in need of repair. Swat is considered by many to be the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas (or Hindu Kush depending on where you draw the line between them). It used to be known as Udyana (garden) and because Buddhism flourished there for some 800 years it was sometimes referred to as the Buddha's Garden. Both Fa-hien and Huien Tsiang went there and left detailed descriptions of its monuments and monasteries. In 1023 the valley was invaded by Mahomed Gazni 'the World-burner' who killed the last Hindu king Raja Gira and, well, burned everything. Despite a thousand years of neglect and periodic vandalism the Swat Valley is (or was until recently) full of Buddhist ruins. Aural Stein's account of his journeys through and discoveries in Swat are enthralling and the Swat Museum in Mingora is a veritable treasure house of Buddhist antiquities. All this is now in serious jeopardy. In October 2007 a group of armed men drilled holes into the face of the beautiful Buddha above Jehanabad, placed explosives in it and blew to off. It had overlooked the wheat fields and the walnut trees for 1400 years. My note book is filled with notes on all the antiquities of Swat, cuttings, maps, Huien Tsiang's account of the place, etc, which I have accumulated over the years in preparation for going there some day. Now it looks like I may never be able to and if I do there wont be much left to see. Sometimes I feel very sad.