Tag Archives: jirga

Is Taliban Making Mistakes In Pakistan?

A few weeks ago, a prominent Taliban leader in Pakistan called for a cease fire and offered to negotiate with the Pakistan government concerning ways to reduce violence in northwest regions of the nation. Over the weekend, an 18 year-old boy blew himself up at a jirga meeting where tribal elder were discussing ways to handle Taliban militants. At least 40 people were killed and 50 wounded by the blast. Several prominent tribal elders were among those killed. The blast occurred just as a group of tribal elders were discussing plans to raise an army in order to combat the Taliban.

The incident indicates confusion in Taliban ranks, are they interested in peace or are they still committed to war? There is no question this bombing will arouse anger among tribal leaders and ensure an army is raised to fight the Taliban. In the past, the Taliban has alternated between clever military tactics and a disastrous approach to public relations. The incident will undoubtedly increase acceptance among tribal leaders of the proposed US dispatch of 100 trainers to work with the Pakistan military on coounter-intelligence tactics. It may also result in more US troops being allowed to function in the northwest region.

Pakistan Militants Seize Children-Release Them

The situation in Pakistan continues getting more complex as gunmen are now trying to get school children involved in adult disputes. A group of militants took up to 250 Pakistani school children hostage in a northwestern town, but freed them within twenty-four hours. It appears tribal elders interceded in order to remove children from the line of fire that now exists between militants and the government of Pakistan. The militants surrendered to the jirga– a council of elders. Earlier accounts by the government said militants were responsible but it is now unclear as to the intent of the men who took hostages. The entire episode began when police were chasing militants who had kidnapped a government official.

Fortunately, this episode does not replicate the terrible deaths of Russian children who were caught in the cross fire between government and rebel forces. It appears the power of the jirga has not been completely utilized since tribal elders do have influence over what happens in their country.