During the past several years, American leaders have urged the Pakistan government to seriously engage the Taliban within its borders. A series of Taliban blunders such as invading provinces they promised not to attack and suicide bombings have resulted in the Pakistan army’s new aggressive actions against their enemy. The Pakistan government has placed a bounty on the head of Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Taliban in northwest tribal regions. There are also air strikes which have led to claims that dozens of “militants” have been killed. There is evidence the Pakistan army is employing military strategies borrowed from Americans such as bombing villages in which alleged Taliban leaders are residing.
There is no doubt a significant segment of the Pakistan population has grown weary with Taliban excesses such as suicide bombing. But, military action in itself will not destroy the Taliban or other militants. Pakistan needs a powerful economic development program together with one which creates an effective education system that provides for poor children an opportunity to obtain technological skills leading to good paying jobs. Air strikes help, but schools and jobs are much more effective in defeating the Taliban.
Bounties may gain media attention, but as a Taliban commander told a reporter: “We are like a suicide squad. Mujahideen(holy warriors) do not care about head money. Our mission goes on.” Reading and writing and arithmetic will always out bid bounties.
A new generation of Taliban fighters has taken over in Pakistan’s tribal regions near the Afghan border. Their leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is believed to be the master mind behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. If a subordinate disobeys him, Mehsud, gives him some money, sends him home with needle and thread and tells him to sew his own shroud within 24 hours– before time elapses, the man is dead. No known photos of the phantom leader are available and he shuns visitors. An ally of al-Qaeda, he has transformed the remote valleys of South Wazirstan into safe havens for terrorists.
Toward the end of last year, a council of high-ranking Taliban leaders appointed Mehsud the leader of the newly formed “Tehrik-Taliban Pakistan.” The new leader is not a person who is versed in religion, war is his speciality. His aliance is creating anger among the more conservative tribal chieftains who are more concerned over their own feudal areas and are much more religious minded.
Ironically, American bombing drove the Taliban into Pakistan where they found a new refuge. Turning away from creating a safe Afghanistan in order to delve into the madness of war in Iraq enabled the Taliban, not merely to regroup inside Afghanistan, but to establish safe bases in Pakistan and now turn that nation into a war zone. As one reviews what has transpired over the past six years, it is clear Bush policies in Afghanistan and the Middle East have proved to be the greatest recruiting drives for terrorism in modern history.
Posted in Asia, Human Rights, Iraq War, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush Policies, Mehsud, Pakistan, Taliban