Tag Archives: Pakistan

Pakistan And Taliban In Battle Of Words And Deaths!

After spending years pretending their main problem were Indian soldiers on their eastern border, the Pakistan army has finally realized the problem is not east, it is within their own ranks. Finally, the Pakistan army launched a major offense in the Swat Valley. Now, the fun begins when the Taliban claim they killed dozens while the Pakistan army claims it inflicted “heavy casualties.” Pakistan military sources claim their forces killed 60 Taliban militants while the Taliban insists it only lost a few men while inflicting heavy casualties on the Pakistan army.

It is unfortunate, there is no impartial referee who can actually keep an honest box score on who inflicts more or less casualties. We can be certain, both sides will claim “victory” despite how many they lose.

Pakistan At War With Itself

Pakistan’s army has been on guard for half a century to deter an attack from India on its eastern border and thus has failed to recognize their main enemy is not to the east, but within its own borders. For the third day in a row, bands of militants attacked Pakistan security sites including a commando facility and police stations in an attempt to demonstrate they did not fear the Pakistan security forces and would strike whenever and wherever they desired. Interior Minister Rehman Malik argued, “the enemy has started a guerrilla war.” Of course, it has due to Pakistan’s focus on the possible war with India rather than on the war within their nation that is being conducted by al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Until Pakistan abandons its focus on the east and concentrates its energy on the Taliban and al-Qaeda within there will be more attacks, more suicide bombers and more deaths.

Taliban Down-US Down In Pakistan!

During the past year, the Taliban has lost the support of a high percent of the Pakistan population due to their actions in places like the Swat Valley. Pictures and stories about flogging women or killing innocent men as well as the general thug attitudes of enforcing one’s will upon a population has resulted in Pakistanis finally securing an objective understanding of what life under the rule of Talibans would entail. Pew Global Attitudes discovered in its survey that 70% of Pakistanis oppose the militants. In 2008, only 33% of Pakistanis had negative attitudes toward the Taliban. The bad news is that 64% don’t particularly like the United States.

The only bright news in the survey was that about 53% of Pakistanis would like to see an improvement in their relations with the United States. Most probably an economic thrust by the United States would be welcome in Pakistan even more than more military aid.

Build Economic Strength To Halt Taliban

Hundreds of thousands of Pashtuns and other minorities are returning to their homes in the northwest region of Pakistan only to find homes destroyed and their crops in ruin. Although the Pakistan government claims to have driven out the Taliban from the region, Minority Rights Group International says by failing to address economic development it will only result in the Taliban returning to the area. Mark Lattimer notes about Pashtun refugee camps, “the conditions in the camps are miserable. the sanitation is inadequate. There’s inadequate protection from the weather. and what is more, we’re now hearing reports that there are Taliban recruiters who are trying to operate in the camps.”

The Pashtun area has never been the object of massive economic development which allows the Taliban to build on local grievances against all forms of authority in order to gain recruits. Once again, as in Afghanistan, the United States failed to provide the economic means to achieve success and only focused on military operations. Ironically, according to this group, recent polls in Pashtun areas reveal less support for the Taliban than what is believed by Pakistan government sources. The economic war has to become equal in importance to the political and military wars.

Did Al-Qaeda Attack Pakistan Nuclear Bases?

Professor Shaun Gregory, Director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at Bradford University, claims that al-Qaeda has on at least three occasions attacked Pakistan nuclear weapons bases in the past two years. He said militants struck a nuclear storage facility at Sargodha in November, 2007; launched a suicide bomb assault on a nuclear air base at Kamra in December, 2007 and set off explosions at the entrances to Wah cantonment, one of Pakistan’s main nuclear assembly plants.

The Pakistan government and military insist these facilities are heavily guarded by trusted soldiers. They also assert no nuclear weapon can be armed without extensive security procedures. However, according to Professor Gregory, “Taliban and al-Qaeda are more than capable of launching terrorist attacks.”

Oh well, just another item in the war against terrorism.

Bailtullah Mehsud-Dead Or Alive?

The reported death of Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has created a controversy as conflicting claims emanate from militant sources. Yesterday, one Taliban leader agreed that Mehsud was dead, but today another claimed the leader was alive and kicking and would soon show his face. Of course in the era of drone strikes in which the name, rank and serial number of the person being killed are known to CIA operatives in Virginia. Reports he is still alive might be merely an attempt to prevent defections from the ranks of the Taliban or it could be the drone missiles hit someone else.

Lou Dobbs is demanding the Obama administration present birth certificates of any Taliban leader killed in battle. After all, if the right wing media believed everything President Obama claimed, how would the American people ever learn the truth? Please Mr. Mehsud if you are dead show a valid copy of your birth certificate in order that we might know if the CIA really killed the right person!

Attacks On Christians In Asia

Hundreds of years ago, European colonists entered southeast Asia in search of trade and commerce, but also bringing with them priests and missionaries to spread the words of Jesus Christ. For centuries, Christians enjoyed the protection of colonial guns, but with the advent of independence for Asian nations, the status of Christianity within predominantly Muslim nations has always been open to the prospect of violence. Over the past weekend, there were riots in Pakistan in which Christians were killed and dozens witnessed the burning of their homes.

Police are now investigating whether violence was planned or did it arise from spontaneous anger deriving from rumors that Christians somehow had desecrated a Koran. Perhaps, the Christians of the city of Gojira got caught in the path of Taliban militants fleeing their defeat in the Swat Valley which led to spreading rumors against Christians in order to cover up their tracks. There is no doubt, when in trouble in many Muslim nations, just find some Christians and initiate violence.

A failure of nations such as Pakistan is to have even the semblance of multicultural education that enables Muslims to learn something about their Christian neighbors. In the absence of knowledge, the virulence of ignorance can result in death and destruction.

Pakistan Army Continues Attacks In Northwest Area

After years of inactivity and refusal to confront the Taliban, the Pakistan army apparently is engaged in serious efforts to drive out militants who have disrupted life in their nation. Security forces claimed to have killed 56 militants although any casualty figures can never be verified due to refusal to allow journalists into area where there is fighting. The operation is directed at any insurgents who fled fighting in the Swat valley where Pakistan army forces drove the Taliban from an area they had terrorized. Pakistan’s military claims to have killed about 1,700 members of the Taliban since they began operations in the Swat Valley.

The success of failure of the Pakistan operation will not be known for months or even years. Will the army be able to restore a secular government in the Swat valley? Will it ensure inhabitants of the region they will be protected from Taliban revenge? Will the two million refugees be able to restart their lives in safety? It is the answer to these questions which determine the success of failure of current anti-Taliban operations.

String Em Up As Warning To Taliban!

As trucks carrying Pakistan civilians who were returning to their homes in the Swat Valley entered the town they saw a figure of a young man hung upside down from a hydro tower and carrying a message taped to his chest: “If nyone takes down this body, he will meet the same fate. This is a warning to the Taliban.” The body was either strung up by the Pakistan military or some angry civilians who were tired of being oppressed by the bearded men whose message is hate. The swinging body is a common tactic employed by the Taliban to intimidate and apparently someone decided to emulate the enemy they hate. Pakistan’s military claims it has killed over 1,500 Taliban and restored peace to the valley, but to residents who only too well recall similar promises and then being abandoned to the Taliban the issue is whether they will once again meet that fate.

Refugees are being given food and money to return home. But, a vital step to ensure peace is creating local militia which can maintain law and order. There must also be economic stimulus programs which ensure peace and prosperity. Like residents of the Swat Valley, we wait and hope for a future free of the Taliban.

Pakistanis Shifting Attitudes Toward Taliban

Since 9/1 there has been a split within many Muslim societies between those who regard Osama bin Laden and other groups urging violence as the embodiment of the Muslim religion versus those who believe that Osama and the Taliban are threats to the existence of their societies. Just about every poll of Pakistanis over the past decade has revealed a significant percent which favors the Taliban and distrusts the United States. A recent poll carried out by Socio-Economic Development Consultants in Islamabad reveals a dramatic shift in Pakistani opinions. More than 80% of Pakistanis now regard the Taliban and al-Qaida as threats to their society. The violent behavior of the Taliban in the Swat Valley where they beat young women, forced men to grow beards or killed those who opposed them shocked most Pakistanis. For the first time they saw the true face of the Taliban and it was a shocking sight.

According to political analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais: “some people had this feeling that Taliban were good people and very religious and they have good intentions and they’re nationalists. But, today the sentiment against the Taliban is very strong because they are a disruptive force. They don’t present an alternative to the modern nation-state. They don’t have a vision for the economy.”

Now, is the time for massive Western aid to help Pakistan construct a modern education system that will wean bright young boys and girls from the oppressive and narrow Taliban education provided in the madrassas.