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.