Is Taliban Going to Take Over Pakistan
What is the Taliban Threat and How Can Pakistan be Saved
© Fiza Asar
May 12, 2009
The Taliban are advancing in Pakistan and weakening the
government's control over the country. This brings Pakistan at the centre of concern
Recent news from Pakistan brings to notice the
alarming situation of Taliban advancement in the country. World leaders,
organizations and media have their eyes on the country.
The following article aims to shed light on some aspects of
the situation in order to better understand the complex politics of the area.
I. Who are the Taliban
Literally the word "Taliban" means students. These
were students in madrassahs built with the assistance of the United States and other ally-in-the-cause
countries built during the time of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
They governed Afghanistan
between 1996 and 2001 until the US
attack of Afghanistan
II. Why did the US
Taliban government brought a strict measure of Shariah law
and the wave of Islamism caught its popularity in the region. Pakistan being its ally at the time could be the
next target and because of Afghanistan's
geo-political location, this meant trouble for the larger political-economic
scenario in the region.
More popularly, it was believed that Taliban was promoting
Muslim militancy. After 9/11 this fear proved real. The US believed that the Al-Qaeda were bred in Afghanistan
under the Taliban.
III. What is Pakistan's
Take Towards Taliban Since 2001
Uptil 2001, Pakistan
was amongst the three countries officially recognizing the Taliban government
It was after the attack on Afghanistan
by the United States that
Musharraf's government changed its stance and Pakistan
became United States'
active ally in war against terrorism.
Several hundred of people have been killed in Pakistani
military attacks in Pakistan's
northern areas, where Taliban/ Al-Qaeda activity was feared. Since then
militant repercussionary attacks within Pakistani borders have been rampant
IV. Why Are There Repercussions in Pakistan
1) Taliban comprise largely of the Pashtun ethnicity in Afghanistan,
which also forms a large population of North-Western Pakistan.
2) Madrassahs to train young Muslim men to fight Soviets
were built in Pakistan and
funded by the US.
3) The largest number of Afghan migrants during the Soviet-Afghan war came to Pakistan.
Figures claim the number to exceed a million, majority of whom have settled
since then in Pakistan.
4) The border between Pakistan
has historically allowed easy access to the Pashtuns living on both sides of
IV. What Do They Mean by Taliban Advancement in Pakistan
Somewhere between the Taliban government in Afghanistan, 9/11 and its connection to
Al-Qaeda, the US attack on Afghanistan and its repercussions in Pakistan the
line between Taliban and Al-Qaeda became finer. During the repercussions, many
splinter groups came to rise resenting US imperialism, sympathising with
the Afghan civilians suffering in the attacks, and those resenting the
Pakistani military killing Pakistanis in the northern areas in the name of war
on terror. Hence, the question "Who are Al-Qaeda" became more complex
Taliban, being led by Sufi Muhammad, have brought the
Shariah law in North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan and taken control over
several villages in the North. The fear of Taliban take over has reached
threatening levels in Punjab. However, many
commentators still argue whether Taliban is a party or group of people or a
thought and whether attacking them would reap the results the Pakistani
government wants to see.
V. What are Pakistan's
1) The Taliban toppling its peace and bringing the
insurgent, militant situation in the country.
2) The nation does not want a repeat of Afghanistan
happening in its country.
also fears being sandwiched by Taliban from the West and by India from the
4)The Pakistani intelligence has also shown fears that
Indian intelligence is behind Afghan insurgencies in Pakistan. After all they have more
consulates in Afghanistan
than even in the US.
5) What the Pakistani people also fear is the situation
getting out of control and creating an excuse for the US to enter Pakistan officially.
VII. How Can This Situation be Tackled
1) Internally, by advocacy and campaigning within Pakistan that
targets the country's masses and changes the so-called Taliban school of
thought that apparently encourages militancy and use of arm-power to take
control over a country.
2) By larger Pakistani media involvement in not thrashing
the Taliban and hence creating resentment in the masses, rather by providing
the alternatives to the masses so they can feel safer too.
3) The United
States has to continue supporting the
Pakistani government and empowering it to fight the intellectual, media,
political and military war against this insurgency.
4) The Western politicians and media plays a pivotal role in
not hyping up the Taliban fear and making the Pakistani government feel weaker
and out of control. This will only aggravate Pakistani fears as mentioned in
point 5 of section VI.
5) The US
should also assist India in
not aggravating the situation by taking this as an opportunity to weaken Pakistan. By
showing more support for the Indians versus the Pakistanis, the US will be
provoking the same fears that have been mentioned in points 3 and 4 of Section