PAKISTAN

The Taliban advance in Pakistan and America's 'double game'

The Taliban have positioned themselves less than 100km from the Pakistani capital. One of our Observers in the country tells us that she doesn't see the militant group taking power. She explains however that the US, which has today expressed alarm over the advancing Taliban, is partly responsible for the mounting success of Islamic extremism in the country. Read more...

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"Taliban Bush". Source: www.anvari.org

The Taliban have positioned themselves less than 100km from the Pakistani capital. One of our Observers in the country tells us that she doesn't see the militant group taking power. She explains however that the US, which has today expressed alarm over the advancing Taliban, is partly responsible for the mounting success of Islamic extremism in the country.

Earlier this month Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari agreed to allow the Taliban-controlled region of Swat Valley to implement Sharia law, provided that the aforementioned put down their weapons. The Taliban law did indeed change, but the Taliban chose to ignore their part of the pact. This was demonstrated by their continued military offensive, which soon brought them to the district of Buner, just 100km from Islamabad. Last Wednesday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the advances a serious threat, saying that the Pakistani government was "abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists". 

"The US has always been suspected of playing a double game"

Najma Sadeque works for a women's rights NGO in Pakistan.

I don't think the Taliban can take over the country. However they could be a nuisance for a long while (which they already are), they could do a lot of damage and ruin the country by wrecking the economy. They intimidate and act with guns - ordinary civilians cannot fight that. If women are forced behind veils and walls, and men submit, they do so out of fear for their lives, not out of ideological choice. That has been the false image spread by large sections of the western media, especially in the US.

This didn't all happen overnight. It's the legacy of General Zia-ul Haq and his dubious 'Islamization' of a country that was already Muslim. The US agenda also had a part to play. They installed him and then dispensed with him when he was no longer useful to them. It is common knowledge here. After he was gone, Saudi Arabia continued with their fundamentalist objectives in the region. They can't fight with guns or knowledge; the only way they know is to brainwash. But then that's no different from tactics that America and other countries use through propaganda and disinformation.

General Musharraf is also responsible for taking the situation from bad to worse through his wrongful decisions and inaction at crucial moments. He did nothing to make peace with the Taliban through means such as economic development, livelihood improvements, healthcare, etc. He thought it was enough to avoid fighting them.

As for the US, it has always been suspected of playing a double game. They use Pakistan to fight a problem that they themselves created in order to have an excuse to stay in the region because they're after the minerals and other resources in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That has been their history of intervention and theft for more than a century."