Taliban: FAQs

Taliban: FAQs

Q. Who are Taliban?


The story started with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Fearing Russian expansionism, CIA married ISIand gave birth to the Jihadis euphemistically called Taliban. Zia-ul-Haq midwifed the birth whileSaudis and ISI provided the initial schooling. Taliban grew up munching on a diet of Wahibism.  Armed with dollars, American weapons and of course the jihadi fervor, Russians were given a serious beating and forced to withdraw from Afghanistan.During the Russian episode, Taliban were given sanctuaries in our tribal belt to plan and train. A countrywide network of madrassas was also set up to ensure a never ending supply of ideologically driven Jihadis to the Afghan war.



Q. What is strategic depth doctrine?



Emboldened by the defeat delivered to the mighty Russians, Pak Army forged the strategic depth doctrine which envisaged a Taliban regime in Kabul. Having a friendly government in Kabul would secure Pakistan’s western border and we could then focus all our might on the eastern border with India.



Q. What about good and bad Taliban?



No, there is only one kind, bad. But as part of the efforts to confuse public, a deliberate distinction was created by the powers that be. Afghan Talibanare deemed good Taliban being the guardians of our beloved strategic depth doctrine. TTP, our own home grown militants are deemed bad Taliban. Bothfeed off each other and claim to be fighting a war in the larger interest of Islam.  Imagine a scenario in which our strategic assets, the good Afghan Taliban take over Kabul post US withdrawal in 2014. Having fought off Russians and Americans, would these good Taliban leash their ambition to stay within the frontiers of Afghanistan? No.  They would look towards Pakistan for expansion of the Islamic emirate and will count on their natural allies, TTP. Not to forget how a Taliban regime in Kabul will excite and inspire TTP to have their own emirate.That would be a nightmare for Pakistan.



Q. Why is Pakistan so divided on Taliban?


Because our gullible people see them fighting in the name of Islam against the infidel America. Because Taliban speak of supremacy of theirShariah in Pakistan.Because our own miserable governance record has given people a genuine reason to look for alternatives. Because parties like PTI and JI have done their bit by disowning the war against TTPand by defending their heinous acts as retaliation against drones. This has not only confused the common man but also created enormous social space for TTP. Ordinary folk terrorized by the unrelenting blasts want respite and are willing to give anything a try no matter how irrational.



Q. Is the war against TTP our war?



Our war for sure. To set the record straight, we should not have joined the US war against Russia. However, we did out of greed and fear. Now our own spawn has turned against us. The state has no choice but to fight against those who occupy its territory illegally, challenge the state writ and do not subscribeto the constitution of Pakistan. These terrorists are no different from common criminals. If indeed anything is different it is the fact that they kill in the name of God.



Q. Is talking with TTP a good idea?



No. Despite the APC and clear government intentions of taking peace to the terrorists, the acts of barbaric violence continue. This is understandable. Do you expect TTP to opt out of the highly profitable jihad, forfeit their little dominions and become truck drivers, barbers? Engaging TTP is also well-nigh impossible as it is not a single entity. It is an umbrella group sheltering dozens of smaller groupswith their own agendas and interests. Not to forget the slew of brigands who have happily joined TTP to furthertheir business of ransom, murder in the name of God.



Talk,if we must, should be from a position of strength. The state should make it clear that only the state monopolizes violence and should accept no pre-conditions to talks.



Q. We have fought TTP for nine years. Should we not give peace a chance?


We have had at least 4 peace accords namelyShakai, Sargodha peace accord, Miranshah peace deal and one other. All fell flat yielding nothing. Swat is also a case in point where the peace deal was abused by the militants to subjugate the local population to their version of Islam. Luckily Pakistan woke up to it and liberated Swat after a highly successful military operation.


Q. Why do religious parties and Imran Khan support talks with TTP?



Imran does it out of misplaced conviction, self-righteousness. He believes nine years of war against TTP has not yielded any dividend. The situation has in fact gotten worse. True. But the peace deals struck also yielded nothing. The truthis the army obsessed with its strategic depth doctrine never put its heart in exterminating militants. It was also apprehensive of a divided polity and sought consensus for a full blown operation.



JI and other religious parties have been repeatedly rejected by the electorate. They have no other option but to clutch onto TTP mantra of Jihad to stay socially and politically relevant. In essence these religious parties have become Taliban proxies.



Q. What is the solution?



We need to first abandon this illusion of political consensus on the best way to deal with Taliban. Nawaz has the mandate to bulldoze disagreement and go ahead with his strategy to tackle terrorists. Declare an all-out war followed by on ground action. This will secure a position of strength for the state to productively negotiate and identify those groups who want to lay down arms and embrace the constitution. The rest can then be sorted out with brute force. While we fight this war, madrassa network brain washing our youth should be tamed and brought under state control. In time other actions like economic empowerment of the remote tribal areas will help ease the pressures that nudge the youth towards the deadly embrace of extremism.

Hasnain Iqbal

The blogger contributes for The News/Geo blogs

  • M.Saeed

    Current universal crisis of terror has been cleverly created by those who have no respect for human values. Their god is money they worship and create crises that produce unlimited opportunities to exploit terror to make their easy money. Therefore, these string-pulling killers of humanity are breeding situations that make a terrorist out of every Muslim. They purposely sow the seeds of despair, arrogance, ignorance etc. and grow hostile frustrations in youth of communities. Opportunist media is helping terror. It picks and exploits young misguided people by giving them highly unequal and biased projections in comparison with their more opportune contemporary in the “greener pastures”. As a result, when these youth find the truth through hard-way passing through various combinations of explosive divisions which act as catalysts triggering mutations that create several headed terror-monsters like suicide-bombers, Taliban, self proclaimed Jihadies i.e., all horrible weapons of mass terror creation.
    In our desperate ignorance, we are trying to cut the monster without knowing its horrible ability to grow new and more lethal monstrous tentacles from each severed segment of its truncated body.

    To eradicate terrorism, we shall have to start from its roots. As a first step, we shall have to divert attention of the monster on some other much more attractive bites to try its jaws on. By diverting its energies elsewhere, the monster can be led and confined in closed environs away from the harms-way to humanity. Open and fearless thinking is required to develop means and devices to tame and chain the monster as much as the system that breeds it. This would requires establishment of a dedicated “Think-Tank” with a task of finding effective avenues of diversions and practical applications for success Random measures without proper research and analysis would continue to breed and intensify terror.

  • Anonymous

    1. “The story started”…nearly a century ago – not when Pakistan or Afghanistan became part of it.
    2. If you can have 50 Shades of Grey why can’t there be shades of Taliban?! Would be wise to make the distinction between Afghan taliban and leave them be to their own side of tge border whilst you deal with the local menace of TTP appropriately including carrot and stick – Or are you ready to assert the state writ at ANY cost including rivers of blood by carpet bombing the whole region.
    3. ‘actions like economic empowerment of the remote tribal areas’ – by all means time to bring these areas into the main stream after 65 years of special status but the shocking amount of money floating there seems to have eluded the author’s attention.

  • Eddied

    Very well written, comprehensive review of the subject…

  • Anonymous

    Apologies for the absence NASAH Sb. Sporadic opportunities to get to get to the net during travels.