Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pashtuns in Pakistan Speak Out Against the Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan

On November 20 there was a remarkable gathering of Pushtun leaders in Peshawar, Pakistan. Remarkable because most of these leaders were coming out openly against Pakistan's support of the Taliban. Musharraf has been insisting that the Taliban are Afghans and are not really supported by Pakistan; and he says Pakistan is doing all it can to control insurgents who might sometimes cross the border into Afghanistan. Not so, says this group of Pushtuns. It is time, they say, that Taliban violence in both Pakistan and Afghanistan come to an end. And they called upon the Musharraf government to cut its ties with the radical Islamic movement. Those attending are described as "hundreds," all Pushtuns, in "a peace jirga", or tribal council. The real values of Pushtun society are, one of them said, "being drowned out in a sea of blood" owing to the Taliban insurgency. According to one speaker, "The Taliban [is] not the creation of Pashtun society, but the creation of the Pakistan army." Another described the Taliban "as the tail of the ISI" (Pakistan's intelligence directorate). "We are caught in the middle of warmongers, extremists and militants." This is great news: Finally those who are fed up with the carnage and brutality are speaking up. Lets hope Musharraf and the army - who really do control Pakistan - will admit the deception and bring an end to the war. Well, lets hope anyway. [The Taliban are essentially a Pushtun movement and most of the Pushtuns are in Pakistan: about 40 million versus 12 million in Afghanistan.]

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