Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pakistan: The Taliban takeover

By Ziauddin Sardar
New Statesman

"Pakistan is reverberating with the call of jihad. For more than two months, the capital, Islamabad, has been held hostage by a group of burqa-clad women, armed with sticks and shouting: 'Al-jihad, al-jihad.' "
" A new generation of militants is emerging in Pakistan ... they emerged after the US invasion of Afghanistan and represent a revolt against the government's support for the US. Mostly unemployed, not all of them are madrasa-educated. They are led by young mullahs who, unlike the original Taliban, are technology- and media-savvy, and are also influenced by various indigenous tribal nationalisms, honouring the tribal codes that govern social life in Pakistan's rural areas"
"The Pakistani Taliban now dominate the northern province of Waziristan, adjacent to Afghanistan"
"Taliban-type militias have also taken control of parts of the adjacent [North-West Frontier Province]"
"Why is the ostensibly secular government of President Pervez Musharraf not taking any action against the Taliban militants and the parties that support them? Part of the answer lies in the militants and religious parties having served the military regime well. After coming to power in 1999, Musharraf used them to neutralise the mainstream political parties"
" Pakistan's foreign policy towards Afghanistan is based on the assumption that the Nato forces therewill withdraw sooner rather than later"
"While Musharraf continues to placate the Taliban, the rest of Pakistan is standing up against Talibanisation. Huge demonstrations have been held ... throughout Pakistan"

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