Friday, November 09, 2007

Taliban can't be bracketed with Pashtuns: Analysts

This is an interesting article but it seems to me it conceals some critical elements of the composition of the Taliban: Those non-Pushtun elements that are participating in the Taliban movement are probably mostly non-Afghan of any sort. What seems clear is that the Taliban have now become the vehicle of Al Qaeda leadership. Are the troops merely paid hands from the local Pushtun tribes? It is conceivable that many of the peoples in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban are ensconced are cooperative merely because they have no other choice. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are well armed, well financed, and apparently fairly well organized. But this article at least suggests that in fact the new Taliban-Al Qaeda is even foreign to the areas where they now operate. The issues for many of those people are likely to be economic more than ideological. RLC

Pajhwok Afghan News

"Tribespeople living in the long-neglected region that straddles the Durand Line are the worst-hit by war ... in interviews with Pajhwok Afghan News, observers pour scorn on the
impression that Taliban have grown out of the tribal politics of the Pashtun community"
"Such anti-Pashtun commentaries, according to analysts, are not based on credible research on the factors that fuel the ongoing wave of insecurity in the landlocked country."
"Political commentator Wahid Muzhda opines Taliban are not the representatives of a single Afghan faction. 'Being an ethnic Tajik myself, I have been with the movement for half a decade.'"
"Many people from the southern Kandahar province held high positions in the Taliban government, he recalls, but hastens to explain it does not mean they exclusively represent the Pashtuns. 'For one, I will never subscribe to the point of view that Taliban can be bracketed
with any one Afghan community.'"
"Parliamentarian Kabir Ranjbar, echoing Muzhda's opinion, makes it abundantly clear the insurgents are not born out of the Pashtun politics of tribalism. 'Espousing an ideology called fundamentalism, Taliban have links to the al-Qaeda network,' he elucidates."
"Mullah Omar was stoutly supported by Tajiks, Uzbeks, Chechens, Arabs and extremists from other nations"
"'Pashtuns themselves are simultaneously being mowed down by Taliban and bombed by foreign troops. Making matters worse is the hard fact the government is paying little - if any - heed to the reconstruction of the war-devastated belt inhabited by them'"

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