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Rising Sun*
04-13-2009, 07:49 AM
The following article represents my long-held thoughts on the risk Pakistan poses.

The question is: If Islamo-fascists get control of Pakistan, what happens then?

I'd suggest that a full scale, and potentially nuclear, war with India is one possibility, not least because the long-standing enmity between the two nations makes it just about inevitable and because India can't tolerate such a threat on its border. That risks drawing in Islamic nations in the region on Pakistan's side, which throws open which nations support India and a question mark over China. Could be very interesting times which might have the potential to produce the biggest and most destructive international armed conflict since WWII.


West warned on nuclear terrorist threat from Pakistan
Paul McGeough
April 11, 2009

The next few months will be crucial in defusing a global terrorist threat that would be even deadlier than the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, a leading Washington counter-terrorism expert warns.

David Kilcullen — a former Australian army lieutenant colonel who helped devise the US troop surge that revitalised the American campaign in Iraq — fears Pakistan is at risk of falling under al-Qaeda control.

If that were to happen, the terrorist group could end up controlling what Dr Kilcullen calls "Talibanistan". "Pakistan is what keeps me awake at night," said Dr Kilcullen, who was a specialist adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House.

"Pakistan has 173 million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al-Qaeda sitting in two-thirds of the country which the Government does not control."

Compounding that threat, the Pakistani security establishment ignored direction from the elected Government in Islamabad as waves of extremist violence spread across the whole country — not just in the tribal wilds of the Afghan border region.

"We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we're calling the war on terror now," Dr Kilcullen told The Age during an interview at his Washington office. Late last month, when US President Barack Obama unveiled his new policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, he warned that al-Qaeda would fill the vacuum if Afghanistan collapsed, and that the terror group was already rooted in Pakistan, plotting more attacks on the US.

As the US implements its new strategy in Central Asia, Dr Kilcullen warned that time was running out for international efforts to pull both countries back from the brink.

Special US Envoy Richard Holbrooke has been charged with trying to broker a regional agreement by reaching out to Iran, Russia and China. Dr Kilcullen spoke highly of Mr Holbrooke's talent as a diplomat: "This is exactly what he's good at and it could work.

"But will it? It requires regional architecture to give the Pakistani security establishment a sense of security, which might make them stop supporting the Taliban," he said.

"The best-case scenario is that the US can deal with Afghanistan, with President Obama giving leadership while the extra American troops succeed on the ground, at the same time as Mr Holbrooke seeks a regional security deal."

The worst case was that Washington would fail to stabilise Afghanistan, Pakistan would collapse and al-Qaeda would end up running what he called "Talibanistan".

"This is not acceptable; you can't have al-Qaeda in control of Pakistan's missiles," he said.

"It's too early to tell which way it will go. We'll start to know about July. That's the peak fighting season and the extra troops will have hit the ground, and it will be a month out from the Afghan presidential election."

Dr Kilcullen also cautioned Western governments against focusing too heavily on Afghanistan at the expense of the intensifying crisis in Pakistan, because "the Kabul tail was wagging the dog". Contrasting the challenges in the two countries, Dr Kilcullen described Afghanistan as a campaign to defend a reconstruction program.

"It's not really about al-Qaeda," he argued. "Afghanistan doesn't worry me. Pakistan does."

However, he was hesitant about the level of resources and likely impact of Washington's new drive to emulate the effectiveness of an Iraq-style "surge" by sending an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan.

"In Iraq, five brigades went into the centre of Baghdad in five months," he said.

"In Afghanistan, it will be two combat brigades (across the country) in 12 months. That will have much less of a punch effect than we had in Iraq.

"We can muddle through in Afghanistan. It is problematic and difficult, but we know what to do. What we don't know is if we have the time or if we can afford the cost of what needs to be done."

Dr Kilcullen said that a fault line had developed in the West's grasp of the situation on either side of the Durand Line, the long-disputed border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"In Afghanistan, it's easy to understand, difficult to execute. But in Pakistan, it is very difficult to understand and it's extremely difficult for us to generate any leverage, because Pakistan does not want our help.

"In a sense there is no Pakistan; no single set of opinion. Pakistan has a military and intelligence establishment that refuses to follow the directions of its civilian leadership.

"They have a tradition of using regional extremist groups as unconventional counterweights against India's regional influence.

"The (Pakistani) military also has an almost pathological phobia by which it sees al-Qaeda as 'this little problem', as distinct from what they see as the main game opposing India.

"In terms of a substantial threat, Pakistan is the main problem we face today.

"We don't have a responsible actor to work through in Islamabad. My judgement, to use diplomatic speak, is that Pakistan has yet to demonstrate genuine commitment." http://www.watoday.com.au/world/west-warned-on-nuclear-terrorist-threat-from-pakistan-20090413-a4ac.html

Digger
04-13-2009, 08:01 AM
The Pakistani situation has long worried me, but it is difficult to predict what will eventuate if the Taliban, Al Qeada take control.

Certainly diplomatic efforts would fail against the new rulers. A lot of hope would be placed in an American rescue effort of Pakistani nukes in the event of the collapse of Pakistan. The chances of this mission succeeding would be slim.

The critical question would be how India and Isreal would react to such a collapse. Possibly India would consider a massive first strike against Pakistans missile sites in the immediate confusion of a takeover by the terrorist organizations.

Israel's role is hard to predict, but I doubt they would sit on their hands with a nuclear armed, extremist Islamic state.

I don't think too many planners would take great joy in planning for actions in such a situation should it eventuate.

digger

Rising Sun*
04-13-2009, 08:33 AM
Certainly diplomatic efforts would fail against the new rulers. A lot of hope would be placed in an American rescue effort of Pakistani nukes in the event of the collapse of Pakistan. The chances of this mission succeeding would be slim.



There is also the possibility of some of those weapons being given to someone outside Pakistan. Maybe someone prepared to sail a ship into a harbour in the land of the Great Satan, or one of its supporters, and detonate the weapon. Which might result in someone other than India launching a nuclear strike at Pakistan, and an utterly devastating strike which will then outrage much of the Islamic world. And perhaps produce the catclysmic conflict which Mr bin Laden and his ilk want.

The problem with rogue states is that they don't conform with the sorts of more or less rational conduct which could be expected of America / NATO and the USSR during the Cold War. And even then it was touch and go at times.

Digger
04-17-2009, 10:16 AM
Of all the scenarios I think India might react swiftly if the Taliban get their hands on nukes. I don't think the Indians have much patience after the bombing/terrorist campaign in the last few months.

digger

Rising Sun*
04-17-2009, 10:31 AM
Of all the scenarios I think India might react swiftly if the Taliban get their hands on nukes. I don't think the Indians have much patience after the bombing/terrorist campaign in the last few months.

digger

I think India might react before that.

There is a lot of enmity and distrust going back to Partition, and beyond, which is accentuated by the nuclear threat Pakistan poses to India, which was a response to India's acquistion of nukes long before Pakistan as an aggressive position towards Pakistan, at least as far as Pakistan saw it.

The unfortunate fact is that the Pakistani government doesn't control all that much of the nation, although rather more than the current Afghan 'government' does in its very limited areas of control in another state full of the same rabid elements.

Digger
04-17-2009, 10:40 AM
Yes, I agree they are losing patience.

My work place employs many Pakistanis and Indians and while on the surface they get on fine there is certainly an undercurrent between the two groups.

If you can get any of them to talk about the political situation on the sub continent, then they become very vocal and agitated. There is not much tolerance shown by either side.

digger

Rising Sun*
04-17-2009, 11:29 AM
Yes, I agree they are losing patience.

My work place employs many Pakistanis and Indians and while on the surface they get on fine there is certainly an undercurrent between the two groups.

If you can get any of them to talk about the political situation on the sub continent, then they become very vocal and agitated. There is not much tolerance shown by either side.

digger

Not unlike opposing elements from Sri Lanka and sundry other parts of the world who, as far as I and everyone I know are concerned, should drop it once they get here for a better life free of that shit.

Or, if they want to keep it alive, they can **** off back to where they came from. Which, alas, is not the policy of any Australian national government, any more than is repatriating to their countries of origin serious criminals who don't bother to take out citizenship as they're too busy collecting the dole and so on while running their ****ing car rebirthing and drug rings and so on. :rolleyes: :evil:

Schuultz
04-17-2009, 03:36 PM
Well, I think a big factor in this problem is going to be the upcoming/ongoing election in India. We'll see how that is going to work out, and depending on the victor, the country will obviously take a different course...

As for 'full blown war' - I doubt it. The rich Arab nations base all their wealth on the West, and the other 'troublemakers' like Iran are disliked even by the Arab community, especially Shiite Iran.

Uyraell
04-17-2009, 10:19 PM
The problem with India, Pakistan, and Communist China, Iran, and North Korea having Nuclear weapons is that they each should never have been permitted nuclear weapons technology.

Which means France should NEVER have been permitted nuclear weapons technology, since France is the point of origin for the Nuclear weapons technologies of the above-mentioned nations. It was French laxity and or greed which exported Nuclear technology and weapons knowledge to the above nations. This was admitted by a Pakistani Nuclear Physicist in a circa May 2002 BBC interview in which he described the process by which Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea gained access to nuclear technology for supposed use in electricity generation powerplants (i.e. "civilian uses") which in fact clandestinely evolved into nuclear weapons programs.

That was a Guarantee of international instability at some future moment in time.

That moment of instability may well be approaching, and it is a moment that if it results in open warfare, or any conflict analogous thereto, will cost every advanced nation on this planet. The cost will primarily be economic, yet those repercussions alone will be more than sufficiently severe.

Most likely is a conflict between Pakistan and India, which will risk embroiling the US, UK, Red China, and Russia.

The rest of us will be the ones to pay for it, one way and another.

Regards, Uyraell.

tankgeezer
04-17-2009, 11:27 PM
If an Islamic fundamentalist Gov't should gain control of Pakistan, I believe that Israel will be the most likely to act first,be it covertly, or in the open. India may act with them if the situation is serious enough. Just a late night thought,,

Amrit
04-18-2009, 02:53 AM
Oh dear, that article seems tohave fallen under the same misconceptions as many of the responses here.

Firstly, Pakistan has always been an Islamic state, but its move towards fundamentalism pre-dates the current political crisis. Its very foundation was based upon a nation for Muslims, carved out of the larger India, and though Jinnah was a pragmatic atheist, he used Muslim sensibilities to carve out a political career and nation. However, until the rise of Zia, the use of Islam in the political direction of Pakistan was rather restrained. But, Zia was the one started the road to fundamentalism, rewriting the legal code so that it was a reflection of Sharia law, rather than the secularised, semi-colonial system that was created at independence.

And don’t forget that Pakistan (with American support) created the Taliban, through the Pakistani secret police, the Inter-Services Intelligence, so as to have a controlling part in the direction of the anti-communist movement in Afghanistan.

So, what is happening in Pakistan now is a direct continuation of what has been happening for over 30 years. The fight between the fundamentalists and the secularists, isn’t what one can directly compare with politics in the west. One needs to look at it as regionalism versus centralism, because the domination of Islamic law already exists. The fact that the governments of Pakistan have used fundamental Islam has been there for a long time – the question isn’t of whether they do but rather the degrees to which they do.

Secondly, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are NOT the same. They never have been and are not now. There maybe alliances between the leaders of the two groups, but that does not mean that they are one and the same. Their aims may overlap but just as equally, they diverge too. One of the most important areas is their aims, with Al-Qaeda being an internationalist “movement(s)” whilst the Taliban, and their parallel in Pakistan, are pretty much nationalist, and more importantly, regionalist.

Again, the Taliban are not new. The form of Islam as played out in Taliban areas of southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, have gone back centuries. It is tribal, insular, and based on localised interpretations of the Koran. It may have acquired better weapons, and a more international attention than before, but in many ways it is no different from the Islamic peoples of that region that trounced the British in the C19th. When they are not fighting foreign invaders, they are constantly fighting tribal wars and feuds.

Finally, the relationship between India and Pakistan has been strained since day one. The fact that they went to war days after independence highlights their mutual hatred. But, and this is a big but, their fighting, and sabre-rattling, is more a reflection of their use of this animosity for internal political reasons than their desire for the destruction of the other. As I have mentioned, Zia used Islam, and antagonism towards India, as a tool to control Pakistan. India has used the same. When the BJP was in power, they did the same. It is the classic case of using “the other” to consolidate a group.
Will the two nations, even if Pakistan fell to a Taliban style government, rather than the current Islamic system, actually go to a nuclear-style war? I very much doubt it. Brinkmanship is a great way of rallying a nation but mutual destruction is not. The Taliban may be many things, but they are not nihilistic. Yes, there is a fear that some Al-Qaeda operatives may get control of a weapon(s) but that is a terrorist matter, not geo-political, as assumed by the above article.

What appears to be the real fear by the Western nation involved in Afghanistan is that Pakistani people may move towards a more fundamentalist view-point by their own choice, but one has to ask why. In the Pakistani regions where Taliban-style culture exists the relationship between them and the Pakistani central government is constantly being tested, and more often than not is broken, by the actions across the border. Over the last few years, numerous agreements between the leaders of the Islamic groups and regions in the North West of Pakistan, and the governments of Pakistan have been put under strain because the Americans have decided to launch attacks on Pakistani soil from Afghanistan. If anyone is pushing the rest of Pakistan towards sympathy towards Talibanisation it is the Americans, and their obsession with body counts.

There is also the issue of who will support which nation. The alliances that each country has is not simply one of Islamic nations supporting Pakistan etc. Until recently, Pakistan was always seen as an ally of the West because India had close links with the former Soviet Union. However, as the two nations now have overlapping political and economic alliances with other nations, it would be impossible to say which countries would back each power.

Basically, I think the only people who would be happy with nuclear attacks on India are the customers of utility companies who now use Indian call-centres ;)

Rising Sun*
04-18-2009, 06:55 AM
Amrit,

Thanks for your informative and balancing post.

Some comments.


And don’t forget that Pakistan (with American support) created the Taliban, through the Pakistani secret police, the Inter-Services Intelligence, so as to have a controlling part in the direction of the anti-communist movement in Afghanistan.

So, what is happening in Pakistan now is a direct continuation of what has been happening for over 30 years. The fight between the fundamentalists and the secularists, isn’t what one can directly compare with politics in the west. One needs to look at it as regionalism versus centralism, because the domination of Islamic law already exists. The fact that the governments of Pakistan have used fundamental Islam has been there for a long time – the question isn’t of whether they do but rather the degrees to which they do.

Substitute Israel for Pakistan and there are many common features, with the constant being Western interference. With America because of its power and interests inevitably as the major, but by no means only, player.

Western support for the ISI to manipulate it for Western interests created a Frankenstein's monster which came back to bite its creator in the arse, just as Hamas did with its creator Israel. (Okay, Dr Frankenstein's monster didn't bite him in the arse, but it's a nice simile. :D )


Secondly, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are NOT the same. They never have been and are not now. There maybe alliances between the leaders of the two groups, but that does not mean that they are one and the same. Their aims may overlap but just as equally, they diverge too. One of the most important areas is their aims, with Al-Qaeda being an internationalist “movement(s)” whilst the Taliban, and their parallel in Pakistan, are pretty much nationalist, and more importantly, regionalist.

True, but much the same could be said of Germany and Japan in the lead up to and during WWII, albeit on a different scale. It didn't make the combination any less dangerous to their combined enemies.


Over the last few years, numerous agreements between the leaders of the Islamic groups and regions in the North West of Pakistan, and the governments of Pakistan have been put under strain because the Americans have decided to launch attacks on Pakistani soil from Afghanistan. If anyone is pushing the rest of Pakistan towards sympathy towards Talibanisation it is the Americans, and their obsession with body counts.

I think the Americans are more interested in hitting the right targets for their purposes than being obsessed with body count as they were in Vietnam. They have more than enough ordnance and delivery systems to ramp the body count way above current levels, in a day or two, if they feel like it.

As for America (and its Coalition partners) pushing Pakistanis towards the Taliban, that is a significant result of Musharrif shitting himself after 9/11 when he realised that if he didn't throw in his lot with the Yanks his country, and more importantly to him, he, would be targets for American action. So he suddenly became a solid ally in an American 'war on terror', while unable to control the ISI and other military elements to deliver what might be expected of such an ally. This left him but not necessarily Pakistan aligned with the Yanks, and ensured that the Yanks (and the Coalition partners) remained dubious about Pakistan's commitment and reliability, which is reinforced by the failure (or more probably inability, just like the Coalition in Afghanistan in similar circumstances) of the Pakistani government to control its regions which are sympathetic to the Taliban etc.


There is also the issue of who will support which nation. The alliances that each country has is not simply one of Islamic nations supporting Pakistan etc. Until recently, Pakistan was always seen as an ally of the West because India had close links with the former Soviet Union. However, as the two nations now have overlapping political and economic alliances with other nations, it would be impossible to say which countries would back each power.

Which also could result in Western support for India which would have been absent a generation ago, and made more likely by the growing Western perception that Pakistan, regardless of its government's position, cannot present a unified national front and action in support of Western interests. Not to mention Western recognition that India is just behind, and in some areas ahead of, China as the major economic powerhouse for the next century or so as Western economic power declines, and with it military power.


Basically, I think the only people who would be happy with nuclear attacks on India are the customers of utility companies who now use Indian call-centres ;)

Well, I realise this is rather callous, but if a nuclear war on the sub-continent guarantees that someone in Calcutta doesn't ring me every time I'm cooking or eating my evening meal to try to flog me something I don't want, then it seems like a justifiable application of nuclear weapons. It would certainly confer a greater, more measurable and more enduring benefit on the whole world than the last time nukes were used against live targets. :D

Nickdfresh
04-18-2009, 08:36 AM
I'll have more comments when I have more time later...

But it also looks like the North Koreans are ratcheting up the ante...

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/18/nkorea.threat/?iref=mpstoryview

http://uk.reuters.com/article/UKNews1/idUKTRE53H0OY20090418

The question is: is the DPRK military still capable of any sort of sustained action? or has it deteriorated into a paper tiger by famine, dated equipment, and little actual recent training?

Rising Sun*
04-18-2009, 08:57 AM
I'll have more comments when I have more time later...

But it also looks like the North Koreans are ratcheting up the ante...

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/18/nkorea.threat/?iref=mpstoryview

http://uk.reuters.com/article/UKNews1/idUKTRE53H0OY20090418

The question is: is the DPRK military still capable of any sort of sustained action? or has it deteriorated into a paper tiger by famine, dated equipment, and little actual recent training?

I think North Korean nuclear and missile activity is a brilliant piece of operatic bullshit for which the West falls every time, and for which the North Korean regime deserves utmost admiration as the best international con artist and blackmailer on the planet.

Every time they crank it up, the West gets all worried and does a deal with them to stop it, which is then breached by the North Koreans when they crank it up again, and the West gets all worried and ......

And what does North Korea get out of it each time? More concessions from the West to help their crazy and evil regime survive a bit longer with its hereditary monsters at the helm while the masses starve. Gee, if only they had a communist regime which got rid of the exploitative crooks at the top of a corrupt system of privileged profit and instead replaced it with one which took care of the masses. :rolleyes: :evil:

The West, which as usual is primarily America in this case, should simply say: Do whatever you like to play with nuclear capability, but be assured that the moment you even look like using a nuke offensively against us your nation will be turned into an uninhabitable car park for a few centuries, with the first strikes on every point of residence and significance to the dictator. And even if he survives that, he'll have nothing left when he comes up from underground - apart from radiation sickness.

Nickdfresh
04-23-2009, 11:58 AM
Pakistan teetering on the brink of civil war?

Pakistan troops rush to Taliban-infiltrated area
Police officer killed as Clinton warns Islamabad to focus on Islamist threat
msnbc.com news services
updated 12:54 p.m. ET, Thurs., April 23, 2009

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Pakistani troops rushing to protect government buildings and bridges in a Taliban-infiltrated district just 60 miles from the capital were met with gunfire Thursday that killed one police officer, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear if the gunmen were Taliban militants, but the clash in Buner district is likely to heighten concern about the viability of a government-backed peace deal with the Taliban in northwest Pakistan.

The deal imposes Islamic law in a large segment of the country's northwest in exchange for peace with Taliban militants in the neighboring Swat Valley.

In recent days, the valley's militants have entered Buner in large numbers — establishing checkpoints, patrolling roads and spreading fear. Their movement has bolstered critics' claims that the deal would merely embolden the militants to spread their reign to other parts of the province bordering Afghanistan.

Some Pakistani politicians who pushed the government to enforce sharia law in Swat have even begun expressing worries about the growing clout of the Taliban.

"If the Taliban continue their advances at the current pace they will soon be knocking at the doors of Islamabad," Fazl-ur-Rehman, head of the Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Islam, the country's largest Islamic party, told parliament on Wednesday.

...
The Rest Here (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30361451/)

Amrit
06-06-2009, 01:47 PM
In light of my comments above, I found this article interesting. Seems that some of the worst-case scenarios don't account for the fact that some in Pakistan don't want furtjer Islamification and there is now an active backlash

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8085680.stm


As the fighting between the Taliban militants and Pakistani army becomes a war for the soul of Pakistan, Hanif Mohammed thinks the Taliban may have already lost one crucial battle.

On the 11th day of every Islamic month, my next-door neighbours in Karachi set up a sound system in the evening and start singing songs of devotion.

The house belongs to a banker who is also a minor spiritual leader of the Gilani sect, which originated in Iraq.

Their evening usually begins with hymns for the Prophet Muhammad, set to Bollywood's hit tunes.

Sometimes I observe them from my roof top.

They are all middle-aged men, and most sport flowing beards.

The long line of cars parked outside the house suggests that they have a preference for the latest, flashy models.

The finale of their spiritual evening is usually a rousing chorus where everyone joins in.

Imaginary past

The chant is difficult to translate, but it expresses their collective desire to get teleported to the holy city of Baghdad.

"Karachi has its share of problems," a guest staying with us and listening to this chorus commented recently, "but surely I wouldn't move to Baghdad. Don't these people read the newspapers?"

My neighbours are not the only urban, middle class Pakistanis yearning for a return to an imaginary past in the Arab deserts - a puritanical utopia where they would live blessedly ever after.

Every day, in a thousand prayer and preaching sessions, the believers beg to be returned to Mecca and Madina.

And until recently, many thought that the Taliban would lead the way to this promised land.

Or at least create a replica at home.

For a long time the Taliban presented themselves as the lost link to a pure past, a conduit to a simple life and eternal salvation.

Only four weeks ago most Urdu television channels were acting as cheerleaders for the Taliban.

Most Urdu columnists in newspapers were presenting the Pakistani Taliban as the reincarnation of early Muslim warriors.

Change of heart

Now in a rare consensus they are all clamouring for an all-out war against them.

Even the people who were sitting on the fence - or considered the Taliban a localised problem - have suddenly realised that actually the Taliban are out to destroy their way of life.

Every single opinion poll carried out in Pakistan has concluded that the country is a hotbed of anti-Americanism.

But now, faced with a war against the Taliban, the nation seems to have united behind the most American of slogans: they are threatening our way of life.

How did we change our minds so quickly?

More than the government or the media, it is the Pakistani Taliban who are responsible.

This collective change of heart can be traced back to a two-minute flogging video that made headlines around the world.

Everyone knew that the Taliban flog and behead people, and when they want to show their softer side they just shoot them or slice off their ears. But nobody had seen them at work.

A young girl's screams

In this video men in regulation Taliban dress and beards are holding down a young girl and methodically whipping her.

The girl screams. She asks for forgiveness.

It is never clear what her crime is.

One of the men in the video tells the other one to hold down the girl firmly.

This series of images had more impact on the people's psyche than a thousand theological debates raging on television.

For the first time a young girl's screams silenced the Taliban cheerleaders.

Then the Taliban leaders, in a series of interviews, have been outlining their roadmap for the nation on television.

It was not just the Swat valley they wanted to purge of evils like schools, music, democracy, barbers and the judiciary.

If it was good for Swat, it should be good for the rest of the country.

And later they wanted to impose the same model on the rest of the world. They demanded that the government give them arms to carry out their mission.

It was a spectacular public relations disaster.

Gory images

When the government finally launched a military operation in Swat, the same TV channels which had broadcast elaborate debates clarifying supposed misunderstandings about the Taliban went looking in their archives for war anthems to support the Pakistani troops.

I wonder if this change of heart is genuine or a knee-jerk reaction that dictates that we must support our troops because they are fighting to protect our way of life.

Many Urdu columnists still go to great lengths to explain that the Taliban came close to establishing a model Islamic state in Afghanistan - or that the Pakistani Taliban are not real Taliban, but Indian agents.

There is a set of gory pictures circulating on the internet claiming to support this argument.

The pictures show mutilated bodies of alleged Taliban, with their trousers pulled down to reveal their uncircumcised privates.

So they are clearly not Muslims, is the message.

And it is supposed to convince us that the Taliban are actually not a product of Pakistan's dangerous drift towards religious violence but a conspiracy hatched against us by Indians, Israelis and, of course, Americans.

It is this thinking that needs to change before we can decide whether our way of life belongs in the here-and-now or somewhere in the suburbs of Mecca.

Only then we can do something to save that way of life.

Rising Sun*
06-07-2009, 06:12 AM
Amrit,

Thanks for that article.

It was generally encouraging for those of us who deplore the prospect of Taliban elements getting control of Pakistan, or anywhere else.

It's understandable that many people in the middle and upper classes in Pakistan are worried by the prospect of a Taliban regime as they wouldn't enjoy the same lifestyle under the Taliban, assuming they survived.

The only sour note was the conspiracy theory in the Gory Images section at the end, which neatly and cleverly absolves the Taliban elements of responsibility for violence while creating or perpetuating suspicion and hatred towards India, America and Israel.