Home > Geopolitics, Socio-specific > The menace of the Taliban

The menace of the Taliban

Bill Casey and Gen Zia Ul Huq would have had a lot of questions to answer had they been alive, particularly uncomfortable ones at that! Casey, in all probably, might have wanted to forget that he ever made the “We will know that we have succeeded when everything the public believes is false” statement. Success in falsehood have since come to haunt Pakistan and the NWFP ever since, with the creation and proliferation of the ominous Taliban which have dented the United States with the 9/11 incident and continue to bog them down along with their Pakistani counterparts elsewhere in Afghanistan, not to forget the significant damage they continue to wreck upon the ever turbulent Islamic republic of Pakistan!

The war on terror is far from over and the Taliban is anything but defeated with the United States shaping one strategy or another, inclusive of conditional aid to Pakistan. CIA Director Leon Panetta can afford to think aloud about Bin-Laden’s whereabouts but that is not getting him any closer to nabbing the world’s most wanted notorious element of terror soon! Repeated drone-aided pounding of the Af-Pak region in the hopes of distancing and dismantling the Taliban is obviously not proving to yield any desired results, and, on the contrary is making the place more deadly and volatile than ever before.

What is lacking on the part of the United States is a well coordinated HUMINT effort along with their Pakistani supports to understand the ground level situation and counter the same. Presently, a great deal of resources and efforts are being directed towards TECHINT efforts which are yet to bring results to the table. Worse still, the repeated uncoordinated attacks initiated by the United States Army in the region are causing more of the locals to join hands with the Taliban in what they see as an infidel violation of their scared land. If anything, this is making the US Army sweat more in the deadlock of not being able to reign in the fighters who have better knowledge of the terrain, much to the chagrin of their Corps Commanders and bosses ensconced in Washington. Observers in Washington couldn’t be more naive than providing repeated financial assistance to the government of Pakistan as part of what they call a systematic effort to fight the war on terror.

What is urgently needed is that the United States coordinate with the Pakistani Army in engaging in joint operations to first sanitize the regions and free it from the warring brigades of Taliban and help establish outposts that are jointly manned and protected. This ensures that the scourge does not spill over to other parts of Pakistan. Secondly, the ultra porous border that Pakistan shares with its neighbor Afghanistan needs urgent monitoring and securing. Though this may seem a marathon task, which it certainly is, it can be attained with the help of UAVs that can be deployed to track the movement of people across the border. Detachments need to be posted at strategic points to monitor people crossing over and their supply routes need to be checked from time to time, thereby preventing mass trafficking of weapons and other war material. However, before any concrete action is taken on this front, the United States needs to ensure that the ISI is not actually aiding separatist factions by supplying them weapons and resources which find safe cover in many madarassas and local safe houses belonging to chieftains in the area.

The Pakistani President’s recent statement that the nation is committed to fight the Taliban has been one of the many that has been repeated from time to time given the instances of terrorism that continue to plague the region. An informed observer would assign very insignificant importance to such echoes that are meant only for the comfort of the prying ears in Washington and the International Community. The truth is that Pakistan now stands at the brink of collapse given the rapidly escalating situation, if it not were to take any concrete measures to arrest the proliferation of the Taliban. And then, there is always the looming danger of nuclear weapons in Pakistan falling into the hands of terror elements, such an act capable of bringing unspeakable disaster to surrounding nations, India in particular!

Now that the Taliban is regrouping in nations such as Yemen and Somalia, where governments have been weak for sometime now, the threat of multi-locational terror operations being staged over a huge geography suddenly seems very real! Fighting an adept enemy who has no permanent base of operations along with the advantage of being highly mobile and possessive of a fluid structure could prove very costly to the United States and Pakistan.

I’m wondering if, in hindsight, some people ponder over the mistake they have made in creating a Frankenstein  which has now grown significantly, both, in numbers and in ideology!

Is this another classic illustration of the cause and effect theory?

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