When US Troops Leave Afghanistan
"In cases where the woman is seen as a clear sinner who stands in defiance of Shariah, such a woman is not only allowed to be attacked but there is an obligatory instruction for such action." — Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, discussing the shooting of 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai for asking for an education; he has vowed to try again to kill her.
The Pakistani Taliban caused widespread revulsion when it recently gunned down 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, whose "crime" was to ask for an education. Although assassinations and terrorism are common in Pakistan, what provoked such outcry is that Yousafzai was targeted because of her background as a campaigner for women's rights.
Yousafzai lives in the Mingora area of Swat in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, where scores of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters have taken refuge. Yousafzai first captured their attention after launching a campaign against attempts by the Taliban to impose their version of Shariah law in the region, whereby men were forced to grow their beards and girls were prevented from attending school. She has campaigned against these demands since the age of 11.
For her efforts, Yousafzai was given a bravery award by Pakistani President Yousuf Raza Gilani last year. She was rightly celebrated and championed by politicians from across all sides of the political spectrum. Yet, not one of them ever bothered to question why a teenager needs to campaign for her right to an education. No one thought to question who would fear a small, young girl.
Herein lies the problem in Pakistan. The political class is simply unwilling to confront the Taliban which operates freely across much of the FATA region. Instead, they make political capital from criticising the drone program operated by the United States which targets terrorists in FATA. It is true that drones can sometimes be a blunt and clumsy tool, but in the absence of any will by Pakistani authorities to chase down the terrorists operating in FATA, this program is the only lifeline available to residents there who oppose the Taliban.
Two weeks ago the cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, vowed to lead a "peace convoy" to Waziristan, another Taliban hotbed in FATA. Khan said he wanted protest drone strikes but, in the end, stopped short of entering FATA after the Taliban threatened to attack him. Without a hint of irony, Khan continued to blame the United States for the problems in Pakistan.
After the attempted assassination of Yousafzai, Khan was again directing his rage at America – rather than those who pulled the trigger. He told a press conference (available in Urdu here) that the Pakistani government has antagonised the Taliban by launching a crackdown in the tribal areas. Worse, he said that Taliban fighters who targeted coalition forces in Afghanistan are fighting a "legitimate jihad."
The Afghan government reacted angrily to these comments, telling the Guardian:
Either [Imran Khan is] profoundly and dangerously ignorant about the reality in Afghanistan, or he has ill will against the Afghan people.
Our children are killed on daily basis, civilians killed, and our schools, hospitals and infrastructure attacked on a daily basis. To call any of that jihad is profoundly wrong and misguided.
Although Yousafzai was shot in the head she has survived the Taliban's attempts to kill her, and is now in Britain where she is receiving special medical attention. Yet the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ehsanullah Ehsan, has vowed to try again to kill her.
He has branded Yousafzai an "American spy," who spread "Western ideas." In a statement to the Pakistani press, Ehsan said:
She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her idol. She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas.
In a subsequent statement, he added:
In Islam and Pakhtun traditions there is absolutely no room for an attack on a woman of pure virtues. But in cases where a woman is seen as a clear sinner who stands in defiance of Shariah, such a woman is not only allowed to be attacked but there is an obligatory instruction for such an action.
She not only spied against Mujahideen but also created propaganda against them. The Gul Makai diary [an online diary Yousafzai wrote for the BBC about life under the Taliban] is an embodiment of anti-Taliban views. She has received the punishment for her sin.
The attack on Yousafzai perfectly encapsulates all that is wrong with Pakistan today. The Taliban arrogate for themselves the role of arbiters of public morality and conduct. They kill anyone who disagrees with them and are allowed to operate with impunity.
Instead of the Pakistani government moving against these forces, they prefer passivity. Their reasoning is that once American troops leave Afghanistan in 2014, the antagonisms with the terrorists will decrease. All this overlooks the fact the Taliban have entrenched themselves in Pakistani territory by killing their opponents. They have, in essence, created a mini-Taliban state within Pakistan itself.
In the meantime, the government betrays the very people in whose defence it is obliged to act. Ordinary citizens in FATA are being surrendered and betrayed to the Taliban's murderous rage so long as it does not rock the status quo in Islamabad.
More than 30,000 Pakistanis have died in terrorist attacks since 9/11. None has captured the popular consciousness of the nation in quite the way the shooting of Yousafzai has. One hopes this could prove to be a tipping point, finally stirring into action a political class mired in its own comfort.
Reader comments on this item
|Taliban running - scared of a 14 year old girl [120 words]||Valhalla||Oct 25, 2012 07:48|
|Revulsion: not nearly enough [50 words]||Ethan P.||Oct 25, 2012 05:50|
Comment on this item
by Louis René Beres
Jihadi violence serves not only to advance the terrorist's delusion of immortality, but also to add, however perversely, an apparent and desperately needed erotic satisfaction, using religion as the justification.
Persuasive promises of immortality -- the desperate hope to live forever -- underlie virtually all major religions.
Washington and Jerusalem should finally address what needs to be done in addition to military remediation -- reinforcing efforts to convince these terrorists that their expected martyrdom is ultimately just an elaborate fiction.
by Gill Gillespie and Shabnam Assadollahi
The aim of the current Iranian regime is clearly to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and to retain as much territory in Iraq as possible under Shia Islamist rule, whatever the human cost. Those aims are also the reason Iran's regime is now trying to intervene in Iraq.
Iran will doubtless be demanding that any cooperation with the West be compensated for by "concessions" permitting its nuclear weapons program.
Involving Iran in Iraq at this point will merely alienate any Sunni allies whose assistance is much needed to defeat IS.
Many people inside Iran have alerted the U.S. Administration for over two years about other industrial facilities being secretly built in Iran and not declared to the International Atomic Energy. So far, all intelligence from within Iran has been wilfully ignored by the Obama Administration.
by Burak Bekdil
The Turkish government "frankly worked" with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.
The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its "gray list."
While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and -- and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.
Being NATO's only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO's only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.
by Samuel Westrop
British politicians seem to be trapped in an endless debate over how to curb both violent and non-violent extremism within the Muslim community.
A truly useful measure might be to end the provision of state funding and legitimacy to terror-linked extremist charities.
by Soeren Kern
"My son and I love life with the beheaders." — British jihadist Sally Jones.
Mujahidah Bint Usama published pictures of herself on Twitter holding a severed head while wearing a white doctor's jacket; alongside it, the message: "Dream job, a terrorist doc."
British female jihadists are now in charge of guarding as many as 3,000 non-Muslim Iraqi women and girls held captive as sex slaves.
"The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS laws in the region. I believe that's why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force." — British terrorism analyst Melanie Smith.