The 21st Century Phenomenon


It is over a month, since 04/26/2009, when the PAKISTANI ARMY, launched its counter attack on Taliban after the Tehrik-e-Taleban ignored the Swat Truce II, the implementation of Shariaa (Islamic law) in Malkand and Swat District and advanced toward the capital Islamabad. The Islamic militants captured few towns in Buner, just 100 km North to the capital, putting military pressure on Islamabad (see – Taleban-Buner).

Reluctant and under immense pressure from the USA, which threatened to hold its economic and military aid to Pakistan, the army launched a counterattack using mainly fire power from the distance rather than direct and close combat engagement. The direct initial result was a huge humanitarian refugee problem when over 1.5 million uninvolved fled the bombardments and the ongoing shelling. The first rule of guerilla is “strike when and where you are strong, flee when the enemy is strong”. Indeed most of the Taliban fighters just fled to the mountains carrying out hit and run attacks on the Pakistani Army.

Although no journalists were allowed to report from the scene, the repeating announcements of the Pakistani army of alleged “Victories”, the number of supposed casualties inflicted on the enemy and that the Pakistani army is preparing itself, time and again, for the final attack, already over a month, indicates that the Pakistani army is, actually, trapped in the mud.  

On Thursday 05/28/2009, Pakistan has offered a cash reward of $62,000 for the arrest of Maulana Fazlullah, the Islamic religious leader said to be behind of the Taliban’s campaign in the Swat valley. The government also pledged varying rewards to all those who help in tracking down 20 other Taliban leaders, including Muslim Khan, the Swat Taliban spokesman. The point is that most of the 20 leaders were already in Pakistani custody but were released in one of many endless “gestures”, “truce” or “reconciliations”.

Meanwhile, another flank of Tehrik-e-Taleban in FATA region of Waziristan, led by Baitullah Mehsud, is boosting its efforts to launch a terror campaign in the heartland of Pakistan such as the combined attack on ISI’s Lahore headquarter on Wednesday 05/27/2009 (see – Lahore 05.27.09) and the series of bomb attacks in Peshawar, the capital of the FATA tribal area and Dara Ismail, on Thursday 05/28/2008 evening, which claimed the life of 13 people.

In bottom line Pakistan is not able, in the short term, to uproot the Taliban and alikes from its society. It takes a long lasting political, economical and educational effort which the fragile political system of Pakistan can not provide (see – As If Democracy). The army, which built itself to encounter India in a conventional or nuclear war, is not trained nor willing to fight determinedly the Taliban. Therefore Pakistan is bound to live in a fragile status-quo with its extremists for the years to come. At the most Pakistan can contain the Islamic threat and to keep its nuclear arsenal out of reach for the Islamists. It is not realistic to hope for more.     


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