Friday, March 13, 2009
I thought this merited a separate post. I normally assume that people are up to date with the papers, but this news was not carried widely enough, and so am carrying a news article from the Telegraph (UK).
US privately backs Pakistan's 'Sharia law for peace' deal with Taliban
On Tuesday night however, US officials in Islamabad privately backed the deal as an attempt to drive a wedge between Swat's Taliban, which is focused on its demand for Sharia law, and the al-Qaeda-linked Taliban led by Baitullah Mehsud, the notorious commander who controls much of North and South Waziristan and other tribal areas along the Afghan border.
While they expressed fears that the deal might yet be sabotaged by some Swat Taliban militants who support al-Qaeda, they said that if successful, the deal would break up the alliance between the two groups, which has caused alarm throughout Pakistan and in Washington.
This is idiocy. Does the US really think it can play such games in this region? Remember what happened the last time the US tried to do such things in Afghanistan by aiding Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (on Pak's advise)?
To all my Western readers: These things simply don't work. You have to be principled in how you deal with these groups, and treat them based on what they believe in. For one, both the groups you are trying to drive a wedge between treat women like animals. Secondly, do you really think that the Taliban (or any of its factions) will forget their hatred of the Kuffar and the American Satan and not see through this? You can bet your last dollar that once their position in Malakand has been consolidated, they will close ranks in order to complete the march to Islamabad. Not only that, the day will come when this will be touted as yet another example of America's intrigue in the region, and another reason to hate them.
Islamabad is what, 150Kms away now?