By Sunny Hundal
October 15 2012
The New York Times made a poignant and very worrying documentary in 2009 on how the Taliban were ruling parts of Pakistan and had issued a command that all girls should stop attending schools.
The documentary has resurfaced because the NYT then interviewed an 11-yr old Malala (see box) saying she really wanted to go to school and become a doctor.
Malala Yousafzai is now in critical condition and yet the Taliban have vowed to kill her anyway.
A 15-year-old girl who was wounded alongside Ms. Yousafzai described how easily the Taliban had been able to attack the school bus. “A young man in his early 20s approached the bus and asked for Malala,” the girl, Kainat Riaz, said in an interview at her family’s home in Swat. “Then he started firing.”
What frustrates me about all this is that while left-wingers in the US and UK constantly criticise US drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan – there is virtual silence on what to do about the Taliban.
Let me be clear: I think the drone attacks are counter-productive and also end up hitting a lot of innocent people. And they set an awful precedent for other countries to also use them in foreign territory.
But the Taliban always have been and always will be a much greater threat to Pakistanis than the US.
The Taliban aren’t just a threat to Pakistanis but the entire region. Controlling Pakistan would mean controlling its nuclear weapons and outright confrontation and war with India. And I’m not exaggerating either.
So here’s my question: once the US withdraws from Pakistan by 2014 (assuming Obama gets re-elected, rather than Romney) – do we just ignore the Taliban? Because that is what lefties seem to want to do.
Do we ignore that the Taliban want to subjugate and control Pakistan and Afghanistan, through funding from extremists groups in the Middle East. Do we ignore the fact that they want women banned from public life there and deny them even education?
Of course I’m not calling for an invasion of Pakistan to root out the Taliban. But I’m asking: should we ignore them and leave the region at it? What happened to solidarity with the Pakistanis against the Taliban? Do we ignore them until the region blows up into a nuclear stand-off?
We focus on US actions because we can influence them more than Pakistani govt action. But this is the easy way out for two reasons: the US will never be a threat to Pakistanis on a scale like the Taliban. Secondly, it ignores the longer term threat to Pakistanis.
The Taliban were there before 9-11, so the argument that without the drone attacks they would melt away is fatuous.
They are religious extremists and want Pakistanis subjugated to their extremist version of Islam regardless of who the Prime Minister is. The United States did not create them. And they will be there a long time after the United States leaves. What then?