Taliban and Anti-Taliban by Farhat Taj: Myth and Reality

Taliban and Anti-Taliban

People across the globe do question about our history, society, culture and country, but sadly, we do not answer them—may be out of our lack of understanding or just out of inefficiency and lethargy. Our inability to respond the world in a sophisticated and logical way empowers the global and regional powers to misinform the world about us and to fulfil their vested interests, we witness some pseudo scholars on the basis of their self-assume hypothesis and self-assume facts drew some self-serving conclusions and wish to believe others irrefutable and in this way they shape, manipulate and control public thinking and mass psychology.

This all is really very unfortunate.

In 2011, Farah Taj wrote a book “Taliban and anti-Taliban”. The book, basically, deals with the phenomenon of terrorism and its impact upon theFederally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA) and rest of Pakistan. She, in the preface of her book, proclaims that the existing literature regarding the presence and role of Al-Qaedain FATA is misleading and confusing——she assures us to eliminate our confusions by offering us some significant insights in form of reliable research material.

Her book can be summarized in one paragraph to give you an over-view of what she has said and what she actually tried to say?

She asserts Pakhtuns are very sincere, friendly and patriots. They do firmly follow Pakhtunwali “a flexible unwritten code of behavior that a Pakhtun is supposed to abide by.” But unfortunately the state of Pakistan does not properly own Pakhtuns—-and they are neglected and deprived of their due rights. In 1980s, the all-powerful Pakistan army, in her view, in collaborationwith the United States of America, created, trained and used some jihadists to fight against the Soviet Russia—-those jihadists were later on termed as Taliban. After the end of cold war, Pakistan recognized and supported Taliban government in Afghanistan for her strategic interests. The USA after 9/11 attackedAfghanistan—–toppled Taliban government and asked Pakistan to stand by them (the US). Since then Taliban are the ““strategic tools of Pakistan’s foreign policy”, she argues.  Pakistan Army uses them for her strategic objectives, they are backed by InterServices Intelligence (ISI) and other state agencies. Pakhtuns just do not like Pakistan Army for her devilish role in war on terror and do not trust in any state’s security agency anymore. Therefore, they themselves are fightingagainst Taliban and Al-Qaida.

But Media and other paid researchersmisinform and mislead the world by distorting simple facts and exaggerating ground realities.

This is almost what the writer has said—-or may be what she just intended to say.

Pakhuns are very nice people, they are brave and patriots, this is the reality and it must be accepted without any doubt. The statement; Taliban were created by Pakistan Army in collaboration with the US is also an undeniable historical reality. This was a strategicblunder. But we must not blame Pakistan only, if we talk in a global perspective. Was the West not selling us false theories of “Next Domino” to push us in the fight against the Soviet Russia? And after 9/11 who forced Pakistan to fight the so-called global war on terror (Pakistan is a developing third world country)? Who has broken Afghanistan? Who humiliated and disrespected their women and children? Who destroyed their culture and throw them intocomplete social and political chaos? Who has terrorized the wole Afghan society and polity? One needs to analyze these aforementioned questions in global perspective of power politics.

Further,it seems that the writer is too romantic about the west; she thinks Drones Strikes are just to kill Taliban—Pakistan Army’s ‘strategic tools’. She thinks Pakhuns do want more Drone Strikes by the US to eliminate terroristsfrom their area——–FATA is part of Pakistan? Isn’t it? The US Drones come, do fire and kill our innocent children and women and go back—you think they come to rescue you? You forget the fact that the US is the author of this present day tragedy.

These complex and multifaceted issues are not as simple as she tries to present.

In her limited, naïve and innocent worldview, Pakistan, for her strategic interests, wants and creates unrest in Afghanistan. This is what may appear the funniest joke of history to serious students of political science and international relations. Will hostility and unrest in Afghanistan favorand benefit Pakistan? Will the politically paralyzed Afghanistan be useful for Pakistaniestablishment to reach their strategic interests?  Will unrest in Afghanistan not play an effective role in destabilizing Pakistan——do not miss historical and traditional enmity and hostility between Pakistan and India.

All these questions need to be taken in the context of globalization.

Then, she innocently questions and challenges Pakistan’s ideology and tries to establish a nexus between the so-called concept of Global Jihad and Islam. She assumes Osama bin Laden was fighting for the domination of Islam and therefore was being backed by Saudis. I suggest the writer to read “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam”by Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, so that she may get a clear picture of the world of politics.

There are so many other ludicrous claimsmade by the writer we can talk aboutlike, she thinks tribal people do not follow religion strictly (for this she needs to go through Ibn Khaldun’s Theory of ‘Asabiyyah) and ISI is the apple of discordby making some wishful deductions of facts and many more like that.

If we critically examine the book, we come to the conclusion that this book is intended to perform four functions: first, to defame Pakistan army and undermine her role in war against terrorism second, to spread hatred among Pakhuns against Pakistan, third, to legitimize US drone attacks, fourth, to ridicule Pakistan’s ideology and five, to establish a nexus between the global jihad and Islam.

We are living in 21st century and we must remember that politics of this era of human history is not as simple as it used to be in the days of Napoleon.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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