Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Pacifying Taliban is not going to work
The world should have learned from Afghanistan that trying to pacify the Taliban will never work. That's why Pakistan's recent move to compromise with Taliban insurgents terrorizing Swat valley and areas of the country's northwest is both unrealistic and unworthy of a democratic government. Pakistan's North West Frontier Province government and Islamic militants agreed Monday to introduce Islamic law to those regions, according to the Reuters international news service. But while this agreement is ostensibly a compromise, it actually is a capitulation to the forces of irrationality. Since starting an uprising in 2007, Taliban forces and supporters have destroyed more than 200 girls schools in a campaign against female education and have forced thousands from their homes, Reuters said. The Taliban also did this in Afghanistan, where the forces of repression also destroyed priceless statues of Buddha that were thousands of years old. But the government apparently is trying to make the Taliban and al-Qaida uprising less appealing to residents of the region absorbed by Pakistan in 1969, Reuters said. A spokesman for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of assassinated former president Benazir Bhutto, said the agreement was a concession to the region's religious conservatives. "After successful negotiations ... all un-Islamic laws related to the judicial system, those against the Koran and Sunnah, would be subject to cancellation and considered null and void," said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the NWFP's information minister. The Sunnah is a book of the prophet Muhammad's sayings and teachings. Militants in Pakistan now control Swat, an alpine valley just 80 miles from Islamabad, which used to be a favorite spot for honeymooners and trekkers.