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Pakistan's Taliban Question: the Danger on the Home Front

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places.

pakistans-taliban-question-the-danger-on-the-home-front

Introduction

On last Saturday as usual, I reached the watering hole off the club and was joined by my friend from the Royal Air Force. The first thing he told me was that some videos were floating around which show Pakistani girls singing songs of praise for the Taliban. I had a look and found that they are available on YouTube. This surprised me because it appears there seems to be a certain amount of naivety about the Taliban in Pakistan. In case the Tehrik-e- Taliban which is also known as the Pakistan Taliban have their way and enforce the same type of Islamic Emirate which they are enforcing in Afghanistan, then these girls would not be allowed to sing, play games, or go to college.

Add to this the extremely emotional statement by the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan when he stated that with the victory of the Taliban the shackles have been broken. What sort of shackles he was talking of? the first thing the Taliban has now done is to shackle the woman and have banned sports for women.

This act shows the medieval thinking of the organization in Afghanistan and only a naïve man will accept Imran Khan's statement. It is on the cards that the Taliban would not confine themselves only to Afghanistan but will like to spread their brand across Central Asia and Pakistan.

For years, Pakistan followed a pro-Taliban policy in the hope that this would help them to achieve strategic depth in Afghanistan.

Now that the USA has retreated, leaving Afghanistan in the hands of the Taliban, Pakistan is confronted with a more serious challenge involving local and transnational jihadists.

Despite all the statements pouring in from the Imams and mullahs in Pakistan there are many who are alarmed. They are aware that a Taliban emirate across the border will prove a morale boost for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the violent group that wages ‘jihad’ for an Islamist system in Pakistan. Other jihadists, including the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), remnants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the ethnic Uighur Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) will also draw inspiration.


Pak girls singing "salaam Taliban"

Pak girls singing "salaam Taliban"

Danger

The euphoria of the Pakistan media belies the risks that Pakistan's people and government face. There seems to be some naivety in Pakistan about the Taliban.. In July, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was quoted as saying that the “Taliban have changed” and calling them “smart” and “savvy”. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad called the militia a “new, civilized Taliban.” However things are far from normal. In fact the portents are ominous. The Taliban has released important leaders and fighters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban as well as al Qaeda and other terrorists from jails. Pakistan had objected to the release of the TTP leaders but Maulvi Farooq Mohammad ( deputy leader of the Pak Taliban) and other Pak Taliban fighters were released.

There is more disquieting news as the T TC have now launched fresh attacks after the takeover in Kabul. 21 terrorist acts have taken place and in one of them nine Chinese engineers were killed, prompting the Chinese government to ask Pakistan to rein in the terrorists. This is a significant phenomena as by 2015 the group had been put on the backfoot by the Pakistan army.

Pakistan’s conservative Islamic scholars and religious extremists are elated by the Taliban’s announcement of an “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” Pakistan must remember that there are elements in Pakistan society who are yearning for a Taliban Pakistan. There are already the Blasphemy laws and the Hooded ordinance that negate human rights. This could result in further Talibanization of the country.. There are many Pakistanis who fear that a Taliban regime in Kabul would inspire the Pakistani Taliban to accelerate its war against the Pakistani state.

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pakistans-taliban-question-the-danger-on-the-home-front

A double edge sword

TTP activity has increased. In 2019,TTP militants forced residents of North and South Waziristan to stop playing music or letting women leave the house without a male guardian. In 2020, the group’s media wing, Umar Media, launched a new website to promote their ideology. Significantly, in 2020, Umar Media also announced that two splinter groups, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Hizbul Ahrar, responsible for a number of deadly attacks inside Pakistan have come back to the mother organization.

Since the start of 2021, the TTP has claimed a number of attacks in Pakistan. In the first two months of the year alone, it claimed 32 attacks. The recent resurgence of the TTP is a byproduct of the Taliban victory. They are also carrying out fresh recruitment to their ranks.

The relationship between the TTP and Taliban is complex. It is unknown what level of association the two share. However, the TTP exists primarily as an organization against the Pakistani state.

Pakistan is one of the two states in the world created on the basis of religion. The first being Israel followed by Pakistan. There is a fond hope among the clergy that Pakistan be declared an Islamic emirate but a recent Pew Research has shown that 72% of the Pakistanis do not want it. That is a big clue but with the political leadership hell bent on suicide and the Pakistan army doing nothing but playing politics and being an unprofessional force, may sound the death knell for Pakistan, in case, the Taliban continues in power in Afghanistan.

References

https://www.opindia.com/2021/08/pakistan-jamia-hafsa-afghan-taliban-viral-song/

Terrorism in Pakistan: The Tehreek-e - Taliban(TTP) and Challenge to Security( International Library of twentieth century)- N Elahi

Guardians of God; inside the religious mind of the Pakistani Taliban- Sheikh, Mona, Oxford University Press


Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 10, 2021:

Thank you Pamela for commenting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 10, 2021:

Thank you Vanita, Its always a joy to read your comment. One hopes Ganeshutsav will bring some cheer to these oppressed people.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 10, 2021:

Peggy, Thank you for commenting. I agree. I am happy to live where I am.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 10, 2021:

It is always interesting reading your spin on world events. All I can say is that I am glad that I do not reside in that part of the world where women's rights are severely curtailed. I feel so sorry for them to have to live like that.

Vanita Thakkar on September 10, 2021:

Interesting and informative.

Lots of talks about all this going on these days. People obviously feel concerned, and those safe, naturally feel lucky.

May this Ganeshotsav bring some respite, hope and way out …. Prayers.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 10, 2021:

This is an interesting article, MG. I know so little about Pakistan, but I always learn from you.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 10, 2021:

Tom, thanks, you are right the Taliban is a creation of the Pakistan Army ISI. I think in 1992. Now it has become a Frankenstein.Joe Biden has a big hand in its resurgence. Many people are thinking here that whatever the USA has done is perhaps at the behest of China and the generals of the US army have cuta sorry figure. The casualities of the Pak army are increasing. God help Pakistan

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 10, 2021:

Bill, thank you for commenting. Indeed you are lucky that you are not in Pakistan I wrote this article because I received numerous emails from Pakistan who asked me to write about the nefarious connection between the Pakistan government and Taliban. Many of the women are terribly scared. I have done my bit to bring awareness to the plight of Pakistan. I will again say that we are lucky that we are not residing in Pakistan.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 10, 2021:

Reading your articles just makes me grateful that I do not have to live somewhere where this kind of uncertainty and angst and anxiety exist. I have no frame of reference to understand Pakistan because I've never had to live like that...so thank you!

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 09, 2021:

Tom, that is what bugs me. I wonder ! Thanks for commenting.

Tom Elsdon on September 09, 2021:

Sitting in London I am absolutely sure that Pakistan is playing with fire. It beats my imagination how the political leadership is hailing the Taliban led by their Prime Minister and this is followed by the clergy singing their praises. Do these people really know what is in store for them if the Taliban comes to Pakistan. If I were a Pakistani I would be really scared.

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