Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pakistan: State of Emergency

I watched this show the other night on Frontline: World on PBS. I highly recommend it. Watch or read or both.

“We should remember the Taliban were never defeated by the Americans,” notes Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban and one of Pakistan’s leading journalists. “They were routed, and they fled Afghanistan and came to Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda, who are living in Pakistan, have nurtured a whole new generation of Pakistani extremists. So, this is a very, very dangerous phenomenon.”

When Fazlullah’s men started capturing local police stations and seizing weapon arsenals, the people of Swat began to plead with the government to take action. But Musharraf’s regime responded slowly and half-heartedly, sending in the Pakistani Frontier Corps, a poorly trained civilian militia, low-paid and outnumbered. The Taliban decimated the fighters, leaving their bodies to rot in fields and later taking a local TV camera crew to photograph the horrific scene. The Taliban also murdered a policeman and others who stood in their way, frequently beheading them and leaving notes that read, “Those people who serve America, the same thing will happen to them.”

"Those people who serve America", of course, means anybody who doesn't go along with them, including anyone who wishes Pakistan to be governed by its Constitution and rule of law other than a twisted Sharia.

Also see Firedoglake.

The roots of this conflict are not new. It is almost as old as the mountains and valleys out of which the tribal rivalries and fiery fundamentalist clerics preach power and a return to the past. We fail to learn the lessons of history, and with that failure, we continue to endanger ourselves and others across the globe.

No comments: