The Taliban Are Coming

The topic of the Taliban gaining control of Pakistan is hot this summer. Newspaper editors are busy with lots of serious hand-wringing and mopping of sweaty foreheads. An editorial writer at the New York Times is obviously worried to distraction, it appears from the opinion piece of 27th April, “60 Miles from Islamabad.”

If the Indian Army advanced within 60 miles of Islamabad, you can bet Pakistan’s army would be fully mobilized and defending the country in pitched battles. Yet when the Taliban got that close to the capital on Friday, pushing into the key district of Buner, Pakistani authorities sent only several hundred poorly equipped and underpaid constabulary forces.

Well duh! The Indian Army and the Taliban are not exactly cats of the same breed, are they? The former is a foreign army (of a kafir state, at that) and the latter is an Islamic army — the purest of the pure — fully nourished and cared for by the Islamic state of Pakistan. The Taliban represents the best of the Islamic tradition, a tradition that Pakistan fully, unconditionally, proudly, and strenuously adheres to. Naturally then the Pakistani state’s response to the Taliban would be different from how it would have reacted to a foreign army. Why the editorial writer finds it remarkable is a bit of a mystery.

The editorial continues with

Pakistanis don’t have to look far to see what life would be like under Taliban rule. Since an army-backed peace deal ceded the Swat Valley to the militants, the Taliban have fomented class revolt and terrorized the region by punishing “un-Islamic” activities like dancing and girls’ attending school.

OK, here’s a clue: dancing and girls attending school are prohibited by Islam. It’s a fact. It is un-Islamic. There is no need to put scare-quotes around un-Islamic as if it were not really so but merely mistakenly alleged to be so.

Just by the way, I find it interesting that on the one hand, some people are vehement in their insistence that Islam is a “religion of peace” and on the other hand they are scared shitless when the “religion of peace” is actually followed as advertised. Cognitive dissonance or just plain hypocrisy? Both are troublesome. I lean towards the hypocrisy explanation.

The Taliban is the love child of the sordid affair involving the US and Pakistan. It was not a virgin birth because Pakistan was no immaculately conceived. The US participated the creation of the Taliban vigorously and with pleasure. For the pleasure, the US paid hard cash and trained a generation of jihadists. The jihadists loved the training, the Islamic manuals, the guns and the ammo. After they were done with the Russians, the jihadists turned their sights on other matters, such as flying planes into tall buildings. The chickens, as the saying goes, eventually come home to roost.

The editorial again:

And — most frightening of all — if the army cannot or will not defend its own territory against the militants, how can anyone be sure it will protect Pakistan’s 60 or so nuclear weapons?

Still pretending, are we? Pretending to be stupid? Or is it not pretense at all? It is high time the world understood that Pakistan is an integrated ideological deal. It is not as if the Taliban are strangers in a strange land. They are sons of the soil and are the most committed to the ideology that motivates Pakistan. Expecting Pakistan to do anything other than follow where the Taliban is leading them is retarded. We all know about the military-industrial complex. Pakistan does not have the industrial bit. It has the military-america-mulla-allah complex (the “Mama” complex.)

The writer is frightened. Finally. What took you so long? Did you really think that the $12 billion the US gave to Pakistan in just the last few years as aid was meant for the Amish community in Pakistan?

Anyway, the US still has not learned the lesson. As the editorial notes, “Congress is mulling two different bills increasing aid to Pakistan.” The generous explanation is that the US is being idiotic. The more accurate explanation is that the US knows that the weapons that Pakistan buys with the aid will be used to kill Indians and does it deliberately. That is what is scary.

4 thoughts on “The Taliban Are Coming

  1. Kumar_N Tuesday April 28, 2009 / 9:17 pm


    Thoroughly enjoyed your take on the Taliban being a love child but not of immaculate conception 🙂

    Coming to the grave matter at hand, I have been reading some Pakistani blogs, and there doesn’t seem to be as much fear about Taliban taking over the country, as one would expect from the western educated youth.So, probably most of them won’t mind ‘sharia’ for the rural poor as long as the cities are allowed to party and have access to the Internet.

    Off-topic, but have you seen the manifesto of Lok Satta? There is a lot of overlap between JP’s ideas and yours. (Building 1000 new towns in AP and education vouchers come to mind immediately).Has there been an exchange of ideas?


    • Atanu Dey Wednesday April 29, 2009 / 12:14 am

      Thoroughly enjoyed your take on the Taliban being a love child but not of immaculate conception.


      Thanks. But I must clarify the metaphor a bit.

      The immaculate conception refers not to a virgin birth but to someone born without the Christian concept of original sin. Jesus’s mother, Mary, was conceived immaculately (born without any original sin, but Mary’s mother was not a virgin) but Jesus was born without a human father (that is, Mary was a virgin.)

      In other words, immaculate conception refers to the birth of Mary, not Jesus.


  2. Atanu Dey Tuesday April 28, 2009 / 11:18 pm


    I have not seen the Lok Satta manifesto. There’s also been no exchange of ideas between JP and me. But I am glad to learn from your comment that JP is in favor of building new towns and educational vouchers.


  3. garib_ram Wednesday April 29, 2009 / 6:19 am

    @Kumar_N: I am not so sure about Pakistani bloggers being not scared about Talibans. Please see a discussion here:

    Barring a few occasional comments in support of Talibans, most are against them.


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