Saturday, January 23, 2010

Irfan Husain on what the Taliban want

People like Glenn Greenwald and his following on constantly berate the US for its actions, blaming the US and the US alone for troubles in the Muslim world. So I post this from Irfan Husain, in Dawn, which has quite the opposite message.

Irfan Husain in The Dawn:
Those urging the government to negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban need to be clear whether they want their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to lead the lives their Afghan counterparts had to not so long ago. To the Taliban, these are non-negotiable conditions to their stated desire to impose their version of the Sharia on the rest of us.

Largely due to the shrill voices that have crowded out reason from media debate, there is a lot of confusion and ambiguity about what the Taliban want, and how far the government should go in meeting their demands. Some argue that their excesses are the result of the western presence in Afghanistan, and our government’s military anti-Taliban operations in the tribal areas. How the extremists hold school-going children responsible for these policies, and destroy schools is something their apologists in the media have failed to explain.
So much as I wish it were otherwise, I fear a military solution is the only one currently available. Negotiating from a position of weakness is a sure recipe for disaster.