For an illuminating nutshell history from the Pathan perspective please see this article by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi in the Frontier Post. While I don’t agree with everything he says, he does give you a view of how things got to current state, and the present dynamics.
For a while I’ve been saying that peace must be made with some of the Taliban, failing to do so would be a mistake. After the Civil War, we did not continue warring against all Southerners, after the American Indian wars we did not stay at war continuously until there were no American Indians. So it’s normal and natural that both Karzai and Musharaaf are trying to work with the more peaceful elements, and trying to revivify the tribal social structures that keep the people of the frontiers from warring amongst themselves.
Every family of the tribes in NWFP has either Taliban sympathizers, or actual Taliban in them, soÂ if they don’t align with the moderate segments of the Taliban and make peace with themÂ thenÂ they are asking for a war of genocide. ( if you do a search on Waziristan from the sidebar here, you will find previous articles from last year about how Alexander the Great tried genocide and how it didn’t work.)
At one point the Taliban were respected, heroic warriors, and were painted as such in the US media because they fought the Soviets. Since then many of them have decayed, and turned purely evil due to extreme foreign Deoband/Wahabbi influences.Â
It’s evil that they kill their fellow Pathans, it’s evil that they cross borders to fight the Afghan army, it’s evil that they close schools and splash acid on schoolgirls trying to learn so they can better their lives and their tribe’s lives. It’s evil that they try to force their views and way of life on everyone throughÂ intimidation and terrorÂ rather than reason and teaching.
The war mustÂ turnÂ against the mullahs who are inciting Jihad — they are the ones who fuel this, they are the ones who collect the bounties for recruits and stay home with the wifes, the daughters, the sisters, and the mothers while the men go off to die for no good reason.Â It’s never the mullah’s family that goes out asÂ suicide bombers, is it?
It’s time to think on this: no matter how evil some Taliban have become, we must figure out who the moderatesÂ are in NWFP. We have aÂ gaping lack of knowledge there, but because we know who the evil ones are we tend to paint them all with the same brush, when there really isn’t a “stereotypical Taliban.”