Thursday, 11 October 2012

A Note on the Taliban.

The Taliban's shooting of  Malala Yousafzai, for standing up for the right of girls to be educated in Pakistan's northern Swat region, has been denounced by Pakistani politicians and by human rights groups across the world. As repellent as such an attack is, the idea has been put forward that the attack is one of pure pathological woman hatred and is not political.

Unfortunately, the targeting of Malala Yousafzai is political in that she exemplifies what is regarded as part of the propaganda in what is sold as a 'humanitarian war' in Afghanistan as it fans across the borders into Pakistan. The Taliban does treat women as mere chattels and baby producers but that does not mean such vicious attacks are only psychotic outbursts of violence against what they hate.

The Taliban's aim is to thwart the West's geopolitical ambitions and to derail the project to construct the TAPI pipeline. The Taliban was backed by Pakistan as a means of actually advancing this essential energy project well into the 1990s ( some say there are shady elements in Pakistan's elites that still do ).

This, from Kamila Shamsie in The Guardian, is not quite true,
Because the state of Pakistan allowed the Taliban to exist, and to grow in strength, Malala Yousafzai couldn't simply be a schoolgirl who displayed courage in facing down school bullies but one who, instead, appeared on talk shows in Pakistan less than a year ago to discuss the possibility of her own death at the hands of the Taliban...the Taliban exists because of political decisions dating back to the 1980s; and of course the mess that is the "war on terror" has only added to the TTP's ranks.
The Taliban exists as a force in its own right that wants to protect its part of north Pakistan and South Afghanistan but it also is there to advance an agenda whereby, without having any political role in Afghanistan, it will use the most savage force to destroy 'nation building' funded by Western involvement.
There's no need for the Taliban to invent propaganda against the American and Pakistan state (although they do) – both governments supply an excess of recruitment material for those who hate them. So if you view the Taliban simply through the prism of the war on terror and Pakistan and the United States, it's possible to think the process can be reversed; policies can be changed; everyone can stop being murderous and duplicitous
The reason is because the US is continually Drone bombing the Af-Pak frontier and most of the political elite in Pakistan seem willing to accept that if they get the aid and investment. And a large part of that is about US  realpolitik and the need to secure the region for the strategically vital TAPI pipeline.

It cannot be emphasised enough that the instability on the Af-Pak frontier has been exacerbated by the pathological conflicts over these pipeline routes. There is even some evidence that Iran is funding the Taliban, after having been against it in the 1990s, because TAPI is meant as a substitute to the IPI pipeline.
But then there's Malala Yousafzai, standing in for all the women attacked, oppressed, condemned by the Taliban. What role have women played in creating the Taliban?
None. But shoddy US realpolitik, greed for resources, political corruption and fundamentalist ideas have all come together is a poisonous whirl in a region considered strategically vital for the US to control in order to advance its hegemonic goals in Central Asia and, through throttling Iran from the east, to harm civilians.

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