Suicidal path

First Edit


Pakistan has suffered one more terrorist attack on Friday at Peshawar which is the latest in the series of such strikes against the security forces over the past 11 days. Clearly these attacks are an attempt to restrain the Pakistan army from its proposed offensive operations in South Waziristan in the lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas which is the stronghold of the Teherik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The Taliban earlier targeted the UN office, the army headquarters, police and the citizenry, killing about 150 people with the latest suicide bomber killing 12 people at Peshawar. The Taliban are apparently unnerved by the Pakistan military’s decision to use airpower and artillery against them which proved effective in the recent Swat offensive. This is evident from the fact that some Taliban elements are reportedly fleeing their lair in South Waziristan before the impending army offensive.

Since the July 2007 Pakistan army attack on the Lal Masjid, there have been quite a few cases of the militants taking on military targets. Earlier this year the militants attacked the regional headquarters of the ISI in Lahore apart from attacks on a Pakistan Air Force bus at Sargodha in 2007. This is because the Taliban leaders Fazlullah, Baituallah and Hamkimullah declared a jihad against the Pakistan army and the ISI after the Lal Masjid episode. Also some Taliban elements are fighting the Pakistan army not because they want do so, but only due to its alliance with the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. All this suggests that the divide between the army and the Islamic fundamentalists who once formed the military-mullah nexus is weakening and now they are at loggerheads.

The fact that the Taliban appear to be gaining the upper hand over the security forces is alarming because they have over the years provided stability to the Pakistani state. Therefore with the Taliban in open war against the security forces has a civil war started to take shape in the Muslim country? It has enormous implications to India and the world as Pakistan is a nuclear armed nation. The Pakistan army will now have to concentrate on the Pakistan-based Taliban rather than those in Afghanistan. This move may well compel the NATO alliance to deploy more troops in Afghanistan to tackle the Taliban there from collaborating with their counterparts in Pakistan, given the porous nature of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

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