THE NEWS from Afghanistan has been nothing but bad, and every indication is of worse to come. By the end of 2014, the Afghan people will be on their own, as they were in 2001 before the arrival — at local invitation — of British and American forces. Recall that twelve years ago the Islamist dirtbags who constituted the Taliban held Kabul, where they supervised a fanatical program of demodernization and terror punctuated by regularly scheduled mass executions. Imagine trying to re-engineer a nation of the twenty-first century along bronze age specifications, and you’ve got the idea — or, rather, don’t imagine it: the experiment was there before the eyes of anyone who cared to look. Now that the war-weary West has thrown its arms around the convenient fiction that the Taliban are ready for a negotiated re-entry (or is it entry?) to the twenty-first century, let’s review a sample of the bad tidings.
THERE ARE no words of sufficient force to summarize this week’s attempted murder of fourteen year-old Malala Yousafzai, in the northwest Pakistan city of Mingora. Yet as shocking as this savagery is, there is nothing new about it either: depravity is the business of the Taliban franchise. There are however some lessons to be drawn from the years during which the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (abbreviated as TTP and known also as the Pakistani Taliban) terrorized the Swat valley and Mingora specifically.
It may be that the most eloquent words I can summon, in the wake of businessman and Punjab, Pakistan Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination, are these: “the death was received with shock in India.” Here I am quoting a Times of India article which is accurately headlined, “Taseer’s killing a warning to Pak’s liberal politicians.” It has been, or should I say, ought to have been, received with shock anywhere that people care about the advancement of good governance and peaceful coexistence, not only in Pakistan but all across our fractured and bloodied world. Continue reading “The Killing of Salman Taseer”→