Talking to the Taliban — why?

Published: December 28, 2012

Fighting the Taliban can make you target but it is better to die an honourable death than to live a life of surrender. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

Those who still think it is possible to negotiate with the Taliban need only glance at their latest ‘ceasefire’ deal to realise how talks with such people are impossible. The Taliban want a surrender, not a ceasefire. The terms of this proposed deal are that the government impose Sharia — the TTP’s interpretation of it, one assumes — and break off all ties with the US. In addition, the TTP would like us to stop taking sides between the Taliban and the Karzai government in Afghanistan and instead launch a war against India. Needless to say, the government has — quite rightly — rejected the terms of this preposterous deal. Accepting would have been equal to admitting defeat against the TTP and implementing its twisted and misguided agenda.

There is only

If one good thing comes out of this ceasefire proposal, it is that those in the government who still think peace deals with the Taliban can work should now be disabused of that notion. How can one talk to a foe who is so insistent on getting its way in every matter, both large and small? And a government that hands over the running of its foreign policy to a terrorist entity with no regard for human life has no business being in power in the first place. It is important to remember that soon after coming into power in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the ANP agreed to the Taliban’s demands and imposed Shariah law in Swat. Even that was not enough for Mullah Fazlullah and his band of fanatics and they soon wanted more. Since then, the ANP has learned better than to try and negotiate with hardened terrorists.

There is only one actual solution to the Taliban menace and that is to defeat them militarily and ideologically. This means a military offensive in North Waziristan that will not be concluded until the Taliban have surrendered. And it means tackling the hate and propaganda that spews forth from them daily and has consequences like the murders of polio workers and anti-Taliban politicians. If there is one thing we should have learned from the assassination of the ANP’s Bashir Bilour, it is that fighting the Taliban can make you a target but it is far better to die an honourable death than continue to live a life of surrender.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • kanwal
    Dec 28, 2012 - 11:45PM

    I am a muslim and pakistani. More than 40000 of my fellow citizens have been killed and these Taliban have accepted responsibility of that. Where in the world are MY RIGHTS AS A MUSLIM? those who have been on the recievong end of their violence deserve justice and the Islamic Qisas says its eye for an eye and hand for a hand and so on. I want MY JUSTICE AND RIGHTS. they HAVE to pay back what they have costed us. Thats it.

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  • R2D2
    Dec 28, 2012 - 11:47PM

    What an incredibly stupid way of thinking. Even the powerful US realizes there are no military solutions, that you must engage. Peace is made with enemies and what not… This bit of writing doesn’t deserve any serious consideration and would not be published by a thinking Editor. I think its extremism and its unhelpful. In the end, if the writer feels so strongly about it, I am willing to loan my gun and pay for a bus ticket to Landikotal. Go for it and go all military on them if thats what really floats your boat

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  • musa
    Dec 29, 2012 - 12:20AM

    good american agents…………….one sided stories always . not even worth reading.Recommend

  • Chengez K
    Dec 29, 2012 - 12:55AM

    Lets not forget we must do what Americans do……

    We started war in Afghanistan only because Americans started war in Afganistan..we had no other reason to start this great liberal war and now we have to talk to Taliban because United States is talking to Taliban!!!

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  • Mirza
    Dec 29, 2012 - 3:44AM

    @R2D2: You wrote “the powerful US realizes there are no military solutions, that you must engage. Peace is made with enemies”
    There is a big difference when the US talks to Taliban vs. we Pakistanis talking to them. Taliban never physically attacked or occupied any part of US. They never systematically killed tens of thousands of US citizens in the US. While Taliban are waging an active war on Pakistani civilians and on the country on our soil. In the first case the US is the invader while in our case Taliban are the invaders.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • What
    Dec 29, 2012 - 3:54AM

    ET team should be given arms to fight Taliban themselves.

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  • Something Clever
    Dec 29, 2012 - 5:49AM

    @R2D2:
    The fact you translate what is currently happening as the US saying military operations are the wrong way to go about it means you should not be giving any form of advice with that holier than thou tone that can even be seen in the text. Nobody but the simple minded and people who should be nowhere near an authority position that is entrusted with peoples lives are so black and white on such topics.
    I’m not sure how to word it for a child so I’ll just say it normal with my fingers crossed: The US and most others believe military operations are required to deal with them even presently. The only change has been they have realized it’s not the ONLY thing they should be doing to succeed. When targeting the ideology and opening up to talking they are still trying to kill you and strengthen their forces. It’s not black and white. You can do both. You have to do both. Ok? I hope your head isn’t hurting.

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  • socko
    Dec 29, 2012 - 9:09AM

    @Something Clever… Well said, ..
    Still, the explanation you provided may not help R2D2 to really understand what you meant… Now what he must be thinking when he reads your comment…

    “How come this guy is not able to
    understand the simple thing that
    I am telling him that America is
    negotiating with taliban. I think he
    has got to be on the Rolls of
    CIA / Mossad / RAW conspiring
    to destroy Pakistan, & its efforts to
    emerge as a Superpower.
    Afterall America, UK & the west
    west cannot tolerate Pakistan
    benefitting from its most valued
    Strategic location on he map..
    They are working 24×7 to ensure
    Pakistan remains a poor country
    never prosper…”

    LOL

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  • M.SIRAJUL ISLAM
    Dec 29, 2012 - 12:26PM

    Your assertions seems to based on the RAHMAN MALIK’s advice. The same who confessed each of the blast to BBC. The same who produced fake VDO of woman’s flogging . Why not you go to RAYMOND DAVIS. All the work are done by companions of RAYMOND DAVIS and name it TALIBAN. We condemn each of such TALIBAN activity (organised by RAYMOND DAVIS)

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  • R2D2
    Dec 29, 2012 - 12:29PM

    @Something Clever:

    Pretending to be smart doesn’t make you so. It goes without saying that you use the carrot and stick method, you can’t simply lay down arms and talk peace. However, the editorial is saying that you just need to fight and destroy. That is simply not possible. If you speak to our own Pakhtun population, you will see that although they are against the militants, they equally feel victimized by a Pakistan that ignored them first, then sold them to the Americans to attack with drones. You may be a Rhodes Scholar and so bright that you can understand the nuances of such complex matters…however, the people blowing themselves up in our streets are geniuses like you..they are 16 year old Pakhtun boys coming from impoverished areas where they believe many things that you are fortunate to be better informed about. You cannot just kill kill kill…you must negotiate and win people over and punish those who are irredeemable. What I hear among this crowd here is extremism of the other sort…and it feeds the extremism on the other end.

    Hope that doesn’t sound too holier than thou for you. Again, you want violence…pack your bags and go there and do it yourself…don’t push the entire nation to extremes. I’m willing to contribute Rs 10,000 for your trip to Landikotal if you want it.

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  • sabi
    Dec 29, 2012 - 1:08PM

    Talibans are really nothing but a hanging sword on this poor nation which want to move forward in a diginfied way of democray.Anti democratic forces see death of their cause in powerfull democratic Pakistan.For them, forty thousands or forty lakhs, killing is immaterial.
    Those who think America has failed in Afghanistan should open their eyes.America hasn’t failed but our atom bomb has won.This atom bomb has kept America from chasing taliban on our soil.This bomb was supposed to save us from enemy but how unfortunate is that this bomb is saving our enemy which is killing,abusing,humilating destroying us on daily basis.

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  • Dec 29, 2012 - 2:21PM

    But at last we have to surrender,then why n0t be it n0w?

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  • R2D2
    Dec 29, 2012 - 2:29PM

    @Something Clever:
    Pretending to be smart doesn’t make you so. It goes without saying that you use the carrot and stick method, you can’t simply lay down arms and talk peace. However, the editorial is saying that you just need to fight and destroy. That is simply not possible. If you speak to our own Pakhtun population, you will see that although they are against the militants, they equally feel victimized by a Pakistan that ignored them first, then sold them to the Americans to attack with drones. You may be a Rhodes Scholar and so bright that you can understand the nuances of such complex matters…however, the people blowing themselves up in our streets are geniuses like you..they are 16 year old Pakhtun boys coming from impoverished areas where they believe many things that you are fortunate to be better informed about. You cannot just kill kill kill…you must negotiate and win people over and punish those who are irredeemable. What I hear among this crowd here is extremism of the other sort…and it feeds the extremism on the other end.
    Hope that doesn’t sound too holier than thou for you. Again, you want violence…pack your bags and go there and do it yourself…don’t push the entire nation to extremes. I’m willing to contribute Rs 10,000 for your trip to Landikotal if you want it.

    Recommend

  • abid
    Dec 31, 2012 - 4:26PM

    deception is also an art of war, and the TTP HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THIS ART. iF TTP doesn’t feel the pressure of losing the war, the indiscriminate killing of pakistani public will continue. All major political parties who are playing politics on the slaying of ANP leaders must not forget that their leaders once they come into power will also get eliminated one by one when they will refuse Taliban. This is bound to happen.

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  • Chimichanga
    Dec 31, 2012 - 7:32PM

    Wrong answer everyone.

    The US policymakers want Good Taliban against Pakistan which will give reason for NATO to neuter Pakistani nukes on behalf of Israel.

    They are trying very hard to use foreign fighters and local criminals called TTP as Taliban. Now US want to do all goodwill gestures to bring good Taliban back on their side. Unfortunately both good Taliban and Pakistan Army know US intentions.

    While newspapers and armchair analysts don’t have a clue why Taliban prisoners are released.

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