Pakistan army pays heavy price in Taliban war

Michael Georgy May 20, 2010

RAWALPINDI: Retired army captain Zafar Tajammal dismisses US demands for Pakistan to do more to fight Muslim militants as he chokes back tears.

His son Captain Bilal Zafar was killed cut down by a rocket-propelled grenade while leading a charge against entrenched Taliban fighters. “I loved him so much that once I told him ‘I will not get you married. Because I love you so much I am afraid I will not be able to share my love with your wife’,” he said, sitting under a huge poster of the commando and the last SMS sent to relatives. “If there was an American dignitary sitting in front of me I would certainly try to ask him, What else can a human being do more than sacrificing their life?

Has any other army in the world suffered so many casualties fighting militants?” That’s a question that has often strained relations between the US and Pakistan, and it’s being asked once again after US authorities said a Pakistani- American was behind the attempted bombing in New York’s Times Square.

Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility and threatened to carry out suicide bombings in major US cities. Many in the US wonder why Pakistan, with one of the world’s biggest armies, can’t just wipe out the Taliban. The suggestion that Pakistan is not trying hard enough infuriates army officers who remember their fallen comrades.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 21st, 2010.