The comments by the French foreign minister about the presence of Mullah Omar in our country of course offer nothing new. This in fact has been emphasised by Mr Bernard Kouchner himself as he spoke before Parliament in Paris, pointing out that everyone knew of the whereabouts of the former Afghan Taliban chief. However the remarks are embarrassing. They make it obvious the games of deceit played for years by our intelligence agencies and the establishment have not really fooled the world. There is widespread realisation of what the truth is. Even the cities where Omar is thought to be hiding out are no secret. Local rumour says that he may have undergone cosmetic surgery since he fled Afghanistan to make detection more difficult. We wonder if all this is possible without the involvement of those in powerful places. There are bigger questions too. What is the purpose of harbouring persons like Mullah Omar — guilty of the most awful human rights abuses during the Taliban reign of terror in Kabul. Is it really possible that those within our set-up who once supported the Taliban continue to do so – despite the terror they have inflicted on the world and the instability created by this policy at home? The thought is a terrifying one.
Know that the lies told in the past have so obviously been seen through, perhaps we should try the truth. Certainly, as citizens, we need explanations as to why ‘guests’ of this kind are being kept on, even at the risk of our own safety. The dangerous idea that the Taliban are friends who can be used to re-establish Islamabad’s lost hegemony over Afghanistan needs to be abandoned, once and for all. We will gain nothing by continuing to support the forces of darkness like the Taliban. Instead we will lose even the dwindling respect and credibility we still hold today amidst a global society of nations that has learnt to look upon us with mistrust and suspicion. This is a shame.
Published in The Express Tribune September 17th, 2010.
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