The Taliban equation

The lack of government clarity on how to tackle militancy and the Taliban is becoming rather disturbing.

Editorial September 02, 2013
File photo of Taliban militants. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The lack of government clarity on how to tackle militancy and the Taliban is becoming rather disturbing. There can be no doubt at all that we need a definite strategy and a distinct course of action. Without decisive action, we are simply giving more space to the militants and possibly allowing them to muster up more confidence as they see a government moving with faltering steps.

The latest indication of this state of doubt has come in Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s denial, on September 1, that any clandestine talks were on with the Taliban.

The Taliban themselves had already said that no contact with the government was made. Chaudhry Nisar has also said that any decision on talks with the Taliban will be made by the prime minister by the end of the month. This seems like a rather long time to wait on a matter central to our security. It is unfair on the military too, which, notably since 2009 but also before then, has been locked in a long and bitter conflict with militants, losing hundreds of personnel in the process.

The military deserves to know what the future plan of action is to be and where it stands in this regard. What is also worrying is the statement by an interior ministry spokesman that a strategy needs to be worked out on how to talk to the Taliban or who the go-between is to be. The spokesman said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman was not suitable for this purpose.

All this indicates that we have a rather long way to go as far as reaching some point of action is concerned. The problem is we cannot afford this time. The government needs to come up with a plan as quickly as possible and not beat around the bush any longer. Doing so is only creating confusion and raising doubts in minds. This will not help the cause of the war against militancy at all, but only enable the Taliban and other affiliated groups to benefit from the hesitation and move ahead with their own vicious war staged essentially against the people of Pakistan and the state itself.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2013.

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Ruby | 9 years ago | Reply

@author: There is a lot of time for coming up with a policy. Meanwhile Kayani can retire and the new chief can settle in his post to implement the policy.

Feroz | 9 years ago | Reply

You are talking of the Taliban without clarifying whether it is the Pakistani Taliban or the Afghan variety. While I am with you in being unable to see any difference in their goals, ideology or methods --- many see one section of them as Assets and the other as a liability. Since they do not come graded, sorted and packed, the confusion comes from how to separate the wheat from chaff. Why any country would like to tie itself in knots and then spend decades and precious money in unravelling the knots, needs an individual of much higher IQ than myself to comprehend. Lage raho Munnabhai !

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