February 11, 2009

IT'S EASY ENOUGH TO MAKE THE AIRSTRIKES STOP:

Pakistani Tribes Caught Between Taliban and U.S. Airstrikes (Aamir Latif, February 11, 2009, US News)

Many Pakistani tribesmen resent the Taliban for the self-declared Islamic rules it has imposed on the local population, as well as its backing for foreign operatives living in the tribal regions. But the increasing number of U.S. drone attacks, coupled with bombing raids by Pakistani forces, have made it harder for many to oppose the Taliban's presence. "If we rise against Taliban and foreign militants here, who is going to support us?" asks Hazar Khan, a local tribal chieftain.

Hazar thinks that a majority of the local population wants peace in the region and is willing to cooperate with the government forces. "But what are [Pakistani] government forces doing? They are killing us instead of Taliban. They (the Taliban) are fully safe. The forces bomb, indiscriminately killing civilians, and dub them as miscreants or Taliban," Hazar says.

According to Hazar, whenever the tribal elders, and local religious leaders, who have been sidelined by the Taliban, manage to create an anti-Taliban environment, a U.S. drone attack or bombing by Pakistani jets often ruins their efforts. The "Taliban are very cleverly exploiting the drone attacks and bombings in their favor. And unfortunately, the killings of civilians in attacks also help them to coax the youths," he says.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2009 11:38 AM
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