Monday, February 21, 2011

Alliances and truce

Pakistan Observer

Alliances and truce

Monday, February 21, 2011, Rabbi-ul-Awwal 17, 1432

Fahd F Khan

Pakistan is passing through the decisive moments of its history. It is a time period where every aspect of social parameters seems to be intermingled into new doctrines and emerging paradigms. Is Pakistan the theater of new Great Game, which history has relentlessly repeated in concentric circles right from Penopolenesian wars.

Francis Fukoyma Magnus' "End of History" is very much unlike the thesis of Samuel Huntington neither the cultural differentials, nor the ideological one as usually perceived by everyone. These two theses of historical intent have a delimiting effect on the present Muslim populace all over the globe. Cashing upon these fault lines the Taliban are desperately ensuing alliances with anyone who can resist them in whatever capacity. Present truce cum alliance in the Kurram Agency with the local Shiites is a case in point. This is not mere idealistic vs realistic contest; it is much beyond the defined Rubicon. War in Afghanistan is entering the decisive phase, although no one can identify the exact phase due to extensive and perennial fog of war. No war in the history is fought under such dense conditions as that of the neo Afghan war.

Turn after turn this war is entering into a new arena of triumph, tragedy and trajectory. The latest development is even more horrific than anything known and palpated. Taliban in Afghanistan are gaining ground, even holding it for a while. The Afghan Taliban have proved to be an entity to reckon with in any serious conflict resolution mechanics.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on the tactics of destructive chaos and mayhem is now probably trying to engage the Afghan Taliban. It might yearn a bad experience, but nevertheless, worth trying. The Afghan Taliban are also not an ambitionless people; they probably think in trans-frontier terms. After gaining foothold in all the border areas between Afghanistan and

Pakistan, they are trying to further consolidate their gains. The Pakistani territory to them is a poaching zone. The Afghan Taliban have recently reached an agreement with the Shiite population of Kurram Agency. The agreement is more of a truce with granting sovereign grantees to each after for operating in the area with impunity, if this is implemented as perceived than probably it can be called as another nail in the coffin of state. State loosing territory one after the other is an indicator that the ideological and physical frontiers of the state are under immense pressure. In Kurram the Shiite clans were resisting the ever increasing influence of the Taliban, who even tried to close their historical route from Kurram to Jalalabad and Kabul on the one side and towards other areas with far reaching outreach.

The Shiite Pathans are very brave, they resisted the onslaught in a dignified manner but probably they lost patience with the local administration. Whatever skeleton they had, local administration should have helped these Shiite lashkarwalas by giving them moral and material support. The policy agenda of political administration should have been to maintain a popped up status of Shiite Muslim. This could have proved to be a factor in homogenizing all segments of tribal society in resisting these extremists. Kurram is an important place in this emerging mechanics of pent up strategies of terrorism and counter terrorism. This war is the war of gaining time and geography. Time in this case is not an immediate issue whereas geography is. There were news for the last two months that Siraj Haqqani's younger son was busy negotiating with lashkars and those segments of Kurram who were not giving a comfortable nudge to the Taliban. Kurram Agency has a strategic location. It is just across Jalalabad and also the shortest route to Kabul.

The Lashkars and local Shiites of Kurram agency were the real stumbling block for the Taliban. Army is already busy in fighting the Taliban in different tribal agencies; the government should have supported the locals of the area who had been resisting the obscurantist. The recent agreement and truce between Taliban and locals of the area is analogous to the fall of Kurram. One after the other if this trend follows, then we will be left with nothing except the remorse and dejection over losing both the endowments, the time and territory.



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