Taliban Desparation or Taliban Expansion?

Posted on June 12, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice
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Adil Najam

Taliban murderers are at it again. An increased rampage of suicide bombings and blasts in Peshawar, in Lahore, in Nowshera, in Hangu, and all over Pakistan. As the operation against them intensifies in the Swat region, they are bringing more terror to the rest of Pakistan. From their statements, they take responsibility for and seem quite proud about killing Pakistanis, murdering Muslims, targeting Mosques, spreading mayhem.

Does this signify an act of desperation on the part of the Taliban, or an act of expansion?

Yesterday it was a blast at a five-star hotel in Peshawar. Today it was the targetted murder of a major anti-Taliban religious leader in Lahore and the destruction of a mosque in Nowshera. But these are just two data points in a continuum of killing Pakistanis, destroying mosques, and massacaring Muslims who disagree with their doctrine of hate that has accelerated recently and is likely to increase even more.

There is little pioint in repeating the gory details of these bouts of murder by the Taliban. We know the details already. And what we know will change soon enough. And more bombs will be added.

It is clear that the Taliban know exactly what they are doing. They are spreading mayhem. They are breeding fear. They are terrorizing Pakistanis. They are doing all this for a reason. The real battle is for the hearts and minds of Pakistanis.

They made the religious argument and that seems to be working less and less for them today. Now they are threatening our daily existence in the attempt to break the will of the public.

The question is: Will they succeed? Will we give in to their terror? Will they be able to scare us – the people of Pakistan – into retreat? Will we bow to their venom and murder?

These are not easy choices for those who actually live where the bombs are blowing up, where limbs are flying, where children are dying. This was always a war on Pakistan that Pakistanis themselves would have to fight. the Taliban are making it ever more personal for ordinary Pakistanis, every day.

The Taliban are hoping we will make the wrong decision. That we will side with our personal safety rather than our national security. Will we?

33 Comments on “Taliban Desparation or Taliban Expansion?”

  1. Farrukh says:
    June 12th, 2009 4:39 pm

    I think this is more desperation than expansion by the Taliban. But they are actually losing even more ground by doing this because they are losing the most important support they had till now, i.e., the silence of the Pakistani public. Now people are outraged at their killings and bombs of ordinary Muslims all over Pakistan.

  2. Obaid says:
    June 12th, 2009 4:43 pm

    We see these events everyday and we keep getting angry over them but we don

  3. Hamza says:
    June 12th, 2009 4:45 pm

    It’s hard to say, but given the seemingly succesful military offensive in Swat, it seems like an act of desperation. Yet, the fact that they can attack any target in this country shows just how strong they are. But, for this comment, I’d like to point out something related.

    While the Waziristan & Swat Taliban are often portrayed as the “enemy”, we are forgetting that the Taliban have a presence in all parts of Pakistan. None of the attacks in Lahore could have occurred without the assistance of terrorist elements in South Punjab. Similarly, the Afghan Taliban high command is said to be based in Quetta. While our national security establishment may make an artificial distinction between the Afghan Taliban and their Pakistani counterparts, the facts seem to suggest that both organizations owe their allegiance to Mullah Omar. Further, we should remember that much of the original Taliban were trained in seminaries (Jamia Binoria) in Karachi.

    The point is this: in the end, the Swat offensive or even a planned Waziristan battle will not achieve a permanent peace. As long as Maddresah reform does not occur, elements in our national security establishment continue protecting the Afghan Taliban and see them as “patriots”, and finally, politicians such as Imran Khan or in the Jamaat-e-Islami see the Taliban as our “misguided” brethren, the Taliban will never be defeated, and peace will not return to Pakistan.

    Thus, more problematic than the suicide bombings and terrorist attacks is the presence of an extremist mindset among many Pakistanis. Read comments on any right wing Pakistani blog (pkpolitics, for instance) to see what I mean. Many readers and commentators of that blog refused to believe that the Taliban pose a mortal threat to this country. That, my friends, is the real threat to Pakistan.

  4. Saadia says:
    June 12th, 2009 4:49 pm

    Actually, the Taliban are fighting a war against Islam. They are killing Muslims, they are targeting Muslim scholars like in Lahore today. They are destroying mosques. This is all well planned. They want to impose their demon ideas on all of us and replace the Islam we practice by their barbarism.

  5. Daktar says:
    June 12th, 2009 4:51 pm

    I do think this is Taliban expansion. They are expanding into other parts of Pakistan. These are not the same Taliban that are fighting in the North, these are local Talibans and this just shows how deep they have gotten into society. This is really scary.

  6. Aamir Ali says:
    June 12th, 2009 5:39 pm

    The recent attacks are pre-emptive by the core Taliban, who are based in Waziristan. They have seen their franchises in Bajaur, Hangu, Khyber and now in Swat crushed and know that they are on the hit-list.

    So they have employed a tactic they first used in Peshawar in January 2006, which is to launch direct attacks in Pakistani cities and build up deterrence against Pakistani awam and army. The Taliban are hoping to break the newly formed anti-militant unity in Pakistan and re-empower their supporters and sympathizers in media and politics.

  7. Roshan says:
    June 12th, 2009 5:55 pm

    They are doing what they wrongly believe in and not realizing how many innocent people they have killed and how many families are suffering from their gory acts.
    But for our country, it seems that it will get worse before it gets better. Its not the expansion of these crazy taliban rather they are rapidly loosing their constituencies at all front be it people, media, and conservatives.
    God bless our country and am sure as a nation, we have resilience to come out of crisis. But it seems that the war against these extremist will bring us together to determine the course of our nation.

  8. Neena says:
    June 12th, 2009 10:08 pm

    Its desperation and nothing else and stupids targeting Lahore because they know it matter more over there. I heard its Punjabi Faujis who are fighting Pathan extremists in NWFP as Pathan Faujis refused to go against their brothers or whatever.

  9. mustafa kamaal says:
    June 12th, 2009 10:11 pm

    It has now become a fashion in Pakistan to blame every mishap on Talibans. My question is, has any Taliban ever been convicted in a court of law? If not, then allegations against Talibans are just that.

    Unless we unmask the real perpetrators behind these crimes (RAW-CIA-Mossad nexus), such events will keep happening.

  10. Hanif Q. says:
    June 12th, 2009 11:25 pm

    @Mustafa Kamaal…. by your own logic, my question to you is, has any RAW-CIA-Mossad nexus person been convicted in a court of law? If not, then allegations are just that!!!!

    It is Taliban supporters like who make excuses for the murder of Pakistanis and Muslims who are making these Taliban what they are. Anyone who supports Taliban has to be an enemy of Islam and Pakistan because they are supporting the killing of Pakistanis and Muslims.

  11. Pakistan Zindabad says:
    June 12th, 2009 11:48 pm

    This is BOTH desperation AND expansion.

    They are getting desperate but they are also expanding and this is the move by the Taliban to terrorise all Pakistanis and spread they venom to the whole country.

    I am afraid that they might succeed because there are too many sympathizers who make excuses for them by looking for outsiders to blame instead of accepting what is so obvious to see.

  12. Dan says:
    June 13th, 2009 12:55 am

    To all the conspiracy nutjobs here blaming Israel and America (yes I am talking to you mustafa kamaal), are these Pakistanis who are supporting the Taliban here in reality RAW agents?


    Is there any wonder why Pakistanis continue to be seen as terrorist apologists when there are Pakistani men on Islamic message boards cheering for these miscreants?

    And for the record, I am also Pakistani.

  13. faraz says:
    June 13th, 2009 1:06 am

    It is time for self reflection, and soul searching.

    We made N-bomb but were able to give our people basic understanding of world.

    Reality is either people in Lahore or Taliban in Swat; they are Pakistanis. Why we ever give roots to Taliban.

    Why ou society was not able to differentiate between a millatant and an othodox muslim. There are 55 muslim countries why US.

    Does Al-Quaida thinks us as Somalia?

  14. Shazia R. Hussain says:
    June 13th, 2009 4:07 am

    No, we won’t.
    Today in “the News”, there is an open letter by the Taliban to the shia community declaring them “kaafir” and ordering them to accept their brand of Islam or face extinction. It threatens them that if they don’t do as they are told, their women will be raped, their children will be forced in to child labor and their mosques will be blown up. So, are the Shia Muslims going to get scared and side with Yazid instead of Imam Hussain. I don’t think so.

    Qatl-e-Hussain asl mein marg-e-yazid hai
    Islam zinda hota hai her Karbala ke baad

    And as followers of Hussain, we are going to brave all the Karbalas that come our way.

  15. prakash says:
    June 13th, 2009 7:42 am

    the present situation in pakistan is similer the situation indian punjab in the eightees.Despite training and support from pakistan Indian army, with determined effort was able to finish the sikh militants. I am sure determination of pak army, government and support of people will exterminate them. there will definitely be a lot of more blasts but they have no chance against pak army and peoples will. pakistan should take cue from sri lanka where LTTE was decimated with army’s determined effort. Pak army should destroy taliban ruthlessly once and for all.

    I am not sure but I dont think RAW or Indian govt. should be helping Taliban. A strong and stable pakistan is in India’s interest.

  16. ahsan says:
    June 13th, 2009 7:49 am

    @ Adil Najam. People like you who remain vague in their statements have a part in it. My posts were repeatedly banned from ATP only becasue I pointed out explicitly who are behind such attack. We all know the people, the ideology, the school of thought that is intolerant and militant in nature. These are the people who have their ideological and financial roots in Saudi Arabia and GCC. Intolerant animals who can bomb shrines and mazars, who can hand both the living and the dead and who can not do anything better but label others Kafir and Mushriq. And yet time and again you failed to do that.

  17. Mohsin says:
    June 13th, 2009 8:01 am

    its more of desperation than expension. ……. Lets pray to Allah that this violance ends, give us peace and calmness. Otherwise, these talibans and people with soft corner for them will kill us, our families and that too in the name of religion.

  18. June 13th, 2009 8:08 am

    One of the ardent supporter of the military operation in the Malakand Agency, and one of the most argumentative and sane religiouis figure against the suicide attacks and the terrorism describes the great man Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi, who was martyred in a suicide attack in his office in Jamia Naeemia in Lahore after the Juma prayer.

    Dr. Sarfaraz Naeemi was the head of the Tahafuzz-e-Namoos-e-Rasalat Movement and secretary-general of the Tanzimat Madaris Deeniya. Dr Sarfraz had also give a Fatwa against the suicide attacks in 2005 and he wasn

  19. Anwar says:
    June 13th, 2009 8:33 am

    If IRA, Basq separatists in Spain or Tamils are any example, a continuity of pressure on these thugs will eventually dissipate them.

    At the same time it is important to have socio-economic development and uplift in these areas.

    Furthermore, the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation must be scrubbed and political parties be allowed in FATA…

    Also of tremendous importance is the political stability of the country.

  20. Phiroz says:
    June 13th, 2009 9:32 am

    This country needs a positive revolution and this can be done only by the civil society of Pakistan. But the question that comes up is who is going to lead it upfront and what kind of support will it get for today the civil society of Pakistan is very much divided on ethnic lines and many say that I am a Punjabi, or Sindhi or from this tribe, but there are very few who say that I am Pakistani from the heart. For this to happen the politicians right from 1960

  21. BA says:
    June 13th, 2009 9:50 am

    The tolerant of the society has tolerated the intolerants for long time, now it is time to uproot this evil.


  22. Daud says:
    June 13th, 2009 9:54 am

    Dan is exactly right. We will keep losing this war until there are still Pakistanis willing to fool themselves into thinking that these are outsiders of some sort. Acceptance that these scum are our own and need to be flushed out is first step in cleaning Pakistan of the filth called Taliban.

  23. June 13th, 2009 11:51 am

    We all have to stand up and speak with one voice against these extremists who hide behind the cloak of religion.They do not speak for me.
    I find it extremely frustrating that the lay press in Pakistan continues to add to this mayhem and confusion by attaching credence to fantastic conspiracy theories. By doing so and by pointing fingers to the ‘hidden hand’ and ‘foreign elements’ we play into the hands of these avowed elements who will stop at nothing short of total annihilation of our way of life to gain their objectives.
    How can we fight an enemy whom we hesitate to call an enemy in the first place?
    The print media has a huge responsibility to not to add to the nations comfusion and speak with one voice and form a united front against this vicious, bigoted, hypocritical and murderous enemy to whom we ourselves have given birth to.
    This to me is the ultimate Jihad.

  24. Naveed says:
    June 13th, 2009 1:59 pm

    It looks like the tide of public opinion has turned against the Taliban. An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are peace loving people and are shocked and outraged at the Taliban’s brutalities. The extremists are outnumbered–they are by definition extreme and not mainstream. Moreover, the people will not be afraid for ever…

  25. mian khan says:
    June 13th, 2009 5:16 pm

    @ Adil Najam
    “From their statements, they take responsibility for and seem quite proud about killing Pakistanis, murdering Muslims, targeting Mosques, spreading mayhem.”

    Unfortunately, this reminds the days when EXACTLY THE SAME THING HAPPENED to other Pakistanis, Muslims, and their Mosques….after 2nd ammendment to 1973 constitution…

    I wonder why people like you never wrote or spoke such statments…. are chickens coming home to roost???

  26. Hamood says:
    June 13th, 2009 5:42 pm

    I think its more of a desperation than expansion. The Taliban sanctuaries have either been liberated or under attack. The next target should be the suicide bomber nurseries called madrassahs that have sprung up all over Pakistan. The endgame is quite simple, keep killing more of them than they can produce. Eventually that will finish them. We have all seen that peace treaties don’t do a damn.

  27. readinglord says:
    June 13th, 2009 8:36 pm


    No, Sir, Talibanism is not like Sikh militancy or LTTE. The latter had both a localized and limited agenda which could be crushed with state power, whereas the Talibanism is a cancer which infects the entire Muslim world, especially the Paky one, with the intention to overpower the entire world. You can compare it to fascism or Naxalites of India who are motivated with an ideology, how perverse you may think it to be, whose mindset could not be crushed with power and so these aberrations continue in one form or another.

    Talibani extremism being a natural product of Paky mindset, which has led to convert its very Constitution to a ‘takfiri fatwa’, can be crushed only if the Paky mindset is changed and this seems to be well-nigh impossible. The result is quite obvious. We Pakies seem to be on the road to national suicide.

  28. Nostalgic says:
    June 13th, 2009 11:59 pm


    Every atrocity they’ve committed after Swat is an act of desperation on their part… they’ve lost the propaganda war, and it is heartening to see the state finally take the sort of action we have seen in the last month or so… what we are seeing are the death throes of this evil…

    Despite the death and destruction, these should be heady times for us as a nation… after a very long time we are fighting a just war and we’ve seen the tide turn against these monsters…

    Wouldn’t it be great if on June 21 we could celebrate a T20 world cup victory and the death of Baitullah Mehsud?

    Wishes are horses!

  29. patriot says:
    June 14th, 2009 2:02 am

    All these military gains will be amount to nothing if the state cannot consolidate them politically. Let’s not fool ourselves that the Taliban have no following. The reason they have a following is not religious, its economic. Ask the poor common exploited person who he prefers: the Taliban or the feudals.

    So before we get too excited about beating the Taliban militarily, we need to decide what to do once they’ve been (temporarily) removed from the scene. If nothing changes in a real way, they will come back stronger and with a far more compelling case than they already have. They are not the cancer: they are the symptoms. The cancer is within us.

  30. Omar says:
    June 14th, 2009 4:29 am

    I don’t think we’ll give in to the Taliban mentally. I have faith in the army to wipe them out eventually. However, we are submissive to terror in any form.

    Karachi is a prime example. Major political parties have made their way up using terror. Many ordinary folk face injustices and cannot do a damn thing about them because of the fear of terror. Hell, our present government is no exception! Within a few months of them coming into power, the number of Toyota Hiluxes filled with armed men roaming around the city must have increased 10-fold!

    The people in power in this country use just as much terror but without taking lives, or at least no where near as many! The “writ” of the government is being challenged hence the military operation; I guess we can only submit to terror to a certain extent – the bright side is that we will not accept the Taliban.

  31. Hilal says:
    June 14th, 2009 6:13 am


    It is rightly said here, “it’s a cancer”

    These criminals are the outer face and most extreme form of MULLAism. The most important fact, which is always ignored, is… THIS IS THE OUTCOME OF 12 CENTURIES OF THE SO CALLED ISLAM, SHARIAH AND IGNORANCE.

    This is a transition from ignorance to pure Quranic ideals. When the ignorance so deep rooted, covered by hundreds of layers of miss perceptions and triggered by greed, lie, hate and narrow-mindedness… it produces such criminals!

    No one can stop this transition, in fact, these criminal acts accelerates the process!!!

  32. Bashar says:
    June 14th, 2009 7:49 pm

    I appreciate all view points. You are all highly intellectuals. Please ask one question to yourself. Majority of you live in western world, and hate their prosperity. None of us want to go back. Why? It is lack of social justice. We can solve all the problems of Pakistan, if we all stop hating each other political views and work towards giving SOCIAL JUSTICE for every pakistani, no matter who that is.
    CAN WE MAKE THE COMMITTMENT TODAY. Instead of voting C+ for The corrupt Iftikhar Chaudry, we should take charge of Justice System in our hand, we the Pakistanis living abroad. Tell me are we willing to take initiative. If we do, we should approach OBAMA, and do it. Believe it the solution is only in Social Justice, not in politics or religion.
    I hope that some one will understand my point.

  33. FedUp says:
    June 16th, 2009 12:05 am

    Only a mind far distanced from reality would say something nutty like: “Majority of you live in western world, and hate their prosperity.” Contrarily, we love this prosperity resulting from the opportunities to do our best, the freedom to practice our faith without being on the receiving end of judgments passed by the ‘oh so religious’ bigots, and the right to express our opinions. Granted it is not a perfect society but it is a lot better than the alternatives.

    We (those who call the ‘western world’ our new home) still love the homeland that imparted education and upbringing to be competitive. We are hurt by the miseries of our compatriots ‘back home’ and support all efforts to pull it out of its mess.

    Those who live in a society (or its prosperity) that they hate should gather the courage to pack up and move to a place they won’t hate, unless ‘hate’ is all they can do.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)