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Talibanisation Of Pakistan A Threat To Indias Security

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Terrorism is not new to India. It has been subjected to various attacks in the past with most of them aimed at destabilising India and forming a strong base for the spread of Islam. It is commonly believed that the dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir is the root cause of eruption of Jihadi terrorism in India. Jinnah and the Muslim league were responsible for giving shape to the inherent mindset of Jihad against India and the result of it was the state of Pakistan. However the core values of Pakistan were guided by separatist who followed the basic ideology of Islam. Hence Kashmir is not really the cause of Pakistan’s jihad against India but the result of it. [1] 

The Talibanisation of Pakistan is the blowback of their powerful military and intelligence establishment’s flawed policy of using Jihadi indoctrination to advance its geo strategic agenda in the region. Yet, with the so called strategic depth nowhere in sight, not only India’s but even Pakistan’s own security is at risk due to the threat from Taliban and Al Qaeda. As the menace of Islamic militancy spreads across their country like a jungle fire, the Taliban militia and the Al Qaeda network continues to thrive.

India’s extreme tolerance for diverse religions and cultures has been its great weakness. Indians have never fought the invasions and Islamic assaults as defenders of Hinduism. The same approach continued even as India was heading for partition. Mr. Jinnah’s change of track from nationalist to separatist path changed the course of history. His association with the Muslim League, dissociation from the Indian National congress and the call of the expected Hindu over-lordship over Muslims in case the British freed India, led to an instant appeal among the Muslims and fuelled his ambition for a separate state of Pakistan.

The easy access to India is primarily assisted by the geographical design of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s occupation of a part of Kashmir was due to India’s poor decision of going to the UN Security Council in Jan 1948 to resolve the Kashmir issue. This led to cease fire and Pakistan occupying a large amount of territory which otherwise could have been easily regained by India considering Indian army’s ongoing success during the operation.

Birth of the Taliban

Taliban is derived from the Arabic word ‘Talib’ which means ‘one who is seeking’ or student. It is generally referred to in context of learning religion. [2] The birth of Taliban took place during the Afghan Jihad when the Pakistani government had openly supported the Hizb-e-Islami led by Pashtun leader Gulbaddin Hikmatiyar expecting him to gain power in Afghanistan and support their strategic interests. When Hikmatiyar could not attain power in Afghanistan, Pakistan created Taliban. This new band of soldiers who came from south Afghanistan and Northwest Pakistan were initially from the religious schools Darul Uloom in Peshawar and the chain of Binori madrassas in Karachi. They were the products of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam run religious madrassas in NWFP and the Baloch province. By Sep 1996, the Taliban hardliners Sunnis of the Deobandi sect and Afghan young fighters had gained near full control in Afghanistan. This was possible by full co operation and funding by the ISI. [3] Historically, after the Russian occupation of Aghanistan, The American Intelligence agency, the CIA had decide to use the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI to organize, finance and train Islamic resistance groups against the Russians. Thousands of them were trained under the supervision of the CIA and sent into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. [4] When the Soviets withdrew, there was lawlessness and chaos in Afghanistan. Amidst the chaos, the Taliban emerged under the leadership of Mullah Muhammed Omar in Sep 94. They were linked to the political- religious parties like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and breakaway elements of JUI like the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Harkatul Mujahedin, Tehrikul Jihad and Jaish-e-Muhammad. Sunnis to the core they were indoctrinated to the core with Sunni Wahabism and salafism. The relevance of this is seen in the fact that the grand aim of Mullah Omar was not so much to grab power but to cleanse the Afghan society. They adopted a rigid interpretation of Sharia and this fuelled Islamic extremism and non muslims. This became Talibans key defining feature and was seen as the hallmark of Talibanisation. This process is also in vogue in SE Asia and is making regions war on terror more difficult in the years to come.

Resurgence of the Taliban

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were the only two major Muslim countries in the world which had given diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government in Afghanistan. The Saudis, in spite of their commitment to Islamic orthodoxy, were close allies of the U.S. with no particular stake in Taliban. In fact, the Saudi rulers were internally as much antagonistic to Osama, as a possible rallying point against the ruling dynasty itself, as America. That left Pakistan only as the sole diplomatic god father of Taliban in the world. For the US in the war in Afghanistan, attacking Taliban was as good as attacking Pakistan for the simple reason that Taliban was out and out a creation of Pakistan. Its hard core fundamentalist Islamists were the products of Pakistani madrassas in its North West Frontier Province. The area around Peshawar was once described by “The New York Times” as the “University of Jihad.” And the fundamentalist Islamic movement symbolized by Taliban had tremendous appeal among the people of Pakistan. However under US pressure Pakistan publically ended its support for the Taliban in the aftermath of the Sep 11, 2001 attacks. According to Aryn Baker’s 30th June 2008 TIME magazine report, the Taliban in Afghanistan had regrouped after their fall from power and coalesced into resilient rebellion outfits finding sanctuary in the largely lawless tribal areas of Pakistan along the border. The US and the coalition force officials in Afghanistan were always skeptical about the Pakistan Army’s ability and the will of its political leadership to fight the Taliban and Al-Qaeda combine [5] .

According to Stephen Cohen Pakistan had always maintained that Taliban with their men and material could add strategic depth against India and help them in waging the proxy war against India. The jehadi groups have been more of a tool of the state rather than a threat to Pakistan’s security. However due to crackdown on Taliban and Al Qaeda, these groups have turned against Pakistan and have started forming coalitions which were otherwise never expected. [6] The Taliban are pairing up with local militant groups in the Punjab and Sindh provinces to push deeper into the country in a bid to reduce Pakistan to a captive territory from where it can launch and sustain its worldwide Jihadi agenda. [7] 

Globalisation of Jihad.

The globalization of Jihad territorially is a matter of record of Jehadi terror across the world since early 1990’s. What is more significant is the ideological globalisation of Jihad. Jihad now encompasses the whole world, not only as the area of its terror operations but also as the ultimate goal of its mission of Islamisation. The non Muslim world is the prey to the Jehadis waiting to be conquered and Islamised. As US president George W Bush voiced the same feeling when he met the congressional leaders on the morrow of 9/11. He said that the Jehadis hated anything that is non Muslim.


Statement of the Problem

Talibanisation of Pakistan has assisted the terror groups in their attempts to achieve their larger goal of establishing a regional Islamic state. Our government has been addressing the problem only as militancy aimed primarily in J&K and has failed to identify the larger motives of these terror groups.

Justification of Study

Post 9/11 and in the wake of Mumbai attacks, the world focus has shifted towards Pakistan as the breeding ground for the most deadly terror groups in the world which includes Al- Qaeda and Taliban. The main hub of terror has apparently shifted from Middle East to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan has been a main ally to the US in the war against terror, but flawed US policies and Pakistan’s ‘double game’ of supporting the terror groups has not only failed to stop the growing influence of Taliban and Al Qaeda in the region but provided them a safe breeding ground.

India is not a stranger to terrorism, but the growing influence of Taliban in Pakistan has posed a threat of formation of a hub centre of Islamic militancy in Pakistan, from where the ultimate goal of launching a global Jehadi agenda and formation of a regional Islamic state which includes India can be successfully achieved. Taliban sponsored terrorism has definitely increased the threat to our national security manifold, more so in the light of earlier support by Pakistan to Taliban, and the continued nexus between groups like Al Qaida and militant groups operating in Kashmir and Pakistan. Pakistan had created Taliban for selfish issues at the behest of supporting US in their interests in Afghanistan against the USSR. But now having lost control over the Taliban, what is of concern is the future scenario where in the present government in Pakistan may not be able to control its own fundamentalists who with the support of Al Qaeda and Taliban may attempt to take power in their own hands and make the already volatile region more explosive.

But eventually, the Taliban became an embarrassment to succeeding regimes at Islamabad, leading General Musharraf to abandon the Taliban, at least publicly to satisfy the US and the world. However, President Obama has now announced that Washington could deal with the ‘good’ Taliban while battling the bad Taliban. This is part of Americas exit strategy from Afghanistan, but is a clear strategic mistake.

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