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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Note of Caution on some Fickle Taliban Leaders

This Dawn editorial serves as a cautionary note to an op-ed I published yesterday by a retired army colonel. Basically the latest piece talks of the sometime changing loyalties of various Taliban leaders.

Gul Bahadur and Nazir, who formed the United Mujahideen Council with Baitullah Mehsud earlier this year, are unpredictable characters who have periodically attacked the security forces. Their ultimate objective appears to be to secure their quasi-kingdoms and rule with little or no ‘interference’ from the state. So the idea that Gul Bahadur, for example, is a ‘good’ Taliban does not really stand up to scrutiny. In early June, the kidnapping of students from the Razmak Cadet College in North Waziristan was apparently facilitated by Gul Bahadur...

the state must be careful and ensure that it is not effectively replacing one menace with another — just like Baitullah Mehsud arose to torment the state after a rival Mehsud group fell out of favour, so may other groups create more problems for Pakistan in the not-too-distant future.

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