Who will target Taliban – the question sounds like the eternal problem that defies solution; who will bell the cat? In case of cat, the animal was visible but too powerful for hordes of mice for whom it was a life-threatening entity. The Taliban Islamist terrorists are invisible many a time and yet are a life threatening entity to the civilised human beings. The Taliban find safe shelters in the Muslim habitats. Whenever chased by a superior force, the Taliban terrorists melt into the local Muslim population and are unseen and unheard thereafter.
Americans at wits end
Indeed it would be in the specific interest of Americans and the larger interest of the civilised world to eliminate the Taliban Islamist terrorists. The Taliban have made their presence felt in violent ways both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is in the interest of both the countries and the NATO to be chasing them day and night and not let them have even one wink of siesta, leave alone sleep. However, the NATO (read American Army) has not had an iota of success in this regard so far. On the contrary, the Taliban terrorists have succeeded in inflicting massive casualties on a better armed and better trained western force. The returning body bags made the war on terror in Afghanistan so unpopular in the United States that bringing it to an end became an emotive election issue. Even the present incumbent in the Oval office had promised to the electorate that he would” bring the boys home” sooner than later. Accordingly, President Barack Obama had fixed July 2011 as the likely date of commencement of pull out of the US forces from the war-torn Afghanistan. But that is not likely to be as the world would see it as another defeat of the US arms abroad. Thereafter, America thought of Pakistan to come to its rescue and militarily cover the withdrawal of the NATO forces without letting it be seen as a victory of the Taliban terrorists. Of course, one has to pay for obtaining services of agencies and countries and Pakistan received billions of US dollars for its services rendered partly so far.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a massive advantage in the present AFPAK scenario. It is a Muslim country that shows its green Islamic flag at every corner. Islam was the foundation of its coming into existence. Pakistan was in the forefront in fighting against the occupation of Afghanistan by the infidel regime of USSR. It received a massive monetary and military aid from America that it deployed on its eastern borders with India. Pakistan also gave birth to militant Islamic student organisation called the Taliban to fight against the Russians. When the infidel Russians quit the country as their continued presence became militarily untenable, the Taliban stepped into the vacuum under the guidance of Pakistan officers. However, the mishap of 9/11 in America changed the situation and the advent of US forces made the Taliban and their mentor Al Qaida and Pakistan beat a retreat. The local support to the Taliban changed the military situation again and now Pakistan made its presence felt as a mediator between the NATO and the Taliban.
Who runs Pakistan
America, Army and Allah run Pakistan and their influence is felt in that order. However, the American influence and that of Allah is on the decline. The Army of Pakistan is on ascendancy and its word is law. With a view to solving the vexatious problem in the AFPAK region, Americans chose to court the Pakistan Army with a proviso that the Army targets Taliban and destroys them. As is well known, the Taliban and the Pakistan Army are twin brothers. General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the present Army Chief is well aware of the emotive value of the Taliban and cannot think of severing relations with them; not even in the distant dream.
General Kayani pleaded with the American diplomats for more time and promised to take action as and when additional troops were made available for operations against the Taliban. However, it was not a true statement of facts. General Kayani is on record to say that when the Pakistan Army goes to war against India, it is the Taliban that would protect the flanks of the army. No wonder, the bulk of the Pakistan army stands deployed against India on Pakistan’s eastern borders as the Pakistan strategists still see India as a bigger threat than Terrorism. Americans see the situation and watch helplessly. No amount of American money power or persuasion has moved General Kayani away from his anti-India stand.
Pakistan strategists still see Americans as pro-India, notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan got heavy weapons from them as against peanuts that India received. There is a grave danger of the Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the Al Qaida and Taliban hands. The rulers in Islamabad fear that America is out to denuclearise Pakistan and make it defenceless against India. The Pakistan army under its anti-India Chief, General Kayani will go all out to prevent that situation from materialising. Of all the Army Chiefs of Pakistan, General Kayani is the most pronounced anti-India guy so far. No wonder, Pakistan looks up to China more now as its defender and protector. China too would like the American influence in Pakistan diminish day by day and, therefore, would help Pakistan retain its nuclear teeth. Pakistan is a major beneficiary of American largesse to keep the Taliban at bay and also of the Chinese friendly support to prevent it from becoming a paper tiger without nuclear teeth.
Why should Pakistan track Taliban and destroy it when it is an all powerful Islamic nation because of emergence of Islamic terror personified in Al Qaida and Taliban? The Taliban is a protégé of Pakistan and Pakistan would never like to track and terminate it, come what may.
What is the way out
Americans have found themselves in a bind and do not know what to do. General Kayani is so anti-India that he would not do anything that makes India an emerging super-power. Kayani is not prepared to raise even a little finger if the end result is weakening of the Taliban. Well, a way out may be found by weakening General Kayani himself and replacing him by a more amenable and pro-American Army Chief of Pakistan. Indeed it is not impossible. Money makes the mare go and Americans have a lot of money.
Removal of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani from his present all-powerful post of Army Chief will kill two birds with one stone. The Taliban will not only be targeted but also tamed. Further, US Department of State would be unfettered in pursuing its policy of Friendship with India to prevent a resurgence of Taliban type terror outfit and thus keep the American interests out of harm’s way.