Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Taliban have no honor, 03.17.08

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    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Taliban have no honor, 03.17.08

    In last night’s disturbing documentary from Dispatches, the deservedly award-winning Pakistani journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy investigated how the “war on terror” is creating a generation of child terrorists in her homeland Pakistan. These children are prepared to kill others and themselves, both inside and outside Pakistan.

    Sharmeen investigated how the Taliban are recruiting increasingly younger and younger “fighters” to serve their need for what amounts to cannon fodder and expendable ’soldiers’.

    Sharmeen also interviewed a Taliban commander who’s responsible for child recruitment, and he happily revealed that children as young as five are now being used by the Taliban.

    Sharmeen also met 14-year-old Hazrat who’s already been recruited by the Taliban. He described his life in “an extremist madrass” and told how he’d graduated from training from using small firearms to rocket launchers and he expertly explained how to execute a suicide attack using a car, which is something he hopes he’ll get to do soon.

    This film was not anti-Taliban propaganda but of course the only conclusion that the viewer could draw was that, without doubt – were we in any previously – the Taliban is a vicious regime ruled by psychopaths who’ll stop at nothing – and know no bounds – in achieving their goals.

    Any terrorist group who act in the name of God and religion and can feel morally justified in encouraging terrorism at all - and worse yet, actively recruiting small children to carry out heinous acts of death and destruction - don’t represent any God I’m aware of. They represent nothing more than power and money hungry extremists.

    Bravo to you Sharmeen. You have more courage than the entirety of the Taliban.



    In recent months, Taliban fighters have terrorized much of the once stable Swat Valley, implementing a strict version of Islamic law, banning music, closing girls’ schools, and killing opponents. Earlier this month, the government agreed to a truce with supposedly moderate elements within the Taliban in Swat Valley, although whether the truce will hold and what it will mean for local residents remains unclear.

    These headline-making assaults have, however, been perpetrated in a country where public support for extremism has declined sharply in recent years.  Surveys by the Pew Research Center’s
    Global Attitudes Project have found progressively lower levels of acceptance of suicide bombing as well as waning confidence in Osama bin Laden. There is only modest support among Pakistanis for al Qaeda or the Taliban. And few agree with their widely noted tactic of preventing education for girls.

    Nonetheless, while the trends are positive, sizeable minorities still embrace extremism --  for instance, one-in-three continue to express confidence in bin Laden, who many intelligence analysts believe is hiding somewhere in western Pakistan. And while most Pakistanis are worried about religious extremism, polling by the Pakistani army should be used to fight radical groups. Instead, most would prefer making a peace deal with extremists.

    Declining Support for Terrorism

    As recently as 2004, roughly four in ten (41%) Pakistani Muslims said suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians could be justified to protect Islam from its enemies. However, by the time of the April Pew Global survey -- following a four year period in which numerous suicide attacks took place within Pakistan -- only 5% held this view. 

    Attitudes toward bin Laden have also turned more negative, although the decline is less steep. In 2005, about half (51%) of Pakistanis expressed confidence in bin Laden to do the right thing in world affairs. Three years later, roughly one-third (34%) voiced this opinion.

    The survey also found that younger Pakistanis were less likely to embrace extremism. Only three in ten under age 50 expressed confidence in bin Laden, compared with about half (52%) of those age 50 and older -- a difference of 22 percentage points. 

    Less pronounced, but still notable, differences were found between younger and older Pakistanis on views of the Taliban and al Qaeda. Only a quarter (25%) of those under the age of 50 said they had a favorable opinion of the Taliban, while more than one-third (36%) of those 50 and older expressed a favorable sentiment. Similarly, Pakistanis under 50 were less likely than those in the 50-plus age category to express a favorable view of al Qaeda (23% vs. 31%). 

    Educating Girls

    One of the Taliban’s most notorious tactics in the Swat Valley has been the destruction of schools for girls. On this issue, as the 
     2007 Pew Global Attitudes poll demonstrated, they are out of step with the vast majority of Pakistanis.

    About three in four (74%) Pakistanis said that education is equally important for girls and boys, while just 17% considered it more important for boys and 7% believed it is more important for girls. 

    There were no significant differences between men and women, or between younger and older Pakistanis, on this issue. However, the view that education is equally important for girls and boys was slightly less common among ethnic Pashtuns than among members of other ethnic groups. While a majority (54%) of Pashtuns held this view, a large minority (32%) believed education is more important for boys


    al Qaeda loosing ground.

    Taliban loosing popular support 

    but gaining control of more than half of Paki.

    Time running out for paki citizens.



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