Puzzling--------How Muslim mind works?
During his four years as the head of the T.T.P., Mehsud raised the Taliban game in Pakistan. No longer were they just tribal men fighting to preserve their way of life; they started dreaming they could convert everyone to it. Mehsud consolidated a number of small but ruthless militant and sectarian groups into close-knit fighting units that seemed able to strike anywhere at will. He ordered attacks on Pakistan’s military bases, organized a couple of spectacular jailbreaks, and sent an endless stream of suicide bombers after politicians and religious scholars who didn’t meet his exacting standards. After his men kidnapped an Army colonel, Mehsud delivered a short speech, and then shot himin front of a video camera.
Yet the state seems to have lost the will to fight its old foe, Fazlullah, and his followers. When Mehsud was killed, instead of celebrating or letting out quiet sighs of relief, politicians and journalists reacted as if they had lost a favorite son. He had killed many of us, but we weren’t craving vengeance; we were ready to make up and cuddle.
Why does Pakistan’s political and military élite celebrate the very people it is fighting? The logic—or its absence—goes like this: Hakimullah Mehsud was our enemy. But the United States is also our enemy. So how dare the Americans kill him? And how dare they kill him when we had made up our minds to talk to him? If the United States is talking to the Afghan Taliban, why can’t we talk to our own Taliban?
According to Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, our Taliban are not a fighting force with clear goals but merely people “who are mentally disturbed and confused.” These confused people have attacked mosques, Air Force bases, and anyone who looks remotely like a Shiite; in Swat, they barred all women from leaving home without a male companion. Not to mention shutting down girls’ schools. (One of my friends and fellow-journalists once told one of Fazlullah’s commanders, You can get away with slitting people’s throats in public squares, but shut down girls’ schools, and there will be a lot of very irritated and angry parents. The commander was not persuaded.)
The popular narrative in Pakistan holds that the Taliban’s fight is simply a reaction to American drone strikes: it’s a war between American kids sitting in front of LCD screens eating their TV dinners and our own men in the north, who are better Muslims than we are. The Pakistani logic seems to be that if America stops killing them, they’ll stop killing us. But the truth is that the Taliban leadership has made no such promises. They have only said that if the government stops drone strikes, and stops coöperating with America’s war in Afghanistan, they would be willing to talk. But what would they talk about? The little problem they have with Pakistan is that it’s an infidel state—almost as bad as America, but with some potential; they believe that they can somehow make us all better Muslims.
Our Taliban are simply saying, “Save us from the U.S. drones, so we can continue to kill you infidels in peace.”
Pakistan’s rulers have developed a strange fetish for lionizing its tormenters. Watching the proceedings in Pakistan’s parliament last week, after Mehsud’s murder, you could have mistaken it all for a Taliban meeting. “This is not just the killing of one person,” Pakistan’s interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said. “It’s the death of all peace efforts.” It was mentioned, but only in passing, that since Pakistan had proposed talks with Mehsud in September, the peacemaker and his allies had killed an Army general, blown up a church filled with worshippers, and killed hundreds of other civilians.