Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban aka Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) and the man responsible for bombing thousands of innocent Pakistani civilians, beheading Pakistani soldiers after death (a sin under Islamic law), and just generally being an absolute bastard for the last four years is dead. You may not know why this matters. I’ll be as brief as I can.
The TTP is the Pakistani arm of the Afghan Taliban, the people we went to war with after 9/11. They mostly got their butts kicked by US troops and the leaders that weren’t killed all escaped into Pakistan who, depending on who you ask, welcomed them with open arms. Since then, the Taliban leadership has directed attacks against Afghan and American troops and Afghan and Pakistani civilians because they want to institute Shari’a law across Afghanistan again and extend to the rest of Pakistan. Pay attention ladies, these are the guys that will throw acid in your face and call you a whore because your cousin raped you and you don’t want to marry him. Good guys all around.
Well, Mehsud was the ring leader of the horrifying video I linked above where more than a dozen Pakistani soldiers were beheaded and that didn’t happen years ago. It happened last year, in 2012. The Pakistani government, as schismatic an organization as has ever existed, had plans for peace talks with Mehsud that would resolve the internal violence in Pakistan…somehow. Mainly, Mehsud just wanted drone strikes to stop because the US keeps killing his commanders. Instead of joining in on the pounding of these people the Pakistani government is whimpering in the hopes that the TTP won’t hit them for the actions of the US.
“This is not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said.
That’s the Pakistani Interior Minister who’s more worried about what the TTP might do in response than he is focused on stopping the extremists that are killing his people. That’s Stockholm Syndrome. Get a grip, Khan! They killed 78 civilians just two months ago in a Pakistani church! They’re not interested in talking. They’re interested in not having the distraction of the US shooting at them because they know you won’t do anything to oppose them.
Apologies, it’s hard for me not to get worked up over this stuff. I understand that the US drone program isn’t popular largely because no one but the US government has eyes on the ground and has an accurate civilian body count out of these strikes. No other organization has any ability to do an accurate count and so the worst is assumed. The Pakistani government says that only 67 civilians have been killed in drone strikes since 2008. That’s only 3% of the 2,227 people killed in such strikes. That seems low to me but regardless of what anyone thinks of drone strikes, everyone not nihilistically desperate to avoid conflict agrees that the TTP has purposefully killed thousands of civilians in Pakistan over the same period of time. I’m not kidding, since 2002 at least 4,200 Pakistanis have been killed by suicide bombers and at least 9,400 have been injured. They’re killing Pakistanis, not “oppressors”. They’re worse than any imagined US bogeyman, 2x worse.
This is cowardice. The Pakistani government has tacitly approved of drone strikes for years because it did work they didn’t want to do for fear of upsetting the Taliban. Plus, the government got paid billions of dollars by the US every year. In appreciation of the Western support, former Pakistani intelligence and military personnel helped organize the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 209 people and injured over 700. Good thinking guys. You obviously know who your enemies are.
And so it goes. Afghanistan has been rocked for years by continued Taliban attacks against civilians, conducting cross border operations into Afghanistan from Pakistan and then running back across the border after the deeds were done. If not for this escape valve then the Afghan Taliban would have long been exterminated and Afghanistan would be a far more peaceful, if not less corrupt, place.
And what has Pakistan gotten for playing both sides against the middle? Nothing but death, the death of their people in major Pakistani cities and the complete loss of control of an entire region of the country known as the Federally Administrated Tribal Area (FATA). As in love, you have to make a decision. Eventually the boys or girls you’re sneaking around with are going to find out and if you haven’t made a decision ahead of time then they’re all going to dump you. Congrats, Pakistan, everyone hates you now. Take some responsibility because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Abraham Lincoln it’s that you can’t come to terms with bastards who want to take over your country. You have to make a choice and drive them into the sea.