"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Uprising against Taliban spreads in Pakistan's tribal region

From eNews 2.0.

Pressed by military and partly disgusted by brutality exercised by Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, Pakistani tribesmen are rising up against Islamic militancy in some parts of the tribal region along Afghan border and other areas.

Three ethnic Pashtun tribes in Bajaur district - the Salarzai, Tarkhani and Utmankhel - raised a "Lashkar," or private army, of around 10,000 tribesmen to drive Taliban out of their area, after weeks of fierce fighting between security forces and militants resulted in heavy civilian casualties and property losses.

"We have been told very clearly by the authorities that the only way to avoid collateral damage is that we clear our areas of Taliban and bring stability here," said tribal elder Fazal Karim, who leads the Lashkar.

Why are the tribes beginning to go against Al Qaeda/the Taliban?

Around 3.5 million tribal people practice a form of Islam that is integrated with an archaic moral code of conduct and honour, very similar to the one described in ancient Greek Homeric poems and Icelandic Kings' sagas, where warriors are hailed as heroes.

On the other hand, Taliban ideology is based on a reductionist version of Islam stripped of secular Pashtun cultural content. It undermined the traditional tribal structure when enforced, and led to resentment among the locals who had provided shelter to hundreds, if not thousands, Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives following US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Taliban executions, extreme torture, opposition to social and economic development projects and girls' education further deepened the split and banded together people in some areas for an indigenous armed resistance.

"What these gangs of thugs and criminals brought in the name of Islam is barbarism," said Karim, whose fighters have cleared around 90 per cent of Salarzai sub-district of Bajaur.

Al Qaeda/the Taliban disenfranchise people wherever they go due to their harse interpretation of Islam. The war against Al Qaeda/the Taliban is not a "US war" as is often quoted from Pakistani people. It is a war of freedom. It is a war of liberty.

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