Lambasting all Taliban is unwise

WITH the passage of time, PTI leader Imran Khan has gained reputation of a leader who makes highly mercurial and controversial statements and changes his position frequently on different issues. This has had telling effect not only for his own reputation but also the popularity of his party, whose graph is not picking up at the desired pace despite availability of wide space.
This time round, he has churned out a general statement that he considers Taliban as a terrorist group. In a bid to counter the perception that he was soft towards Taliban, he remarked in an interview with Al-Jazeera television that he considers all Taliban to be terrorists. His statement must be seen in the context of a number of his comments and remarks about Taliban in the past, which strengthened the impression that he was pro-Taliban. In fact, he led a caravan towards Waziristan and declared to hold talks with them as he then believed only dialogue was the solution to the problem of extremism and terrorism. Some of his own moves and that of his KP Government also conveyed an impression that he was soft on Taliban. It is, perhaps, because of all this that Imran Khan has churned out this statement to build his image as anti-Taliban but branding all Taliban as terrorists is unfortunate and against ground realities. Taliban were created by the United States and the then Government of Pakistan to resist Soviet occupation of Afghanistan as it was feared that the White Bear would move towards Pakistan and UAE after establishing its foothold in Afghanistan. However, the worst betrayal came when the United States abandoned its allies (Taliban) after achieving the objective of pushing USSR out of Afghanistan and declaring them as terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11 tragedy, which is widely believed to be engineered. Taliban were subjected to worst type of character assassination despite the fact that most of them are simply practicing Muslims. All Taliban are not criminals and in our view Imran Khan’s statement amounts to rubbing salt to injuries.

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