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Does U.S. Policy Contribute to Taliban Extremism?

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14 year old Pakistani, Malawa Yousafzai shot in the head by Taliban masked gunman yesterday. Photo BBC News

Yesterday, Malawa Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl was shot in the head by a masked Taliban gunman in her town in northwestern Pakistan. The reason: she had made it known she wanted to be a doctor one day.

Needless to say it was a brutally horrific cowardly attack carried out by a Taliban extremist, yet in an area of Pakistan where the Taliban once proliferated before the Pakistani army essentially forced them over the border into neighboring Afghanistan. Now the Taliban conduct hit and run tactics into Pakistan despite the Pakistani army presence.

This needs to be said: The Taliban are mostly hated in much of Pakistan beyond the Northwest Tribal areas and are not loved in many parts of Afghanistan beyond the largely Pashtun south that borders on Pakistan. The reaction in much of Pakistan to yesterday's shooting of the girl was complete abhorrence of the Taliban for attacking the girl.

The Taliban's brand of Islamic extremism and Sharia Law is hardly the norm in Pakistan or most other Muslim countries. It's probably closer to the Wahhabism practiced in Saudi Arabia.

But to put this act in perspective, that an 14 year old school girl residing in Pakistan's Swat Valley who spoke out openly of her education ambitions and was singled out and shot in the head by a masked Taliban gunman is obscene, it shouldn't be surprising considering what a Taliban spokesman said after the attack saying she was a "symbol of Western culture" and her "crusade for education rights an obscenity". He added, "Let this be a lesson."

Considering this reactionary statement by a Taliban spokesman it shows this is a part of the world that has widely divergent ethnic and sectarian divides of a long standing nature that is peculiar to this area of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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And though the U.S. was not directly connected to this horrific attack on the girl, surely the U.S. presence in the area, our war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, our drone attacks killing innocents and the odd Taliban leader in Pakistan has exacerbated the ethnic and sectarian divide within that country.

Even if the U.S. were effective diplomats (which we are not) and not engaged in war and occupying Afghanistan and not lobbing drone and missile fire into Pakistan we couldn't resolve the ethnic and sectarian divide that precipitated the attack on that innocent girl.

However, our presence surely contributes to Taliban extremism against anything that smacks of Western ideas, which the girl elicited.

In essence, for the Taliban, the U.S. and the NATO west is the enemy. This girl advocated for education and girls schooling. This connected her with the enemy and in the mind of the Taliban made her the enemy and justified shooting her.

For sure our sensibilities are outraged by this attack and it should be condemned as horrific, barbaric, gutless and cowardly.

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Nobody knows if the U.S. were not in the region and attacking with drones whether this attack on the girl would not have occurred.

It's just we just have no business being there.     

 

dglefc22733@aol.com

Retired. The author of "DECEIT AND EXCESS IN AMERICA, HOW THE MONEYED INTERESTS HAVE STOLEN AMERICA AND HOW WE CAN GET IT BACK", Authorhouse, 2009

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