Feature

Pakistan: Repackaging the Taliban as allies

The U.S. wants an end to the AfPak conflict, and that means making peace with the Taliban, said Rafia Zakaria in Dawn.

Rafia Zakaria
Dawn

The U.S. and Pakistan are giving the Taliban an image overhaul, said Rafia Zakaria. The talk is no longer of bloodthirsty zealots who behead critics and abuse women. That kind of rhetoric was appropriate to describe a Taliban that was the enemy. But now, the U.S. wants an end to the AfPak conflict, and that means making peace with the Taliban. So U.S. and Pakistani officials have begun promoting a new theme, stressing that the Pakistani Taliban is “increasingly at odds” with al Qaida. By distinguishing between the two groups, officials are trying to underscore “that the Taliban can indeed be rehabilitated and transformed into potential partners in peace, unlike al Qaida, which must be eliminated at all costs.”

But there’s a glitch in this scenario. Saying you can make peace with the Taliban doesn’t make it so. Many Pakistanis remember the more than “200 girls’ schools bombed, the scores of beheaded villagers, the blast-stricken markets, and the many thousands of dead civilians that the Taliban have left in their wake.” It’s going to be a tough job to make the ostensibly “good” Taliban members palatable “to a Pakistani public ravaged by their brutality.”

Recommended

Russia takes Lysychansk, completing conquest of Luhansk Oblast
Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu
the war machine

Russia takes Lysychansk, completing conquest of Luhansk Oblast

10 things you need to know today: July 3, 2022
Smoke rising from Lysychansk
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 3, 2022

Pope cancels visit to Congo and South Sudan, citing health issues
Pope Francis
staying home

Pope cancels visit to Congo and South Sudan, citing health issues

10 things you need to know today: July 2, 2022
Damaged building in Odesa
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 2, 2022

Most Popular

The turning point
Trump.
Picture of William FalkWilliam Falk

The turning point

7 toons about Cassidy Hutchinson's Trump testimony
Political Cartoon.
Feature

7 toons about Cassidy Hutchinson's Trump testimony

The soul of a machine
Ones and zeroes.
Picture of William FalkWilliam Falk

The soul of a machine