US policy towards Pushtuns

This is a very thought-provoking column by Khalid Aziz:

Many Pushtun intellectuals believe, wrongly, I think, that the Pushtun has been a peaceful rustic who has been transformed into a fighting machine by the Afghan jihad. They fail to understand the basic cultural and religious drivers within Pushtun society. The US has no problems with the Tajik or Uzbek or other ethnic groups inside Afghanistan. However, with the Pushtuns the US faces a unique cultural difficulty. The problem is that the Pushtun is prone to religious extremism and readily accepts membership into millenarian movements to resist reform of a centralising state which externalises Pushtun governance and politics; he cannot live with the transfer of his management to a larger entity like a modernising state. This is because he fears that his social conduct, “Pushtunwali,” will be endangered and he will lose his identity. For a Pushtun, whether he is supporting Mulla Umar in Afghanistan, Fazalullah in Swat, Maulvi Faqir in Bajaur or Baithullah in Waziristan – he is fighting a war to preserve his identity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: