Post by Takhalus:
Talat Hussain’s latest shows on the situation in Bajaur are quite interesting.
While his interview with the head of the FC is noted for the generals excessive bravado he does make valid points when he says how the militants establish a hold on the local society. Essentially virtual unknowns are empowered with guns and money and then target the local elite. Once the local elite are sidelined the militants establish a de facto administration. The sophistication of the way the insurgents/militants behaved surprised me.
The show in itself is a credit to Talat for being informative and well researched, but the general’s comments reminded me of an article i read some years back in the New Yorker — the archived link for it is available here where it discusses the writers interview with Asfandyar Wali Khan and the difficult time his party faced during Zia ul-Haqs time in opposing the Afghan “Jihad”
“You can’t imagine what we went through, trying to keep it going, as the United States was funding the jihad. I remember sitting with a cousin in a bank when a man came in to cash a check for twelve and a half million dollars. This was the kind of man you would never have shaken hands with. How could I fight that kind of money?”
He recalled how marginal figures were changed overnight into powerful politicians. “Like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar,” he said. Hekmatyar was a radical Afghan Islamist who was picked by Zia’s I.S.I. agents, and the C.I.A., to help lead the new holy war. “When Hekmatyar was made a leader, he had scarcely one bicycle and one bedroom to his name,” Asfundiyar said. He mentioned Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, another mujahideen patronized by the I.S.I. “Sayyaf used to sell socks out of a basket in the bazaar. Suddenly, he and all these other leaders had Land Cruisers and Pajeros. None of them had a political organization inside Afghanistan. They had private armies, built in Peshawar with American dollars.”
Isn’t that exactly what General Tariq described?