Since Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan accepted the government’s offer of a ceasefire, militant attacks have continued to kill Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. A suicide bomber killed 11 and injured dozens more in Islamabad on Monday. The following day, jihadi militants shot dead a truck driver and his helper in Khyber Agency, telling reporters that they are not bound by the TTP’s agreements with the government. On Wednesday, jihadis killed 8 people including six Frontier Corps personnel in an IED attack in Hangu. Some are starting to ask whether it is complicity or cowardice that has officials like Interior Minister Nisar continuing to peddle the tired old canard of ‘foreign hand’ every time jihadis carry out an attack, but the fact that the government continues to frame the national security situation as a problem of talking with some militants and fighting others gives away the real thinking behind our confused security policy.
Coming two days after the Taliban announced a one month ceasefire, Monday’s suicide bombing in Islamabad that killed 11 people and injured dozens more proves one of two things: The Taliban is either UNWILLING or UNABLE to enforce a ceasefire. It also means that the government’s national security policy, prioritising negotiations with Taliban above all else, is literally insane.
As airstrikes continue to pound militant compounds in North Waziristan, media reports that a full scale military operation is finally in the works targeting militants in the region. Such an operation is necessary, but it is not sufficient to root out the problem of extremist violence in the country. Just as the 2009 operation in South Waziristan did not end terrorism, neither will a successful operation that only takes place in North Waziristan today.
Military operations against Taliban militants in North Waziristan give some hope for a much welcome change in direction in national security policy. Support for jihadi groups in Afghanistan, whether active or passive, resulted in blow back that has killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis. America learned the lesson on 9/11 of how the jihadi monster will turn on its patron, and now we too have suffered even more from the terrorists, but have we actually learned the lesson? While there may finally be action against Taliban militants in North Waziristan, there remains the question of support for jihadi groups in Kashmir. And now, there is increasing worry that the military is getting involved with a new regional war – one that threatens to be even more disastrous than we have ever witnessed.
I am a daughter, a sister, a student, a friend, a Muslim, and a human being. Someday I hope to be a wife, a mother, a writer…and who knows what else the future will bring. Each of these is and will be part of my identity, and it is the combination that makes me who I am. And just as I am a proud Pakistani, I am also a proud South Asian. Losing one would be like losing a part of my body, making me incomplete.