One day, a scorpion was sitting on the edge of a stream looking to the other side when a frog came swimming by. “Mr Frog, please, I beg of you to let me ride on your back as I must cross to the other side of this stream, but, being a scorpion, I cannot swim.” The frog laughed. “No! You are a scorpion and you will surely kill me.” The scorpion pleaded, “Mr Frog, think about this: I am telling you that I cannot swim. If I kill you, I will surely die, too!” The frog thought about this and said, “Acha acha. I will take you to the other side.”
The scorpion jumped onto the frog’s back and the frog began to swim across the stream. When they had reached about halfway, the scorpion lifted his tail and plunged his stinger deep into the frogs neck. As he felt himself dying, the frog cried out, “Why?! You have stung me and now we will both surely die.” The scorpion, slowly sinking into the water replied, “I am a scorpion. It is my nature…”
The very Taliban with whom the government believes good-faith negotiations are possible is now claiming to have killed 15 captured Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel. The FC men were captured during a security operation in Khyber Agency and even though the military says they haven’t received confirmation of their deaths, it was announced by a Taliban spokesman. This, needless to say, is not the action of an honourable enemy which follows the rules of war. Had the Taliban any interest in civilised conduct, it would have held the personnel until hostilities had ceased and then released them. That they executed the FC men is bad enough. What makes it even worse is that they did it at a time when the government is looking to compromise. Not that the executions should come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with how the Taliban handles such situations. In 2007, the Taliban captured 300 Pakistani soldiers, whose release the military were so keen on ensuring that they freed over a hundred Taliban fighters as a goodwill gesture. In return, the Taliban released only 30 soldiers and killed three, mutilating their bodies after doing so. Previously, the Taliban has also released recordings of soldiers and policemen who were summarily executed by firing squad. By now, we should have learned that such wanton cruelty and brutality is the Taliban’s stock in trade. The thousands of soldiers who have been killed trying to defeat the militant menace deserve better.