Last week, the Pashtun Taliban attacked a Police Academy near Lahore. The attackers issued no demands but went on a rampage, killing at least eight recruits & instructors and wounding more than 100 others. One attacker was killed in the siege that followed and, in a gory finale, three detonated suicide belts, killing themselves.
“They were barbaric,” a senior trainer at the center said. “They had no demands. We didn’t understand what they wanted. They just kept killing.” The attackers were shouting, he added, “Oh, Red Mosque attackers, we have come,” a reference to the 2007 bloody assault by the Panjabi Army of a Pashtun militant mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.
There was no doubt who masterminded this attack. “We wholeheartedly take responsibility for this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future,” a main leader of the Pashtun Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, told Reuters. It was the second time this month that Pakistan’s most populous province, Panjab, had come under assault by militants.
This was not Terrorism, this was not Islamic Jihad. It was simply a fight that has gone on for the past 1,200 years between the Pashtuns of Afghanistan (North & South) and the Panjabis of Panjab, the main province of the Indus plain.
This should deeply troubling to both Pakistan and America. The American policy is based on the premise that Pakistani Army controls Pakistan and the militants are Islamic fundamentalist terrorists that need to be destroyed. The Pakistani Army’s policy is based on the conviction the Taliban is its creature and it can crush the Taliban at any time, So, the Pakistani Army keeps feeding and nurturing the Taliban as a critical asset against India.
Last August, we read that the historic town of Attock on the Indus river had fallen to the Pashtun Taliban. This fact triggered our series of articles about Afghanistan-Pakistan.
We informed our viewers that “Attock has a very special significance to the entire Indian sub-continent, culturally, historically and geographically. Simply put, when armies from India (Pakistani Panjab included) conquered Attock, that marked the domination of Indian Sub-Continent over Afghanistan. When the Afghans conquered Attock, it marked the ascendancy of the Afghans over Panjab and in some cases over North India.” (see our article “Attock – If you have not heard of Attock, Read this Article” – August 9, 2008 – http://www.cinemarasik.com/2008/08/06/democracy–a-terribly-misleading-word–a-trap-for-america.aspx )
We were convinced that “The march of the Pashtun Taleban to Attock brings the Pashtuns at the very border of Panjab and creates the specter of a Pashtun-Panjabi struggle for control of Pakistan.”
With this attack on Lahore, our fears have been realized. Lahore is the capital of Panjab, the capital of many kingdoms that dominated the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The 1,200 year old history is clear. Either the ruler of Lahore rules Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan or the ruler of Kabul rules Lahore, the capital of Panjab. The attack on Lahore is a statement by the Pashtuns that they can strike any part of Panjab at any time.
The only institution in Pakistan that can stop the Pashtun Taliban is the predominantly Panjabi Army. So far, despite its promises to America, it has not even begun to fight the Taliban. Yes, it has deployed the predominantly Pashtun Frontier Corps to “fight” the Pashtun Taliban. But, it knows that the Pashtun Soldiers will not really fight to kill the Pashtun Tribesmen. Pashtuns do not kill Pashtuns, especially at the behest of the Panjabis. One simply does not kill one’s brother.
We will know that Pakistan is serious about fighting the Taliban when it deploys its Panjabi divisions in against the Pashtun Taliban. This will be a brutal ethnic war between the Panjabi Soldiers and the Pashtun Tribesmen, reminiscent of the countless battles of the past 1,200 years.
We believe that the Panjabi Army of Pakistan is making a terrible mistake. As we wrote last August, “The bulk of the Pakistani Panjabi Army faces India, while behind their backs, the Pashtuns are increasing their control over Pakistan. If this goes on unchecked, we might see a struggle break out for control of Panjab between the Panjabis and the Pashtuns marching southward as they have done for the past 1000 years. This will be a struggle for all of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal, which already resides in Pashtunistan.” (see our article “Afghanistan-Pakistan – Will the Sins of England be visited Upon America?” – August 9, 2008 – http://www.cinemarasik.com/2008/08/07/afghanistanpakistan–will-the-sins-of-england-be-visited-on-america.aspx ).
The US Army has begun to some light. Last week, Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff warned that ‘The Taliban, in particular, are going both ways now, … They are going towards Islamabad (capital of Pakistan) and they are actually going towards Kabul.” So far, so good. Then Admiral Mullen lost us because he said “I am completely convinced that the vast majority of leaders in Pakistan understands the seriousness of the threat.”
This seems delusional to say the least. There have been no signs whatsoever that the Panjabis under Nawab Sharif, the powerful leader of Panjab and the Sindhis under President Zardari have even begun to focus on the Pashtuns as a threat to Panjab. Neither are any signs that the Panjabi General Kiyani has begun to worry about the encroachment into Panjab by the Pashtun Taliban.
The American Establishment does not realize and the Pakistani Establishment has forgotten that the Pashtuns have been Empire builders for 900 of the past 1,200 years. During these centuries, Kabul often dominated all of Panjab, parts of Persia, parts of Tibet and parts of Northwestern India. They are no strangers to conquest.
It is high time that the Obama Administration and the Sharif-Zardari combo in Pakistan face the reality of the Pashtun threat to Pakistan. Until they do so, they will keep fighting a fictitious war against Islamic militants of Al Qaeda and Taliban. Then one day, American Forces will leave Afghanistan cutting their losses and the Pashtun Taliban will swoop down the plains of Panjab to conquer the capital of Pakistan.
Then India will face the consequences of a nuclear armed militaristic Afghan Empire as it has done so often during the past 1,200 years.
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