Security apparatus criticised over militants’ return to Swat

Published October 24, 2022
Former senator Afrasiab Khattak speaks during a programme in Lahore on Sunday. — YouTube video screengrab
Former senator Afrasiab Khattak speaks during a programme in Lahore on Sunday. — YouTube video screengrab

LAHORE: Asking where the security apparatus was when militants returned to Swat, former senator Afrasiab Khattak on Sunday said that this time, the people have had enough and have came out against terrorism in a big way.

“The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have rejected negotiations and deals with the Taliban. This is also a part of the new great game — the US and Europe want to block China, use our area and spill more Pakhtun blood,” he said, claiming that at least 95pc of the 70,000 Pakistanis killed by the Taliban were Pakhtun.

Speaking during a session entitled ‘Making Deals with the Afghan Taliban and its Fallout’, the former Awami National Party stalwart also claimed that over 1,000 activists of the party had been killed by the Taliban, but not a single killer had been prosecuted thus far.

Also read: Why and how is the TTP resurfacing in Swat?

Talking about the present situation in Afghanistan, Mr Khattak added the Afghan conflict hadn’t been de-internationalised and was still a “part of big global games”.

Former Kabul envoy to Islamabad says no one is challenging the Afghan Taliban

Former Afghan envoy to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal said that since the fall of Kabul, no one had challenged the Taliban, so they didn’t need to negotiate with anyone.

He added there was no pressure from the international community, which was only focused on women’s issues and there was also no pressure for action against the militant Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.

The non-Taliban leadership remained fragmented and Afghans were angry over the weakness of the civil leadership, said Mr Zakhilwal.

However, he added that in the future, the Taliban government would have difficulties on the external front as they desired international recognition, but it wasn’t coming through, and internally, governing alone would also be difficult.

“Eventually, I foresee discussions,” he added.

‘Taliban have everything’

Mahbouba Seraj, founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, said the Afghan Taliban won’t demonstrate any flexibility as they have got everything to meet their needs.

“They have access to money for their soldiers and people, food, and a fantastic life. They don’t believe in women or their existence, so why would they agree to their inclusion?” she said adding that the US had held talks with the Taliban without including the people of Afghanistan in the process.

Participating virtually, Jasteena Dhillon, a legal expert and consultant with the UN-Women, said the marginalisation of women was one of the fall outs of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.

A list of decisions had been made to disengage women and their ability to advocate for themselves, but they’re still doing that and at a huge cost, Ms Dhillon said.

The ministries and commissions for protection of women have been abolished, women’s licences to practise law have been revoked and they are barred from signing up for law exams, she said as she listed the decisions made by the interim Afghan government to marginalised women.

“There is weak implementation of laws. Taliban are not holding up to their own commitments and making it impossible for women to participate [in the process],” she lamented.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2022

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