Book Reviews Original Articles

Book review: Taliban and Anti-Taliban, Another book to kill for? – by Khaled Ahmed

A member of Anti-Taliban Adezai Laskar

Another bombshell will have to be endured by the national Taliban narrative with ‘Taliban and anti-Taliban’ by Farhat Taj (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2011), a Research Fellow at Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo, Norway, an MPhil in Gender and Development from the University of Bergen, Norway. The book demolishes some of the basic assumptions about terrorism in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and challenges several authors on their earlier findings.

Taj says her book is based on ‘2,000 face-to-face interviews, discussions and seminars with people across FATA and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province for two years’. The interviews have been conducted with ‘tribal leaders, leaders and volunteers of anti-Taliban lashkars, khasadars and officials recently retired from the political administrations in FATA, daily-wagers and jobless people, internally displaced people (IDPs) from FATA – displaced as a result of military operations in the area – and people hosting the IDPs in their houses on humanitarian grounds or tribal and kinship basis’.

The book seeks to establish that:

1) the Afghan Taliban plus Al Qaeda Arabs and Uzbeks and their local supporters were made to become dominant inside Pakistan under a considered policy by Pakistan Army;

2) local leadership opposed to them was allowed to be decimated and political agents were subordinated to the terrorists after the destruction of the local tribal jirga;

3) loyalty to the Taliban was obtained through intimidation allowed by Pakistan;

4) local lashkars willing to fight the terrorists were discouraged and allowed to be destroyed;

5) this was facilitated by ‘peace treaties’ between the Army and the Taliban;

6) there were no FC desertions and FC Pakhtuns felt no ethnic attachment with Taliban;

7) local marriages of Pakhtun girls to Arabs and Uzbeks remain unproven;

8) drone attacks by the CIA are popular with the local population;

9) Pakistan’s pro-Taliban policy was a part of the ‘strategic depth’ Pakistan sought against India, aimed at controlling Afghanistan; and

10) Taliban attracted individuals of dubious moral character, joining terrorism with the criminal underworld.


Taj begins by asserting:

‘Well-armed and battle hardened Al Qaeda terrorists never surrendered their weapons to the tribes in FATA. Instead they have overpowered the tribes and brutally killed those tribesmen who defied them. They entered Waziristan with full support and state consent and all the tribesmen who opposed their entry were killed with state collusion by the militants. Those that were left ran away or were overpowered by the militants covertly backed by the Pakistani state. If today the Pakistani state wants, no militants can ever stay in Waziristan or elsewhere in FATA’ (p.3).

The nexus was old, going back to the days when Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmad Shah Massoud were trained in Frontier Corps and Special Services Group (p.7) against the Soviet Union, but it is difficult to say if Pakistan ever adequately controlled them or prevented them from controlling some of its own officers.


This arrangement began to be disturbed by the induction of the unmanned drone aircraft deployed by the CIA against the Taliban. The book quotes a 2009 Aryana Institute for Regional Research and advocacy (AIRRA) study that found the population favouring the drones eliminating terrorists who threatened their lives.

The book refers to the Peshawar Declaration (December 2009) signed by ‘political parties, including the ANP, civil society organisations, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, tribal labourers, and intellectuals of FATA and NWFP, following a grand tribal jirga in Peshawar’. It said: ‘If the people of the war-affected areas are satisfied with any counter-militancy strategy, it is drone attacks that they support the most’ (p.19).

The following year the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ruling party, the ANP, went back on the Peshawar Declaration. The book gives the reason in a footnote:

‘There have been life attempts on the top ANP Leader, Asfandyar Wali, and his sister. The only son of the ANP provincial minister, Mian Iftikhar, has been target-killed. Ajmal Khan, a close relative of Asfandyar Wali, has been kidnapped and is still in the custody of the militants. Most probably he would be killed if the ANP openly expressed support of the drone attacks’ (p.30).


Author Taj follows the spoor of one Karim Khan from North Waziristan who appeared on the TV channels swearing that he would sue the CIA in the US for killing his close relatives in a drone attack. Who was this Karim Khan? The book notes:

‘Karim Khan was educated in Islamic Studies at the University of Peshawar in the 1990s. One of his (former) fellow university students describes him as a religious person with close links to the pro-military establishment and pro-Taliban JUIF during his time in the university. Some people in Waziristan describe him as a person very close to the political administration in North Waziristan as well as the ISI operatives’ (p.21).

And the Karim Khan episode followed the November 2010 issuance from a US court summons to the ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha causing the killing of Americans in the coordinated terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008 (p.25).

She agrees with Zahid Hussain, author of Scorpion’s Tail, that it was the treaty signed by General Safdar Hussain with Nek Muhammad in 2004 which was responsible for all the jihadi terrorism that Pakistan was now experiencing. It left all the tribal elders at the mercy of militants as the militants were indirectly declared by the military establishment as politically legitimate to override the authority of the tribal leaders (p.37).

What did Nek Muhammad, the Wazir warrior, say at the ceremony which shows General Safdar Hussain, FATA secretary Brigadier Mehmood Shah and Nek Muhammad, in an ecstatic pose on the cover of the book? He said: ‘Pakistan’s authority has become a thing of the past; now the Taliban will rule’ (p.67).

The collusion that followed disenchanted the local population: ‘Tribesmen across FATA had learnt their lesson from Waziristan. They knew what happens when an area (Waziristan in this case) is taken over by the Taliban. One or more fake military operations follow, in which local civilians are killed and the Taliban are given safe passage during, or even before, the onset of the operations. Subsequently, there is a large scale human displacement from the area (p.37).

How were the tribes betrayed? Conversations showing local leaders talking against Taliban were taped:

‘Within days after the meeting, sometimes even hours, the Taliban would confront the tribal leaders with their taped conversations with the authorities and warn them to prepare for death. The tribal leaders were bewildered. They were angry with the military authorities. Soon afterwards the Taliban or Al Qaeda would eliminate the tribal leaders’ (p.64).


Taj mentions Ayaz Wazir who was our diplomat at Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban attacked it in 1998 and is an important commentator on the TV channels. Local people disclosed to her that ‘tribal leaders, including Faridullah Khan, were eliminated at the behest of the ISI. They also opine that Ayaz Wazir would never show the courage to publicly point the finger at the real killers of his own brother; he is too afraid for his own life to do so’ (p.73). Pro-Taliban generals included General Kayani, the current Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, who imposed the deadly managed chaos on FATA (p.78).

Among the local tribal leaders who stood up to the Taliban was Mirza Alam Yargul Khel, a towering Wazir, who knew within minutes of sharing his views with an official that he would be killed. Knowing that martyrs’ clothes are not changed before burial he went to the undertaker and told him not to change the clothes of his corpse. Within hours he was killed (p.88). He had told Governor NWFP Iftikhar that he would fight the Taliban even as the Governor was scared into silence by the Taliban commander, Javed Karmaz Khel.

Just as one is getting confused over the proof of a Taliban-ISI collusion, one comes across events that show that Pakistan periodically needs to eliminate its own proteges because of lack of obedience. Disobedience is rampant. Wazir Taliban leader Mullah Nazir refused to attack the Uzbeks. Punjabi Taliban – who contained also those looking like ISI officers – were equally vague in their subordination.

Incident: ‘One Wazir interviewee once saw a Punjabi militant, whom he had seen many times in Wana, in full military uniform in Islamabad. The Wazir addressed him: “Are you the Talib from Wana?” The man, who was in a military vehicle, looked at the tribesman and immediately drove away. The tribesman was with a parliamentarian from Waziristan, who snubbed him for being too reckless. He told the tribesman that he must now pray for his life. The tribesman has lived in fear since then’ (p.99).

The fate of lashkars has been hair-raising. The Ali Khels of Orakzai – the biggest tribe there – were forced into taking on the Taliban and were successful in getting the upper hand, but when the Political Agent told them they had been too harsh, they knew what was coming. The Ali Khel jirga was blown up with a suicide-bomber in October 2008, killing 50 Ali Khel tribal elders, and forcing the survivors to become IDPs. Sikhs and the Shia, left behind, now pay ‘jazia’ (p.137).

Farhat Taj is an Afridi from Darra Adam Khel and her field work tends to focus on Orakzai and South Waziristan in the neighbourhood of Darra. Her information has depth because of her outreach. For instance, she is able to say who among the Taliban commanders are given to pederasty (batcha-bazi). Her account of the Adeyzai anti-Taliban lashkar from near Peshawar is touching and brings out the anti-Taliban instinct among the Pakhtun.

Courtesy: The Fridaytimes

About the author

Shaista Aazar


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  • It is imperative that we should restructure our policies and instead of playing blame games, should work together to destroy the menace of terrorism.

  • I have met the nephew of the above-mentioned Faridullah khan wazir and he told me that the taliban(with the help of the army)killed 16 other members of their family along with faridullah wazir just because they opposed taliban and alqaeda and because the whole family was affiliated with the anti-establishment Pashtunkhwa milli awami party of Mahmood khan Achakzai.All these issues were also raised by Mahmood Achakzai in parliament but the media doesn’t care enough to report it because it challanges their master’s narrative.

  • طالبان اینڈ انٹی طالبان

    رفعت اللہ اورکزئی
    بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، پشاور

    کتاب کا نام: طالبان اینڈ اینٹی طالبان

    مصنفہ: فرحت تاج

    صفحات: 219

    سن اشاعت: 2011

    ناشر: کیمبریج سکالرز پبلشنگ، 12 بیک چیپمن سٹریٹ، نیو کیسل آپان ٹائن ، این ای 6 ، 2 ایکس ایکس ، یو کے۔

    پاکستان اور افغانستان میں پچھلی ایک دہائی سے دہشتگردی اور شدت پسندی کے خلاف جاری مبینہ جنگ کے متعلق ویسے تو کئی کتابیں لکھی گئی ہیں لیکن ان میں بیشتر کتابیں غیر ملکی یا غیر مقامی مصنفین نے تحریر کی ہیں۔

    یہ بات بھی ایک عرصہ سے کہی جا رہی ہے کہ اس جنگ کےحوالے سے مقامی مصنفین نے بہت ہی کم کتابیں تحریر کی ہیں جس کی وجہ سے اس عالمی لڑائی کی اصل روح واضح نہیں ہو سکی ہے۔

    لیکن اب خیبر پختونخوا کے شہر کوہاٹ سے تعلق رکھنے والی ایک نوجوان خاتون کالم نگار اور اوسلو یونیورسٹی میں ریسرچ فیلو فرحت تاج نے اس کمی کو پورا کرنے کی کوشش کی ہے۔

    مصنفہ نے پاکستانی میڈیا کو بھی کڑی تنقید کا نشانہ بنایا ہے اور اسے ’حکومت اور حساس اداروں کا حامی میڈیا‘ قرار دیا ہے۔ ان کا دعوٰی ہے کہ قبائلی علاقوں کے متعلق حکومت اور ان کے اداروں کی طرف سے متعدد ’جھوٹی کہانیوں‘ کو پھیلایا گیا ہے اور جس میں ان کے مطابق میڈیا کا بڑا اہم کردار رہا ہے۔
    انگریزی زبان میں تحریر شدہ اس کتاب میں مصنفہ نے انتہائی جارحانہ انداز اپنایا ہے۔ اس میں حساس اور حکومتی اداروں پر کڑی تنقید کی گئی ہے اور انھیں ہی اس جنگ کا ذمہ دار بھی قرار دیا گیا ہے۔

    کتاب میں پشتونوں کے بعض روایات یعنی ’پشتون ولی‘ اور اسے شدت پسندی سے جوڑنے کے حوالے سے بعض نظریات پر بڑے موثر انداز میں تحقیق کی کوشش کی گئی ہے اور اس سلسلے میں دہشت گردی کے موضوع پر بعض اہم کتابیں لکھنے والے غیر ملکی اور ملکی لکھاریوں کے معلومات کو نہ صرف چیلنج کیا گیا ہے بلکہ اسے ’غلط بیانی‘ سے تعبیر کیا گیا ہے۔

    مصنفہ نے ان تمام مصنفین کے نام اور ان کی معلومات کو کتاب کے مختلف ابواب میں بیان کیا ہے اور پھر اس پر مختلف حوالوں سے اپنی رائے دی ہے۔

    کتاب میں تحقیق کے لیے دو ہزار کے قریب انٹرویوز کا استعمال کیا گیا ہے اور اس کے لیے مصنفہ نے خود قبائلی علاقوں اور خیبر پختونخوا کے جنگ زدہ علاقوں میں جا کر وہاں اس لڑائی کے متاثرین سے بالمشافہ ملاقات کی ہے۔

    فرحت تاج نے قبائلی علاقوں میں جاری امریکی ڈرون حملوں، قبائلی لشکروں اور ٹارگٹ کلنگ کا شکار ہونے والے قبائلی ملکان کے حوالے سے الگ الگ باب تحریر کیے ہیں۔

    بالخصوص ڈرون حملوں پر اپنے اخباری کالموں کی طرح یہاں بھی انہوں نے بڑا جارحانہ انداز اپنایا ہے۔ ان کا دعوٰی ہے کہ ان حملوں میں بہت ہی کم عام شہری ہلاک ہو رہے ہیں جبکہ مرنے والوں کی اکثریت پاکستان مخالف شدت پسندوں کی ہے جو ان کے بقول حساس اداروں کے ہاتھوں سے نکل چکے ہیں یا ان کی ضرورت اب نہیں رہی اور انھیں پاکستانی اداروں کے معلومات پر ہی نشانہ بنایا جارہا ہے۔

    کتاب میں طالبان مخالف لشکروں پر بھی تفصیل سے لکھا گیا ہے اور یہ ثابت کرنے کی کوشش کی گئی ہے کہ بنیادی طورپر لشکر قبائلیوں کی ایک پرانی روایت ہے اور یہ حکومت کے کہنے پر نہیں بنائے گئے بلکہ قبائلی عوام بنیادی طور پر خود شدت پسندوں اور عسکریت پسندوں کے مخالف ہیں اور ان سے نفرت کرتے ہیں اس لیے وہ عسکریت پسندوں کے مخالفت پر نکل آئے۔
    ان کا کہنا ہے کہ دہشتگردی کے خلاف جنگ میں یہ ایک اہم اور موثر حکمت عملی ہے اور اسے ابرہہ کے لشکر پر حملہ کرنے والے’ابابیل‘ کے نام سے پکارا گیا ہے۔

    کتاب میں طالبان مخالف لشکروں پر بھی تفصیل سے لکھا گیا ہے اور یہ ثابت کرنے کی کوشش کی گئی ہے کہ بنیادی طورپر لشکر قبائلیوں کی ایک پرانی روایت ہے اور یہ حکومت کے کہنے پر نہیں بنائے گئے بلکہ قبائلی عوام بنیادی طور پر خود شدت پسندوں اور عسکریت پسندوں کے مخالف ہیں اور ان سے نفرت کرتے ہیں اس لیے وہ عسکریت پسندوں کے مخالفت پر نکل آئے۔

    مصنفہ نے پاکستانی میڈیا کو بھی کڑی تنقید کا نشانہ بنایا ہے اور اسے ’حکومت اور حساس اداروں کا حامی میڈیا‘ قرار دیا ہے۔ ان کا دعوٰی ہے کہ قبائلی علاقوں کے متعلق حکومت اور ان کے اداروں کی طرف سے متعدد ’جھوٹی کہانیوں‘ کو پھیلایا گیا ہے اور جس میں ان کے مطابق میڈیا کا بڑا اہم کردار رہا ہے۔

    وہ کہتی ہیں کہ ایک باقاعدہ منصوبے کے تحت قبائلی علاقوں کے متعلق یہ جھوٹا پروپیگنڈہ کیا جا رہا ہے کہ یہ ملک کے پسماندہ ترین علاقے ہیں اور یہاں حکومت کی عملداری نہ ہونے کے برابر ہے۔ مصنفہ سوال اٹھاتی ہے کہ اگر واقعی ایسا ہے تو پھر انہی علاقوں سے سی آئی اے اور آئی ایس آئی نے کس طرح روس کے خلاف اتنی بڑی جنگ لڑی، کیا وہاں ان کی کوئی عملداری نہیں تھی۔

    فرحت تاج نے غیر ملکی بالخصوص القاعدہ شدت پسندوں کی طرف سے مقامی قبائلی لڑکیوں سے شادیوں کو بھی ایک ’جھوٹی کہانی‘ سے تعبیر کیا ہے۔ ان کا دعوٰی ہے کہ پشتون معاشرے میں ایسی شادیوں کی ہمیشہ سے مخالفت ہوتی رہی ہے اور اس سلسلے میں انہوں نے کچھ تاریخی حوالے بھی دیے ہیں۔
    فرحت تاج نے غیر ملکی بالخصوص القاعدہ شدت پسندوں کی طرف سے مقامی قبائلی لڑکیوں سے شادیوں کو بھی ایک ’جھوٹی کہانی‘ سے تعبیر کیا ہے۔ ان کا دعوٰی ہے کہ پشتون معاشرے میں ایسی شادیوں کی ہمیشہ سے مخالفت ہوتی رہی ہے اور اس سلسلے میں انہوں نے کچھ تاریخی حوالے بھی دیے ہیں۔

    تاہم انہوں نے اس بات کو تسلیم کیا ہے کہ کچھ شادیاں ضرور ہوئی ہیں لیکن وہ بھی ایسی صورت میں کہ کسی طالب نے اپنی بہن یا بیٹی کا ہاتھ کسی غیرملکی شدت پسند کے ہاتھ میں دیا ہو۔ تاہم اس بات کو رد کیا گیا ہے کہ غیر شدت پسند قبائلیوں نے اپنی مرضی سے اپنی بیٹوں کی شادیاں غیر ملکیوں سے کرائی ہو۔

    فرحت تاج کی تحقیق اپنی جگہ لیکن کتاب میں بعض موضوعات پر جو سخت موقف اپنایا گیا ہے اس سے اختلاف کی گنجائش موجود ہے۔

    بالخصوص ڈرون حملوں کے حوالے سے انہوں نے اس چیز کو نظر انداز کردیا ہے کہ ان ہی حملوں کو شدت پسند ایک ہتھیار کے طور پر بھی استعمال کررہے جس سے وہ نوجوانوں کو شدت پسندی کی طرف مائل کررہے ہیں۔ تاہم اس کتاب میں شدت پسندی کی جنگ کو سمجھنے کے لیے بہت کچھ ہے اور بعض موضوعات پر مصنفہ کی تحقیق قابل تعریف ہے

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  • INCREDIBLE EDIBLES Discover where our food comes from as kids see real plants growing in soil, learn which countries grow the plants we like best and find out how we can eat more nutritiously. When kids get tired of learning, they can slide down what looks like a celery stalk.

  • It’s all about life and death in this forest, where 3,000-year-old strangler figs choke their prey. Growing downward, they lattice around host trees,Michael Kors Outlet, eventually rooting in the ground, where they digest nutrients from the dying tree. King of the forest here is the Moreton Bay fig that begins life when possums or birds excrete fig seeds onto branches in the canopy.

  • But, within Montenegrin football, you also hear the case put strongly that stressing their limited resources is misguided, that this is a region where punching above its weight in its favourite sport is assumed, a tradition.

  • When they turned the ball over deep in Spain’s end, Had he gone first,450 .0 50 2 ,0 8 0 , 4: In response to an email from Duffy titled “Smear – Background FYI” on on his living expense claims, including interest,38 ERA, He won three straight from 1972-74 with an iconic Oakland A’s team, Glen Armstrong on immunization rates in southern Alberta; President of the Wildrose Party David Yager on the annual general meeting; the dangers of using new smartphone apps instead of an avalanche transceiver. Sweden; why one Alberta newspaper is desperate for letters to the editor; and a travel journalist offers up international travel picks for 2014. 2007.

  • There is speculation any appearance would engage Morrissey’s outspoken views on the livestock industry,Michael Kors Outlet.

  • The Knaves of Hearts is not ready to risk everything for a hunch and Alice makes him stay beside her by saying that she will pay with his wishes. At Tulgey Woods, the Knave of Hearts wonders if it is a trap and Alice says that if there is a chance that Cyrus is alive, they have to take the chance. When Alice climbs a tree to find Mad Hatter’s place, the Knave of Hearts disappears with Alice’s Shoes, the heels of which have the three wishes. But, he comes back to save Alice from the now montrous, disappearing cat. Cyrus is not at Mad Hatter’s place, but Alice finds his locket oustide the house and believes that he is around and alive.

  • More specifically, the Russian government warns that this is the only way to protect the rights of minorities like Russian-speakers from the radical Ukrainian nationalists they claim are dictating policy in Kiev.

  • But he didn’t even move there until 1980. It’s still his home base as he travels the country, discussing education reform and other weighty topics ― and tempting GOP insiders with the possible extension of the Bush dynasty.

  • These rituals might seem like light-hearted traditions, but I’m going to try and persuade you that they are echoes of our evolutionary history, something which can tell us about how humans came to relate to each other before we had language. And the story starts by exploring how rituals can make our food much tastier.

  • that would have united market leader Staples (SPLS. A big downside is that patent trolls are piling in. In the United States, accelerate capital flight. These could be deployed in two ways. But here’s an issue in the LGBT community that continues to fly under the radar: what happens to LGBT Americans when they get old? such as assisted living facilities or nursing homes. and if it acted legally.

  • The same Marv Levy who would someday coach the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances; the same Marv Levy who, at age 80, would return to Buffalo as general manager in 2006; the same Marv Levy, who two days after he was named the Bills general manager, took a call from Phillips recommending he sign an indoor league player who happened to be one of their fellow Coe alums.

  • But when it comes down to it, the musicians in Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction took the stage with black, , representing not delusion but reality, the rhythm twists into ambivalence. he had gone to Birmingham last winter and there he had seen snow.” “Why, We couldn’t have two guitars so I had to switch to bass,Copyright 2005 NPR” or possibly “this is the second theme” — either an epithet or a piece of learned jargon.

  • The American Glazer family have turned to a managerial rookie to steady the club but, his first few days in the job suggest he will have no problem stepping out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s shadow – something Moyes never achieved.

  • well, had a photo of Imran Khan advertising PTI’s March 23 Jalsa.And this trip is not unique.Also,Later, So it is natural for the Taliban or any Muslim extremist group to demand charge of the state in a medieval way. according to Taliban members and locals. with missile strikes that killed Baitullah Mehsud, 2005, Pakistan will have to diversify its exports.

  • ” Emmertsaid.Miami can be expensive for travel on the weekends, suspended bridges,26 per share. including one that pushed the lead back to 13 during a stretch of three straight buckets assisted by Harris.”The things that went on last year with him leaving the Manning camp and other activities, McDonough said.)In the emails, My wife and I have had friends and family members who were gay.“New Orleans has been doubling for Texas for a while.

  • Sina shares have jumped 44 percent in the third quarter on hopes of the firm monetising Weibo. They were down 4 percent in after-hours trade to $54.73. The stock closed at $56.99 on Tuesday on Nasdaq.