Taliban and the people of Swat
The News, January 17, 2009
The Afghan Taliban banned girls' education and many among them now regret the decision. The Pakistani Taliban in Swat have done the same thing and one day they too would realize that this was something wrong. But it would be late by then and neither regrets nor remorse would absolve them of the responsibility of keeping thousands of girls illiterate and rendering jobless a large number of female teachers and other employees.
The headstrong leadership of the Maulana Fazlullah-led Swati Taliban has even refused to listen to the advice of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), whose spokesman Maulvi Omar urged it to review the decision. Though the TTP founder Baitullah Mahsud hasn't commented on the issue and his organization is yet to give a clear directive on girls' education to its Swat chapter, the fact that many schools for females continue to function in his native South Waziristan and in neighbouring North Waziristan show that this isn't the policy of Pakistani Taliban to lock out educational institutions meant for girls. Still the absence of a proper policy guideline on girls' education by the TTP emboldened the Swati Taliban to go ahead with the decision to close all schools and colleges for females by January 15. As Muslim Khan, the spokesman for the Taliban in Swat pointed out, the TTP hadn't formally asked them to cancel the decision and, therefore, they would go ahead with its implementation.
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Tribes versus Terrorists By Ashley Bommer, Project Syndicate