‘Drones may kill leaders but not eliminate the Taliban’

Lahore, Aug. 8 : The US missile strike that killed Baitullah Mehsud may not be sufficient to eliminate the Taliban from Pakistan's tribal belt.

The terror outfit has intertwined the ethnic identity, religion and politics with extremism, and it will take decades to undo, the Guardian reports.

Behind the rise of Pak-Taliban chief Mehsud in Pakistan lie factors that are not going to be resolved easily.

"Firstly, there is the fusion of Pashtun tribal identity with a radical Islamic identity. The latter has only ever really thrived when grafted onto a sense of local belonging. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were Pashtuns from the Pakistani side of the frontier that has split their tribal lands for over a century," the report said.

Second issue is that the Pashtun tribes of the FATA have the lowest levels of literacy, economic development and infrastructural development of anywhere in Pakistan, it observed.

They are not considered full citizens. Pushed to the margins, they are, in one sense, trying to fight their way into the centre of national political and economic life, the report added.

Finally, there is religious homogeneity: the conservative southwest Asian Deobandi strand of Sunni Islam that has established itself with its system of mosques and free schools across the region, it says.

Put all this together and it is fairly clear that drones may tackle symptoms but not causes. It is also clear why, as my colleague Declan Walsh points out elsewhere on this site, another Mehsud may well emerge soon, it concludes.
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