The brutal Peshawar attack has changed the thinking of Pakistan about Taliban. It all happened like they were bitten by their own raised serpent. Pakistan is messing up with India using terrorist organizations, and denied any involvement even after the connections were clear in 26/11 attacks. But they would have never thought that one day their own serpent would wipe 132 school children.
It is not just the Pakistan and Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) who were involved in support of the Taliban in its starting times, it was also the United States and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who played an enormous role in building of this organization. So lets talk about the history of Taliban and who supported it during different times, and what turned the good militia of that time into a terrorist organization.
The Good Taliban (1979-1996)
Its all started during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when different groups of rebels opposed the Soviets including Mujahideen and the rebels including Mullah Omar who fought in resistance to the Soviet Invasion. Mujahideen and others were trained in Pakistan by ISI and were heavily supported by CIA to oppose the communist invasion by Soviet Union. One of the turning point of the war was when CIA provided latest missile technology ‘Stinger’ to the afghan rebels to shot down the Soviet jets and it proved decisive in the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989. This costly and lost war is also considered one of the main reason for dissolution of Soviet Union. So, the ‘Stinger’ has a very powerful impact on the history of both Soviet Union and Afghan militias.
“These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” — Former US President Ronald Reagan while introducing the Mujahideen leaders to media on the White house lawns (1985).
Osama bin Laden, founder of Al-Qaeda also joined the so-called jihad by providing funds and Arab jihadi fighters to Afghan militia Mujahideen. His role in the Soviet withdrawal is very minimal but he was a big reason for the fall of the Taliban. During the good times, US was just a supporter not an enemy.
Mohammad Najibullah-led Afghan government lacked any foreign ally after Soviet withdrawal which pushed the country into chaos, and rebels & warlords started to rose in different regions. Mullah Omar and his group of students fought and oppose the wrong deeds of rattled Afghan government, and this was the starting point when Taliban (generally means ‘student’) won the favor of people. And seriously, Taliban was just another good group of rebels until the things went wrong. The Government fell in 1992 and it was the time when different warlords and powerful commanders fought to gain control, and one of them was Mullah Omar led good Taliban militia. Afghanistan suffered a bloody civil war until the Mujahideen warlords decided to form a Mullah Omar led government in 1994. This was the new and proper beginning of Taliban as a big organization to lead the country.
Taliban Government (1996-2001)
After a long term of instability in Afghanistan, Taliban led-by Mullah Omar gained control over most of the country and formed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Taliban fought and failed to gain control over the rest of the 10% of Afghanistan which was under control of Ahmad Shah Massoud led anti-Taliban organization Northern Alliance. Only Pakistan, United Arab Emirate and Saudi Arabia recognized the Taliban government in 1997 and it was supposed to stop the decades of bloodsheds in the country. They were not anti-west as they wanted to increase international co-operation and were also not interested in any other religious and political problems of countries other than Afghanistan. They were just another good government trying to stabilize the country. Supported by Pakistan, US and some other Arab countries Taliban ruled the Afghanistan and imposed the Sharia Law. Taliban was condemned internationally for their very oppressive policies for women. In its last stages before 9/11, Taliban destroyed the 1700 years old sandstone statute of Buddha of Bamiyan which was condemned World-wide.
When Al-Qaeda turned their gun to their Afghanistan-Soviet war ally US, the bad times also began for Taliban. After 9/11, US led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) invaded the Afghanistan to bury Al-Qaeda, and Taliban also suffered the wrong deeds done by Osama Bin Laden. Taliban failed to fulfill the demands by US just after 9/11, and were now into another war started by someone else and they were now, as usual, protecting their own territory. The only difference was that decade ago they were defending their land from Soviet Union and now from US, which supported them during the Soviet invasion and even after that. But now Taliban was also declared a terrorist organization for not co-operating US to end Al-Qaeda and hand over Osama Bin Laden. Taliban was left alone, their men were fighting and feel abused specially by their allies. Now they really become terrorists as they were targeting civilians, Afghan Government, US and Pakistan Military personnel. Taliban was divided by commanders and warlords, and now walking on the wrong road.
Pakistan would have never imagined that the ally once they supported by providing training camps, jihadi education and funding, would turn his gun against it. Just like Al-Qaeda did to US. The incident can repeat itself if the Kurdish fighters (PKK) fighting against ISIS turn against their allies (US and others). No-one can guarantee that it would not going to happen but yes, PKK is a much safer choice if compared to the Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
*The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Naked Truth Magazine.