04 January 2009

Hell goes round and round – North West Frontier

Israel and the Palestinians continue their fatal dance and there are protests a-plenty (against the Israelis of course....The role of Hamas in this current situation is conveniently forgotten by most of the protestors). But not a word is heard from a large swathe of fellow leftists, or from the right for that matter, for the atrocities of the Taliban I am not diminishing the situation in Gaza but I do wonder....

The Times reports that the Taliban have taken a ghastly revenge on a village that threw them out four months ago. 40 locals, many children, were murdered in a car bomb blast.

Shal Bandai, a remote settlement in North West Frontier province, about 175 miles north of Peshawar, was targeted because its citizens had dared to challenge the Taliban, who now control huge swathes of Pakistan in the tribal territories along the Afghan border. Last Sunday a suicide bomber drove up to the village school, which was being used as a polling station for a local by-election, and blew himself up.

Rokhan Gul, a pupil at the school, witnessed the attack. “I saw the bomber just before the blast,” he said. “While taking a sharp curve at the corner of the street his car slipped into a culvert and all of us helped push him out of the hole. Just 10 minutes later I heard a huge explosion and I immediately knew he was the bomber.”

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing. The following day Shah Durran, a Taliban commander in the neighbouring district of Swat, announced on his banned radio station: “We will even kill your children.” Last week in Swat another Taliban commander declared a ban on girls’ education, saying it was unIslamic. The Taliban have burnt down more than 100 schools in the past year.

People have formed lashkars (local militias) to protect themselves. Shal Bandai was the first village to raise a lashkar last summer to fight back against the Taliban and paid the price. Fakhre Alam, a schoolteacher who is the head of the committee charged with the security of the village, said the locals had turned down a reward of 5m rupees (£44,000) from the Pakistani government after their clash with the Taliban. “We don’t need money. We need peace and security. We asked the government to set up a college instead of sending more weapons to our young people”, he said

“We shall fight. This is our life and only we have a right to it. Who are they to dictate to us? We’re not going to give in,” said Alam


RobW said...

We just shouldn't get involved in these things. They've always led to trouble and will continue to do so.

Liz Hinds said...

What brave vilagers.

Amazing Gracie said...

I don't know, Jams. I've always stood on the side of the Israelis and always will (at this point!) but I don't know how the civilized world can communicate with totally uncivilized people, like those who promote terrorism, i.e. the Taliban. Is it a hopeless case? It's gone on for eons and I wonder if there's an answer.

Frank Partisan said...

Hamas's shelling of the Israeli border, only hurts working class and poor Israelis. Israel's attack is based on collective punishnent as well. This event is a negotiating ploy. Islamists only want to negotiate their own wealth.

A Palestine run by Hamas or Fatah, will only be a source for the world of cheap labor. Neither ever denounced neoliberalism.

The best thing that could happen, would be for a socialist Egypt to emerge. It would break down the border with Gaza, provide schooling and healthcare. People can decide if they want to be part of Egypt.

There is no nationalist solution. Small countries have nothing on their own, with the world economy already divided. Kosovo is a nation now, but its economy is 80% dependent on Serbia.

jams o donnell said...

I really wish I knew what the answer was.