The Taliban blew up a mosque in Pakistan's Upper Dir district last Friday. Since the blast went off during prayers, 33 worshipers were killed, and dozens injured.
This doesn't seem to have made the Taliban any more popular in the region. To date, up to 1,600 tribesmen have joined militias - they're called lashkars, apparently - and attacked two villages that are known Taliban strongholds.
The score so far is 13 "militants," as The Associated Press likes to call them, dead. Also 25 homes of Taliban commanders and fighters destroyed.
Whether or not the lashkar actions against the Taliban are effective may depend on what Pakistan's central government does - or doesn't do.
"...The government has encouraged citizens to set up militias to oust Taliban fighters, especially in the regions that border Afghanistan where al-Qaida and the Taliban have hide-outs. But villagers' willingness to do so has often hinged on confidence that authorities will back them up if necessary...." (AP)It's possible that the situation is better now, than in September of 2008, when "...Pakistan's leadership apparently has decided that American troops are a bigger threat than a bunch of self-proclaimed Muslims who blow up girls' schools...." (September 16, 2008)
I may be overly optimistic about this, but it seems as if people in Pakistan's Upper Dir district have decided that an organization that blows up a Mosque is not very nice.
It's quite possible that there really is growing lack of enthusiasm with the Taliban in Pakistan. If so, and if the people who are supposed to be running Pakistan's government decide that, by and large, being nice to the Taliban isn't the best policy, the country and it's nuclear weapons would be less of a worry to its neighbors, and more of a partner.
- "Pakistan's Swat Valley: Civilians, Soldiers, and the Taliban"
(May 31, 2009)
- "Iraq's Soft Surge; Pakistan and the Taliban: Weekend News and History"
(May 10, 2009)
- "Pakistan; Nawaz Sharif; Multiculturalism; and a Skewed World View"
(March 15, 2009)
- "Taliban Brings Peace, Islamic Law, to Pakistan's Swat Valley"
(February 21, 2009)
- "Pakistan, the Taliban, and Peace Through Diplomacy"
(February 17, 2009)
- "India, Mumbai, and the Pakistan Connection: Following Facts"
(December 31, 2008)
- "Pakistan, India, Mumbai, Nuclear Weapons, and Pashtunistan: Simple This Isn't"
(December 27, 2008)
- "Bhutto's Assassination Anniversary: Claims, Wild and Otherwise"
(December 27, 2008)
- "The Marines Blew Up the Islamabad Marriott!"
(September 23, 2008)
- "Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Foreign Troops: One Issue, Two Approaches"
(September 16, 2008)
- "Honor Killing is Against Islam, Islamic Party Members Say"
(September 7, 2008)
- "Pakistanis rise against Taliban after mosque blast"
The Associated Press (June 8, 2009)