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The Taliban, Power and Religion in Pakistan

April 17, 2009

The New York Times describes the Taliban strategy for taking control in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan. Recently, the Pakistani government allowed Sharia law to be imposed and there are worries that the Taliban have set their sights on more populous regions of the country. These developments raise the question: how does the Taliban convince the population, whether here or formerly in Afghanistan, to support their movement? Are the people of these regions yearning for a stricter religious life and the integration of political and religious authority? Or is there another reason? According to the Times, class struggle, not religious devotion, is behind the success of the Taliban.

[A]ccounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.

To do so, the militants organized peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, the residents, government officials and analysts said.

The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. john permalink
    April 17, 2009 9:21 am

    “So farewell Hope, and with Hope farewell Fear,
    Farewell Remorse: all Good to me is lost;”

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