US led “War on Terror” is one episode where things have taken a new dimension on regular bases. Now as we are well into the 10th year of this global adventurism and many including me strongly believe that its Afghan chapter will be entering its final chapter by the mid of 2011, a new but very significant development has taken place in the past few weeks.
White Taliban, as they are called, is the terminology used to describe a group of hard core Al Qaeda style fighters, with Western background. From past evidences both native Westerners and settlers qualify for this category but with a common attribute that their roots are in the West.
In the last few weeks this term along with the activities of the “White Taliban” have flashed the media screen. Apparently, the Western intelligence services cracked a strong network of extremist based in Germany. As soon as they got hold of a member for interrogation, it was like a Pandora box unleashed about the White Talibs and their activities.
According to the intelligence gathered by the agencies, teenagers and youngsters from Germany, UK and other adjoining countries with Muslim background have turned to the tribal border region of Afghanistan & Pakistan to join the holy war against the US and its allies in Afghanistan. From the reports coming out of Western capitals, these” White Talibs” have established their own areas of influence in these areas where they are operating on their own. High on money, they have gathered enough resources to establish full fledged training camps, safe heavens and transit route for themselves. Some reports have linked Uzbek and Tajik hard core elements to have aided them in their efforts and the training in the field of explosives, suicide missions and hostage scenario have been delivered by them.
While the info about White Taliban still remains sketchy, Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency was pointed out to be the place where these talibs have established themselves. Having gathered this point, the US led coalation started a campaign where un manned drones targeted shelters of White Taliban on daily basis in the past few weeks. Mix with this NATO gunships also crossed into Pakistan under the banner of “hot pursuit” killing three Pakistani soldiers. This followed a period of great tension with Pakistan closing the vital supply route of ISAF while Taliban feasted on the cargo containers as they proved sitting ducks for them. With NATO and US formal apology things are coming back to normal between Pakistan and ISAF, but the White Taliban puzzle still holds its point.
Media reports have pointed out two brothers from Germany as the driving force for this chapter, and what worries more is the fact that until now hundreds of Western or White Talibs have been trained and launched on their respective missions by this chapter. It was claimed that a drone strike earlier this month killed the top leadership, but it is still uncertain. Details from the agencies claim that these Talibs have been trained to carry out missions like we saw on 26/11 in Mumbai, India where the entire city was taken hostage with strikes on multiple targets. Western capitals have beefed up their security for this reason, but for Pakistan once again it’s a call for concern.
Terror associated with white race is not that new. In past the failed shoe bombing attempt, 7/7 London strikes, Spain train bombing and much more has taken place with operatives hailing from Western background. The question to be asked isvery simple in terms of Pakistan prospective…….why so late? With this I want to point out the fact that these groups were operating right under the nose of Western intelligence agencies for so long but it seems that somehow they were allowed or atleast accommodated to travel unchecked to the NWA and the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Secondly, with drones they may be killed unchecked inside Pakistan but what about addressing the root cause of this issue. Ofcourse when it comes to the native Taliban from Afghanistan and Pakistan we see West arguing on poverty, lack of education, religious and traditional values to be the driving force for such groups, but what about those who were brought up by the most liberal and fair system as they claim it to be. Happily settled in the Western capitals, what is the point behind these elements travelling to such hostile places to carry out these tasks. With all these questions remaining as unanswered, a novice mind like mine is taken to the other aspect of the story.
During Afghan war it was the Arab Jehadis or Holy Warriors who made their separate identity by travelling to the peaks of Afghanistan and Pakistan to wage “Jihad” against former USSR. Among them were tycoons like Osama bin Laden, rich like anything and well educated but still this couldn’t change him from becoming the Number One hit man a few years later.
Having said this, its well known that at that time these Arab warriors were the “apple” of CIA in Washington and they were out of the way accommodated for this task. Now 20 years later, it seems that somehow the same trend is making its mark out here, only that the Arabs have been replaced by White Taliban. With their background they can merge really well in every segment, and unchecked they can be hijacked by any actor wishful of destruction on the scale of “civilization” as I must limit it.
Though a lot is to be unearthed regarding the White Taliban, it is crystal clear that a new mess has arrived while we all are still fighting with our lives to clear the earlier ones. Its time that this cancer should be stopped on its initial stage before it infects on a massive scale, otherwise the consequences can be fatal.
Image: Long War Journal