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Make Omar the bait, instead of the target.

Date Written    :  Dec 06, 2001
Date Modified :   Dec 06, 2001

Should Mullah Omar be given amnesty?

A deal in Afghanistan has offered amnesty to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and his cohorts or allow them to escape. Taliban's former envoy to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef told CNN that the Taliban leadership, including Mullah Omar, "would be guaranteed safety and allowed to go home under the agreement." Karzai too appeared to leave open a window of escape for the one-eyed leader. 

The Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke has confirmed on Dec 6  that talks for the surrender of Gandhar (Kandahar) were underway, but were unable to comment on the substance of the discussions.

The Pashtun factor against the Taliban

Under the reported agreement, Mullah Omar will hand over control of Gandhar (Kandahar), his last remaining stronghold, to the interim set-up. In return, newly appointed Chairman of Interim Government, Hamid Karzai is said to have promised amnesty to Taliban fighters. Hamid Karzai is a Pashtun, which is the dominant tribal community in Afghanistan. 

The Pashtuns live by an austere code of conduct known as the pashtunwali, evolved from Afghanistan’s pre-Islamic past. Hamid Karzai may invoke  Pashtunwali.  

Can Pashtuns accept amnesty to Mullah Omar ?  "Badal" in one of the Laws of Pushtunwali means the taking of revenge over time or over space to avenge a wrong. Will Omar, be allowed to surrender Hamid Karzai ?  If the answer is NO, then Omar will commit suicide and if YES,  he will be killed by Hamid Karzai's government,  either immediately or after the war is over.  

Hamid Karzai's father was  murdered by Taliban two years back. In October this year, Mr Karzai slipped across the border into Afghanistan to gather support for a loya jirga and had consistently acted against Taliban. He survived a Taliban attempt to capture him. Taliban consists of mainly Arab, Chechen and Pakistani fighters.  Now that Karzai is getting enough powers and Rashid Dostum not accepting it,  Pashtuns should think of the land of their own - Pashtunistan.  

US war against terrorism should continue "elsewhere"

US has already made it clear that the war will not stop with Afghanistan or OBL or Mullah Omar, but will go on till terrorism is wiped-out.  Now that Mullah Omar knows the game is up,  he might want to surrender with the hope of an escape from Afghanistan.  

US needs to put pressure on Hamid Karzai to give safe passage to Mullah Omar and promise Pashtuns of their homeland after the war. "Nanawatay",  in Pashtunwali derives from the verb to "go in" and is used when the vanquished party is prepared to go in to the "Hujra" (common sitting place) of the victors and beg forgiveness. In the law of Pashtunwali once people are forgiven, they are free. If America’s engagement in Afghanistan  is to be productive, the Bush administration must consider this code and speak to the Pashtun Afghans in a symbolic and cultural language they understand. But how will this help? 

Mullah Omar and OBL should be given safe passage to other country, which will mean that the country which they take refuge will be the country which "harbours" terrorists.  It is highly unlikely that Arab countries will not give safe haven to MO and OBL. The US  President has said that those who harbour terrorists are terrorist and the country which harbours terrorists is a terrorist country. 

We had earlier welcomed the statement given in an interview on ABC television that there may be a need to use military troops elsewhere. Amnesty and/or Escape. Both will be beneficial for US and the whole world, since it will expose supporters of terrorists and terrorists. This will make the task of targeting "elsewhere" much simpler.

US and the rest of World  needs to know that the common threat to human survival is to deal with the International Terrorism, Islamic Terrorism being the worst of all.  

Also read : 

Thank you Mr. President - It was necessary but not sufficient
Unequal response of the Israelis -- An open letter to Mr. Ariel Sharon
"Do not try to appease Arabs at our expense" - Ariel Sharon
Appeasement of Muslims - A United Nuisance


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