The Punjabi Taliban The Pashtun people have been unfairly dismissed as supporters of the Taliban, even though most of the victims of Taliban terrorism have been Pashtuns, from Afghan construction workers being killed, respected tribal elders being executed in Waziristan to girls schools being bombed in Swat. The stereotyping of the Pashtun people has deceived many people and has given opportunists the chance to exploit the current situation to their liking. For example, Leftist writers such as Tariq Ali and Islamist apologists like Imran Khan, seem to associate the Taliban with Pashtun Nationalism, obviously there are motives for this, as the Taliban refuse to accept any other cause outside of Political Islam, which means they oppose Pashtun Nationalism and have done so since the 70s. However, there is one important issue that most seem to ignore or fail to highlight, and its the presence of Punjabis in the Taliban. The Punjabi Taliban consists of three militant groups in Pakistan, the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Sipah-i-Sahaba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. All three militant groups have some link or have been associated in the past with the Pakistani ISI especially in Kashmir. The Punjabi Taliban has been on the forefront with the Taliban since the civil war in Afghanistan. The SSP faction of the Punjabi Taliban, have in the past fought alongside the Afghan Taliban against the Northern alliance and Hazara Militiamen. Mullah Omar himself had an admiration for the Punjabi Taliban and even offered the Punjabi Talibs of the Harkat Ansar group at the time employment, not only this, but three Afghan Taliban ministers and 22 judges belonged to the Punjabi Harkat Ansar Group too, which shows how influential the Punjabi Talibs were during Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Mullah Omar not only provided the Punjabi Talibs with jobs within the Taliban movement, he also allowed them to step up training camps in Kandahar, Kabul and Khost where they began training recruits for attacks in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya. During the July 1999 offensive against the Northern Alliance, the 6000-8000 Pakistani militants who joined the Taliban were by majority Punjabis and Non Pashtun. Even after the capture of Mazar e Sharif, in August 1998, there were thousands of Pakistanis that went to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, the number is estimated to be over 4000, with Punjabis making the majority once again, in this case, a meeting was held on the 13th July 1998 in Akora Khattak where a decision was made by representatives of 12 major madrasahs in Pakistan to send Punjabis to assist the Taliban. During the Iranian-Taliban crisis, whereby Iran was deeply concerned over the killings of its diplomats in Mazar I Sharif and the Shias in Afghanistan in general, the leader of the SSP faction of the Punjabi Taliban, Azam Tariq who was at the time in a Military jail in Attock, Pakistan stated that his movement was ready to dispatch 20,000 militants to fight alongside the Taliban if Iran dares to attack Afghanistan. Not only has Afghanistan been heavily influenced by Punjabi Pan Islamism, the region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has also followed the same route to take for instance a dispute occurred in Mohmand tribal agency of Khyber-Pakhtunkwha in 2007 over control of a Legendry Pashtun freedom fighter called Haji Sahib Turangzaishrine. Residents of the region complained about 300 masked Urdu speaking Talibs who were occupying the site, it came to notice, that the 300 masked Urdu speaking Talibs, were actually Punjabis, who were part of the SSP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Harktul Mujahedeen. Residents were furious over the fact that their heros shrine was guarded by Non Pashto speaking Punjabis. Such an incident highlights the substantial evidence out there that shows a Punjabi Talib presence even in the areas controlled by the TTP (Pakistani Taliban). In March 2008, a Taliban commander by the name of Maulvi Iqbal and his men were killed during skirmishes in Paktika Afghanistan with Afghan forces. It was later discovered they were Punjabis who were associated with Maulvi Nazir, who is the leader of one of the Pro Pakistani Taliban factions within the TTP. Not only has the Afghan Taliban been connected with the Pan Islamist Punjabis of Pakistan, but even more astonishing is the fact that most of the very influential Pakistani Talib figures such as Qari Hussain, have had some upbringing in Pakistans Punjab Region. Qari Hussain, one of the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, also referred to as the man who trains most of the suicide bombers, was educated in Faisalabad and Jhang region of Pakistans Punjab, he later graduated from the Jamia Farooqia in Karachi Pakistan in 2003, even his cousin Hakeemullah Mahsud, who is currently head of the Baitullah faction of the Pakistani Taliban, keeps very close ties with well-known Pan Islamist Pakistani Punjabi Taliban factions such as the SSP and Lashkar e Tayba. The Punjabi Taliban has a very close relationship with the Pakistani Taliban; even their Pakistani Taliban contingent at Rishkore camp South of Kabul was managed by a Punjabi called Chacha Akhtar. The deputy of Hakeemullah Mahsud, Wali Ur Rehman, was educated at Jamia Islamia Imdadia madrassa in Faisalabad in Pakistans Punjab. Clearly the link with the Talibans ideology and Pakistans Punjab becomes quite evident that the real inspiration for global Jihad and control over Afghanistan through a Pan Islamist cause comes from Pakistans Punjab and not from the Pashtun heartland. The well documented presence of Punjabis within the Pakistani Taliban controlled areas gives you a clear indication of how Punjabis are involved in the current war by the Taliban upon the Afghan government and the Pashtun people as a whole. One needs to look at the number of Punjabi Militants killed by American drones in the Pashtun tribal belt to develop a clear understanding of who the Taliban are. On the 15th November 2011, six Punjabi militants were killed by an American drone in North Waziristan. Two missiles from an American drone hit a rebel compound in the Miram Shah Bazaar. On the 26th July 2011, American air strikes in Afghanistan killed 35 Pakistani Taliban fighters while a dozen or so were injured and were brought to hospitals in North Waziristan. According to the residents of Waziristan, Punjabi Talibs were also amongst the dead. On the 6th June 2011, a drone fired missiles at a Shawal area at 11.15 am, and it was reported that amongst the killed militants several of them were Punjabi Taliban militants. On the 25th February 2010, Qari Zafar, the leader of the Punjabi Taliban was killed by an American drone attack, in the Dandi Darpakhel area of North Waziristan. It was also reported that members of the Punjabi Taliban were also killed during the attack. Qari Zafar headed the Badar Mansoor Organisation that consisted mainly of Punjabis. Qari Zafar was reported to have been seen on video sat next to Hakeemullah Mahsud and Wali Ur Rehman. The Pakistan Taliban confirmed on 3rd March 2010, that Qari Zafar the leader of the Punjabi Taliban was killed by an American drone. Taliban described him as a Martyr and stated they will avenge his killing. On December 2009, an American drone attacked what appeared to be a compound in North Waziristan that killed eight Punjabi Talibs. On the 22 December 2008, an American drone fired missiles on two vehicles in South Waziristan, in two villages; one of the vehicles was attacked at Ghwakhwa near Wana which killed three Punjabi Talibs, while the other attack was on a vehicle in Azam Warsak that killed two Punjabi Talibs. From the figures of Punjabi Talibs eliminated by American drones in the Pashtun tribal belt, goes to show that the association with Taliban and Pashtun Nationalism by Pakistani political figures or writers is flawed and unfounded. The author feels, a sincere Pashtun Nationalist would never associate him/herself with a movement that has large numbers of one of the most extreme pan Islamist Punjabis that aim to turn the Pashtun land into another province of the Islamic republic of Pakistan. Pashtun Nationalists do not kidnap young boys and indoctrinate them with backward Arab folklore to go and blow themselves up and murder innocent Pashtuns in the process for promised beauties in the other life by child killers. These deluded claims are dangerous, and counterproductive, but with hidden motives. The reality is there to see, the Taliban not only kill Pashtuns especially those who are Nationalists but they also target the shrines of well-known Pashtun poets such as Hamza Shinwari also referred to as Hamza Baba. Pashtun Nationalism does not resort to Punjabis or Madrasahs in Pakistan for guidance or dictation on how our identity should be. 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