Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A Taliban Rule Book

The Pakistan led military offensive to clear the Swat Valley in Northern Pakistn has led to a surprising discovery.

A Taliban Rule book of code of conduct.

Both the US and Afghan military officials dismissed the document as propaganda, calling it hypocritical.

This is a how-to guide as to what is acceptable and what is not. For instance: “A brave son of Islam should not be used for lower and useless targets.” What does this mean? Crudely, kill soldiers and other “high value” targets and avoid civilian casualties.

It also says "all mujahideen must do their best to avoid civilian deaths and injuries and damage to civilian property." And it says that mujahideen "should refrain" from disfiguring of people, such as the severing of ears, nose and lips.

"Mujahideen must be well behaved, and treat the people properly, in order to get closer to the hearts of civilian Muslims," the code said.

There is to be a reduction in suicide bombings, again to avoid killing civilians; Taliban fighters are not allowed to discriminate against people based on tribal roots, language or where people are from.

This code also reinforces a strict hierarchy: only provincial commanders can agree to prisoner exchanges and prisoners must not be released or exchanged for money.

Only Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, or one of his deputies, can give the order to execute NATO soldiers, senior Afghan army officers or government officials.

And so it goes on. You get the meaning. This code of conduct is to show that the Taliban is a disciplined force, instead of a brutal force, one fighting for the people.

This isn’t new of course: the Taliban has issued similar codes in the past. What is interesting is that this new one is being issued at this time.

Now, most of this is aimed at Afghanistan — but it applies equally to Taliban in Pakistan. Indeed the booklet was produced and released from Pakistan.

So why..........what is it about, personally the release of this book is an attempt to reach out to the so-called “good Taliban” — the militants they can work And this book apparent discovery comes as Afghanistan heads to a new presidential election in a couple of weeks time.

An attempt to reach out, an attempt to say hey we know you are not all bad. Sadly too many hardliners in that group to ever make a ploy like this work.

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