The bodies of four employees, who were abducted last Wednesday in the Western province of Farah of a non-governmental de-mining organization, have been found. These employees working for a non-governmental de-mining organization, De-mining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA), were abducted by Taliban along with at least 26 other colleagues while being transported to the work site. Other staffs of the de-mining organization were set free with a warning not to work for the de-mining organization. According to an official of the de-mining agency, the workers killed include a paramedic and a team leader of the agency.
This gruesome yet again lays bare the draconian nature of Taliban and the barbaric means they are ready to resort to in order to push their nefarious agendas. The provincial authorities say that the Taliban's aim of killing the de-miners has been to drive away the de-mining agency from that district and surrounding regions since Taliban, as of late, have been planting mines in the area. What is interesting is while it is clear that it is the Taliban who are behind these gruesome killings, as they have a widespread presence in Farah Province, this time, unlike before, they have refused to accept responsibility for the killings. You can be sure that some Taliban commander-cum-mullah shouted Taqiyyah Taqiyyah before their spokesperson moved to accept responsibility for the killings.
Taqiyyah is an Islamic tenet whereby the faithful are allowed to practice a strategic deception, hide the true intentions and actions when confronted with a larger enemy or to promote the greater good of the Islamic Ummah i.e. the community. Adherents to the two major branches of Islam, Sunnis as well as Shiites, theoretically and in their religious theology have the Taqiyyah sanctioned as an approved strategy to resort to. This is how the Taliban commanders who are invariably former or practicing mullahs allow themselves to hide what they do and their real intentions in the largest good of their cause and the supposed good of the people and Islamic Ummah i.e. community that they supposedly fight on their behalf. In the current war against what they see as the "infidel" Americans, Taliban commanders and leaders know the strategic value of Taqiyyah and routinely practice it.
The targeting of a de-mining agency and killing of a few innocent land-mine clearers cannot have any moral or religious justification. Whether in religious and theological texts or even in the tradition of the wars fought by the Prophet - PBUH - and his successors, one can find no instance of targeting people who are no party to the war. It is clear that the Taliban, more than believing in a religion they claim they adhere to, believe more in their criminal/psychopathic agenda.
The killing of the de-miners by the Taliban, if anything, also shows another dark dimension of the Taliban movement. It is Taliban's willingness to commit any level of violence and even targeting and killing innocent people such as aid workers and NGO staff if the act helps to promote their agenda, serve as a front-page Public Relations act or just sow fear and despair among the general people.
The Taliban, in heir overflowing zeal to push their agenda, which is further reinforced by an extremely primitive and fanatical interpretation of religion, do not think twice before killing innocent aid workers, de-mining workers and other innocent people who have nothing to do with the ongoing war. We have been witness to numerous cases of Taliban killing aid workers, blowing up offices of aid agencies and construction companies, and targeting the convoys of food and aid that were on the way to some of the poorest people of this country.
In a Talibani mindset, killing the innocent is as permissible as killing an "infidel" enemy as long as it serves to promote their agenda. A prominent example is the Taliban/Haqqani group assassin, ZarAjam, who attacked the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad. He, according to his own statement in front of TV cameras, "enjoyed" killing people. The case of this person is the case of almost all Taliban militants and their affiliates. The enjoyment they derive from killing another human being works to fulfill their criminally-driven psychosis while being super-charged by a dose of religion and in many cases, the promises of tens of virgins in Heaven waiting for them the moment they get killed. Is it not funny that for many of the Taliban fighters and followers, fighting their "infidel" enemies has been reduced to a dream of womanizing in Heaven?
Indeed it is; since the tale of Taliban's holy war is a sorry tale of societal and tradition dogma mixed with religious dogma and on top of that a heavy dose of criminality and outright opportunism. Anyone who thinks that Taliban are going to stop short of implementing total Sharia law across the land they hold is holding onto a futile pipedream.
The killing of the innocent de-mining workers by the Taliban also points to Taliban's increasing capacity and willingness to escalate the war in what they see as a new phase of the ten-year old war and in the process unleashing more violence and perpetrate more killings. As the drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan shifts into gear and the international community and the government in Kabul shout in concert negotiation and talks, the Taliban have already escalated their campaign of war, bombings and killings.
Targeting the de-mining workers and even other innocent daily-wage laborers by the Taliban clearly exhibit their resolve to push full-steam ahead and sow seeds of fear and despair in the people of Afghanistan, the government and international community alike. On the other hand, it should be the general people, the government and international community's steel resolve not to buckle under the pressure exerted by the Taliban and stay true to their beliefs and ideals.
There are clear indications that the war against the Taliban and other militant groups will go on for many more years even if the negotiation process can succeed in peeling away sections of the Taliban from the larger organization. Only staying the course against the Taliban and other militants can ensure an eventual victory.