The Global Aspirations of Tehrik-i-Taliban

BY Herschel Smith
14 years, 2 months ago

The broad strokes of the picture were painted for us by Nicholas Schmidle in Next-Gen Taliban.  Leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, told us of some of his concrete plans for the future.

“We want to eradicate Britain and America, and to shatter the arrogance and tyranny of the infidels. We pray that Allah will enable us to destroy the White House, New York, and London.”

This theme was reiterated by Ayman al-Zawahiri, as he addressed questions via the internet from international members – or presumed members – of al Qaeda.  As we summarized in Why is there Jihad?

Nationalism is evil and out of accord with the global aspirations of al Qaeda.  Nation-states are not just not helpful, or even a necessary evil.  They are quite literally an obstacle to jihad, not because they share the loyalties of jihadists, but rather, because they fundamentally don’t acquiesce to the vision of world conquest in the name of Islam and the forcible implementation of Sharia law.  What we see as a transnational insurgency is to the jihadists simply a world wide struggle.  They don’t recognize nation-states as legitimate.

Now with the “peace accord” between Mehsud and Pakistan, Baitullah has said that he intends to send fighters to Afghanistan to assist in the insurgency.  It was merely a matter of time before Pakistan helped to implement his broader plan.  His brand of Islam doesn’t recognize borders.  “Islam does not recognize boundaries”… “There can be no deal with the United States.”

More to the point, Syed Saleem Shahzad gives us a glimpse into the evolution of the Pakistan Taliban from their relatively humble beginnings to becoming an international threat.

He has been cultivated by al-Qaeda and is now part of a nexus headed by Takfiris (those militantly intolerant of “infidels”) belonging to al-Qaeda and a group of former Pakistani jihadis who cut their teeth in Kashmir under Baitullah.

Baitullah sees a very broad role for himself and for his comrades. They do not want simply to be members of a local resistance movement. They are riding the global ideological bandwagon of al-Qaeda and envisage a complicated strategy to win a war against the West.

Regardless of whether the Taliban are engaged by the U.S. within Pakistan proper, as we discussed in Conversation with a Jihadi, the surest way to put pressure on the Taliban is to begin the pressure in Afghanistan.  The Marines have made a very good start.

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You are currently reading "The Global Aspirations of Tehrik-i-Taliban", entry #1129 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Pakistan,Tehrik-i-Taliban and was published June 3rd, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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