Commentary: Taliban's influence in Pakistan a cause for alarm

This editorial appeared in The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

Try this thought on for size: Osama bin Laden with thermonuclear weapons.

That may exaggerate the potential of what's happening in Pakistan right now, but perhaps not by much.

The fanatical Taliban – Osama's patrons in Afghanistan – are tightening their grip on large sections of Pakistan. Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver it. The idea of a nuclear-armed Taliban should frighten every sane person on earth.

That prospect has begun looking all too possible in the last few weeks. The Pakistani government – apparently taking its cue from Neville Chamberlain – has decided to "make peace" with the county's Taliban insurgency by turning over the immense Swat Valley to its tender mercies. The Taliban has since been imposing its vicious, totalitarian version of Islamic law on everyone in sight.

Women are already being flogged in public for the faintest acts of independence. It's only a matter of time before a religious reign of terror begins. The Taliban's response to female education includes bombing the schools and throwing acid into the face of girls. Its leaders don't debate whether gays should marry or have civil unions; they debate whether to stone them to death or bury them alive.

Predictably, the Taliban's ambitions haven't stopped at the valley's borders. Emboldened by the government's softness, Talibani are infiltrating adjoining areas; some now are reportedly operating less than 100 miles from Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

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