Read the first paragraph below, or click here to read the entire essay: Caitlin Murphy – The Taliban and the Crises of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Ziauddin Yousafzai is a man who was born and raised in Pakistan. He is a devout Muslim and takes pride in two things – his family and education. He is responsible for the building and running of multiple schools in the Swat Valley – for both boys and girls. His daughter has won multiple awards in school for her work and speeches. Their nation is not perfect, and that certainly needs reform, but Ziauddin believes that education can solve these problems. His life and the lives of his family and friends move on until one word stops everything – Taliban. Suddenly, radicalization is spread throughout his home. This group who is spilling over from Afghanistan gains a substantial amount of support at the very beginning – but who can blame them? The Pakistani government is corrupt and does nothing for its people. Change is something anyone would want. Besides, to Ziauddin and many other people of Pakistan, the Taliban does not seem like a severe threat at first. They preach a return to more focused practices of the teachings of the Quran. While fear is still there, no one in Pakistan is able to predict what might happen next.
Suddenly, as if overnight, he is forced to watched as schoolhouses are bombed, people are executed in the streets – the Taliban has taken over Swat Valley. He remains adamant about all of his children, including his daughter, receiving education and does what most are too afraid to do – he speaks out publicly against the Taliban. While his efforts are valiant, they prove to be useless as the government does little to rescue his home from the invading extremists. Tensions rise, and the violence escalates until he finds himself on a one-way flight to Birmingham, England to stay with his daughter, Malala, as the entire world reacts in shock that even the Taliban would shoot a fourteen-year-old girl simply for going to school. Situations such as the one told above have almost become the norm within not only Pakistan, but Afghanistan as well. Unfortunately, not as many people are lucky and survive the onslaughts as Malala and her father did. For decades, the Taliban has been rising to power in these two Middle Eastern nations. Their extremist views have gained international attention and condemnation and are also responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens during the War in Afghanistan and their invasion of Pakistan. While they have been around since the Cold War, it seems to most the Taliban has exploded into power and influence, especially during the late 20th century and into the 2000s. When the mountainous geography of both nations and the amount of power and influence the Taliban held over people is explored, it is easy to see how a small militia of a few hundred grew so quickly and became one of the largest terrorist threats in the world.