Malala Yousafzai – update on her condition – and then some

There are some headlines that catch our interest for a few seconds, and then we skim through the stories, while others strike a nerve.  You can already guess which category the story of Malala Yousafzai fall into.   Through my Twitterfeed @political_woman, I found some updates that I’m sharing with you.  It appears she is has moved from critical to satisfactory condition with 90% brain function.  The Pakistani government is taking her shooting very seriously, as noted in an earlier post with a reward the equivalent of $100,000 for information leading to her shooters.  The bright spot, as noted in the article is this:

In Karachi, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq said a school named after Malala would be upgraded to higher secondary level to honour the teenager’s dream of education for all girls. He made the announcement when he joined students at the school to pray for Malala.

However, for many like Malala, and quite frankly, all of Pakistan and the entire region, the problem won’t be eradicated until the Taliban is.  Upset by the news coverage, the Taliban chief is instructing his followers to target the media and personalities for personal attack, and that Yousafzai’s own attack was plotted mob-hit style.

After reading about the Taliban’s attack on Ms. Yousafzai, I remembered reading an article about the US State Dept. attempting to negotiate with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan as we withdraw our troops.  The point being, we’re negotiating with an enemy, that has harbored 9/11 masterminds, has been responsible for the terror and repression of thousands of civilians, the deaths of thousands of civilians, US and NATO service members, that follows a belief system that belongs in the stone-age, and we in the West, wonder why we have Malala Yousafzais.  And so we negotiate.

The objectives of the United States mirror those of the international community more broadly: The Taliban should pursue their objectives through political rather than military means, they should accept the Afghan constitution, and they should renounce al Qaeda. For their part, the Taliban demand that all foreign troops leave Afghanistan, that all Taliban prisoners be released, and that the international community recognize the legitimacy of their movement and lift the U.N. sanctions first imposed on them in 1999.

As for the other key players, whose explicit or tacit agreement will be essential to the success of any agreement, the Afghan government wants a political process under its direction that will allow a continued share of power for those who hold it now. The Pakistani government wants to have a seat at the table, or at least full sight of any negotiations, so it can continue to promote its interests in having a government in Kabul that it can influence, or at the very least one that is not susceptible to the influence of India. Islamabad also wants a clearer understanding of what the U.S. sees as the end game in Afghanistan. Finally, Qatar wants to play a supporting role without being caught in the middle if something goes wrong.

You have read the article to fully comprehend the various factions within the Taliban, how precarious the entire Afghanistan negotiations are, why we’re in a no-win situation.  Like Vietnam, the US wants to honor its  dead and wounded, by not leaving a cause undone that so many gave their lives for, and yet we are also conscious of the living, whom we want to ensure stay that way.

Having lived abroad for a number of years, working in a former communist country and the Middle East, I’ve always been aghast at the way the US seems to stumble and bumble its way into situations and cultures that it knows little to nothing about.  Then, the situations unfold into crises that cost the lives of Americans and tear families emotionally apart.  Will we ever learn.  If North Africa is the latest example, the answer is, no.  And Malala Yousafzais are shot and Americans die.

Cross-posted at

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