Husain Haqqani is the former Ambassador of Pakistan to Sri Lanka (1992–1993) and the United States (2008–2011). He is currently Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute and co-edits the journal ‘Current Trends in Islamist Ideology’ published by Hudson Institute’s Center for Islam, Democracy and Future of the Muslim World. Ambassador Haqqani is also Director of the Center of International Relations, and Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University.
Media & Appearances
American foreign policy is not making enough of an effort to contain Islamist extremism, and the consequences are likely to roil not only Afghanistan and Pakistan but, eventually, the wider region and beyond.
In 1998, Osama bin Laden described U.S. soldiers as “paper tigers” and predicted that U.S. aversion to war would lead to the success of his ideology. “We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier,” bin Laden said in an interview. “He is ready to wage cold wars but unprepared to fight hot wars. . . . This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions. . . . This was then repeated in Somalia.”
Unfortunately, bin Laden’s followers and other extremists can add Afghanistan to that list. Al-Qaeda’s allies, the Taliban, have been neither decisively defeated nor forced to the negotiating table. The emergence of democratic governments in the greater Middle East has offered the United States opportunities to help its ideological allies confront the Islamist narrative of victimhood and revenge.
The targeted attack on Malala Yusufzai should open the eyes of all those who have been looking for ways to avoid fighting these barbarians.
This young girl is the latest casualty in a clash of contrasting visions. Others, notably former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, have been killed for advocating enlightenment against the obscurantism represented by the Taliban and its Islamist allies.
The Taliban’s claim that Malala was targeted because she “was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas” is a red herring, aimed at framing the issue in terms of Islam versus the West. Unfortunately, several Westerners fall for the ruse, given their desire to avoid military conflict in a far-off region. Many of Pakistan’s leaders have acted as apologists for the Taliban as part of their political strategies, causing even more confusion about the Taliban’s motives.
The Taliban represents an ideology based on bigotry, misogyny and hate.
Muslims have good reason to be angry—and it’s not a sophomoric movie trailer on youtube.
Thousands of cellphone subscribers in Pakistan received an anonymous text message recently announcing a miracle: an earthquake on Tuesday, Sept. 18, had destroyed the Washington, D.C. movie theater that was exhibiting Innocence of Muslims, the controversial film that has triggered violent protests in several Muslim countries. An email version of the text message even included a picture of a mangled structure. Allah, the texter claimed, had shown His anger against the movie’s insult to Islam and Prophet Muhammad, and with Him on their side the faithful should not be afraid to vent their anger against the West, which belittles Islam and abuses Islam’s prophet.
There was, of course, no earthquake in Washington, and no movie theater had been destroyed. In fact, the movie has never made its way beyond YouTube. But for several days, the fabricated text message and email made the rounds, forwarded and reforwarded around Pakistan and in some cases to Pakistanis living in the diaspora.
The scary decline of relations between the United States and Pakistan – the world’s most dangerous nuclear-armed country – is illustrated by the perilous plight of one man.