Taliban Stockholm syndrome

December 21, 2014 4:43 AM

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The calculated massacre of schoolchildren by the Taliban in Peshawar began as a hostage situation. But for over ten years now, Pakistanis have been suffering from a psychological hostage syndrome of their own. Our war/their war, enemies within/external hands, foreign militants/home-grown mujahideen – Pakistan’s decade-long conflict remains unresolved because it cannot agree on the source of this blood-thirsty hydra. It has kept us captive for so long now that there are signs that we are suffering a kind of Taliban Stockholm syndrome (a psychological condition where the hostage forms a bond with the captor).

The levels of ambiguity and the multiple identity crises that have defined this conflict is evident in the fact that we still refer to it as the scare-quoted, ‘War on Terror’, despite the fact that it is a war against the Tehreek-e-Taliban – or some factions, at any length. From their name, identiti...

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