Pakistan’s largest city is being attacked by a different kind of Taliban

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Marco Werman: Like Mir, Pakistani journalist Ali K. Chishti has also been threatened for his reporting. Ali K. Chishti: I was kidnapped in Pakistan. Werman: Chishti is based in Karachi and over the last few days he's watched in horror as Taliban militants attacked the airport there twice. Chishti: The biggest threat right now is the Pakistani Taliban. Werman: The airport attacks came as peace talks between the Pakistani government and the Taliban have broken down. So, I asked Chishti to explain just why security is collapsing in his country right now. Chishti: Why is security collapsing? We are a poor country. We have shortened resources. There's a lot of internally displaced people who are coming in and the Taliban are actually part of these people. They are actually coming into urban areas and as soon as Pakistan goes after the militants in one part of the country, they're retaliating in the urban areas and that's what happening. Werman: Pakistan has longed voiced concern about the porous borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan. How could the Pakistani government in Islamabad allow places like Waziristan to just fester for so long? Chishti: We've all been asking the same question. Unfortunately, Pakistan has used this area to launch attacks in Afghanistan against Soviets, so that's why they kept this area as a gray area historically. But I think there's a lot of realization within Pakistan, especially among the politicians. They wanted to actually have elections and start police stations in that area, but there are apparently a lot of people who are very dangerous in that region. Could you imagine - about 50,000 Pakistanis have been killed. Werman: And a very intense dose of it in the last several days in Karachi. How does that effect daily life in a city like that? Are people just really jumpy and agitated right now? Chishti: I think Karachi is a special case because it's the world's biggest, Muslim city to which it's ruled by a secular party, MQM. It has its ethnic issues, but apparently Karachi has reacted very strongly. I think there have been some discussions today in supporting the military to go and fight against the Taliban. I think that Pakistan as a nation has realized that militant Islam, or the tribal Islam, which we call it, which is somehow sponsored by the ideology by Al-Qaeda, is the biggest national security threat to Pakistan itself, which is a huge change. Werman: I'd love to hear your thoughts on how the US figures into all of this. The United States is wrapping up a war in Afghanistan. Obviously it can't take it's eye off the Taliban ball though. So with these attacks on the rise, and apparently with impunity, where does this leave the US in terms of leaving some sense of security in this region? Chishti: I think the Americans and the Pakistanis, for the first time after long years of discrediting each other, stand on one line. We need to distinguish between the Pakistani Taliban, which is totally a B-team of Al-Qaeda, and the Afghan Talibans. The Americans and the Pakistanis have somehow agreed that the Afghan Taliban have to be given a stake in Afghanistan. As compared to the Pakistani Taliban, which are actually beheading people, they're subhumans. They've got hundreds of suicide bombers. These are people who we have actually tried talking to and every time we talk, the talk fails. Werman: I think that's where a lot of Americans get confused. You're calling Taliban "subhuman" and there's just been this deal between the United States and the Taliban to release Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for 5 Afghan Taliban leaders. They're supposed to be "okay" guys and they'll be in Qatar for a year. So what's the deal with the Taliban? Chishti: I'm not calling the Afghan Taliban subhumans, to start with. Werman: So you're distinguishing between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban? Chishti: Yes, because the Pakistani Taliban have been beheading kids, killing soldiers. As compared to Afghan Taliban, who are actually trying to negotiate with Americans. The Americans and the Afghan Taliban are actually on the same page on a lot of other issues. What you see in Qatar right now is actually a rational discussion between two nations for the future of Afghanistan. The biggest national security threat right now to the Americans, to the Pakistanis and to even Afghanistan are the Pakistani Taliban. Werman: That was investigative journalist Ali K. Chishti speaking with us from Karachi, Pakistan.