Counter-Terrorism: The Pakistani Connection

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October 9, 2006: Afghan police say they have recently arrested 17 suicide bombers, rounding them up in three different provinces. Only one of them was Afghan. In the last two years, most of the suicide bombers have been Pakistani or Chechen. Interrogation revealed that the 17 recently rounded up had been trained at two camps in Pakistan. One camp was outside Peshawar, the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province (where most of the pro-Taliban tribes live), the other was nearby in the semiautonomous North Waziristan tribal region (where most al Qaeda activity has been detected of late). Pakistani officials complained that these arrests should not have been publicized, and could we please sit down and talk about all this.
The Afghans blame the upsurge in suicide bombing attacks on Pakistan, which they say is tolerating the recruiting and training of suicide bombers. In the last two years, there have been 90 suicide attacks in Afghanistan, killing 160 civilians, and wounding over 500. Some 80 percent of these attacks have occurred in the last seven months. While the Afghans have been complaining, for nearly two years, to the Pakistanis about the terrorist recruiting and training taking place in Pakistan, the situation just continues to get worse. Dozens of suicide bombers have been captured, some of them on the way to carry out their attacks. Interrogations of those suicide bombers always reveals the same story. These guys usually attended a religious school run by Islamic conservatives (often of the Saudi Wahabi form of Islam), who preached hatred of non-Moslems, and Moslems who did not share an appreciation for a conservative form of Islam. The bombers were often infuriated by tales of women in Afghanistan not dressing properly (showing hair, faces, ankles and so on), or being educated in schools that taught other subjects (like reading and writing) than just religion. Taliban terrorists have destroyed 184 schools so far this year, compared to 145 for all of last year. Pakistan blames it all on Afghanistan, insisting that the Pakistani tribal areas are under control. But Pakistan has only gone through the motions of controlling religious schools that teach hatred, and have only shut down a few terrorist training camps.

 


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