In Tank district and in South and Waziristan, several suicide-bombing academies recruit young people and export them to different parts inside and outside the country.
By Musa Khan Jalalzai
Civil war in Afghanistan
brought many misadventures to Pakistani society. The unending war and foreign intervention exacerbated internal religious tensions and increased the flow of arms, suicide bombers, narcotics drugs and money into the country. Unauthorised weapons industries in the FATA region flourished and an illegal arms trade in all provinces of the country continued without the supervision of the state. These are the main reasons why extremism and militancy are getting worse and young people are becoming more radicalised. Bloodshed grows and kidnapping is now at a level that breaks all records.
The disturbance in Pakistan’s two provinces has ramifications for the country’s domestic security. Pakistani society paid a heavy price after backing the Afghan resistance against the former Soviet Union, and continues to witness suicide attacks despite sustained efforts to counter the deadly tactic. After the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the country joined the war on terror and now faces suicide terrorism in both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. The Taliban groups in Pakistan disrupted every reconciliatory effort and infiltrated into southern Punjab as well. They received training from Waziristan and, increasingly, rely on suicide attacks to achieve major political objectives. Their members are willing to die to accomplish their mission and to cause maximum damage to military and civilian targets. Suicide terrorism has been on the upswing in Pakistan since 2004; it is notable that most suicide bombers have been teenagers. They target and destroy mostly primary and secondary schools.
Analysts believe that one of the reasons behind sabotaging schools is to keep children away from modern education. They uphold the agenda of destroying everything in Pakistan through all available means. They use children in their terrorist attacks, seduce young people and invite women for martyrdom missions. Once they are recruited and trained, they are threatened with dire consequences if they refuse to blow themselves up.
In July 2009, the The Washington Times reported that the Taliban were buying children as young as seven years old to use them as suicide bombers in attacks against the police and army targets. “The ongoing price for child bombers has been fixed at $ 7,000 to $ 14,000; the price depends on how quickly the bomber is needed and how close the child is expected to get to the target,” the newspaper reported.
These well-trained bombers are used in mosques, Shia religious places, churches, markets, military installations, police centres, public places, shrines and government offices. These acts of suicide terrorism, whether directed against political leaders, security forces or civilians, have strategic as well as tactical objectives. There are several suicide factories in both Pakistan and Afghanistan that prepare suicide bombers for the purposes of import and export.
The sacrifices of suicide bombers become a form of political theatre in response to the reaction of the audience. Suicide terrorism has emerged as a modern insurgency tactic since the US intervention in Afghanistan and its illegal drone attacks in Pakistan. As in my previous research papers, I emphasised that the factors behind suicide terrorism needed to be addressed because poverty and unemployment are the breeding grounds of terrorism. Terrorist forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan represent no specific ideology, sect or religion; their religion is the killing of innocent people and depends on money laundering, narcotics trafficking, the black market economy and manpower. There are elements in both Pakistan and Afghanistan that are involved in the illegal business of blood and drugs who do not want stability in the country. Their interests are in danger, protected by war and not peace.
Brainwashed Pakistani and Afghani teenagers are being recruited and used by terrorist groups based in Waziristan, FATA and parts of Afghanistan. The induction of young women into the suicide business is another development. In a Russian railway station, a Muslim female suicide bomber killed innocent people. In a recent letter to law enforcement agencies, the home secretary of Punjab province warned about a female suicide bomber wearing a burqa. This is where Pakistan has scored another distinction in the field of suicide terrorism, where suicide bombers can be hired to settle political, commercial and religious disputes.
The business of the import and export of suicide bombers in Pakistan is not a new thing. Once, a police officer in Punjab told me that the business of suicide bombers had recently flourished. In 2008, in the Bhakkar district of southern Punjab, a suicide bomber was purchased and used in a family dispute. In Tank district and in South and North Waziristan, several suicide-bombing academies recruit young people and export them to different parts inside and outside the country.
A Punjabi Taliban member was arrested in Dera Ghazi Khan in April 2011 who confirmed that more than 350 suicide bombers were being trained in the Mir Ali district of North Waziristan. In future, the import and export of suicide bombers can be considered a big security threat and their use by rival states will put in danger international security. Pashtun and Punjabi Taliban are expected to resort to using women bombers.
In an incident, a teenager suicide bomber arrested in Karachi revealed information about Taliban suicide schools for the brainwashing of young men. Taliban teachers deliver lectures on religious issues to brainwash young men to join their ranks and carry out suicide attacks. These terrorists are looking for young boys day and night and turning them into suicide bombers. When they kidnap teenagers from schools, streets or parks, they then come into business with the parents of the kidnapped children.
They pay them three to ten thousand pounds sterling for one child. Recent confirmed reports revealed the recruitment of more than 5,000 to 6,000 young suicide bombers waiting for their turn. Afghanistan has boasted the same gory story of suicide terrorism since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. The Afghan Taliban have also set up several suicide training centres in the north-eastern, western and southern parts of the country. These training centres are now working on a permanent basis. They receive money and other financial assistance from the business communities based in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Long War Journal, in one of its articles, revealed that these terror centres have been established in eight districts of Kunar province. Afghan and Pakistani teenagers who were kidnapped by the Taliban for recruitment purposes reached Karachi and Peshawar to carry out target killings and suicide attacks. A DIG police in Punjab revealed to me the fact that the main source of Taliban terror financing in Punjab is kidnapping, which is now the single largest source of revenue. The ransoms paid tend to run high, ranging from $ 40,000 to $ 50,000.
The writer is author of Britain’s National Security Challenges and Punjabi
Taliban. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org