KARACHI: This is with reference to your editorial on the Bajaur bombing in which a female suicide bomber attacked a World Food Programme distribution centre in the agency’s headquarter.
Once an exclusive male preserve, the Tehreek-i-Taliban seems to be opening its ranks to women. This is perhaps the first proven case of a woman being used as a suicide bomber by them, and its impact could be ominous, not least because of the conservative nature of society where most of the attacks take place.
In Turkey, from 1996-99, at least nine suicide attacks were carried out by women. In the case of the Tamil Tigers, female suicide bombers were widely used, including one in the assassination of then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. More recently, al Qaeda has been using female suicide bombers in Iraq.
If the trend of using women as suicide bombers picks up in Pakistan, it will pose a new challenge for the police and security forces because women, especially those wearing burqas, will become a problem. In conversative Muslim societies, only women can search women and so often only men are stopped for checking. This is something the terrorists will try and exploit.
Sqn-Ldr (retd) S Ausaf Husain
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2010.
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