Lakki Marwat bombing

The Taliban are continuing their campaign of indiscriminate violence.


Editorial September 07, 2010

With the security apparatus of the state, including the military and the police, occupied in rescuing and providing relief work to flood victims, the Taliban are continuing their campaign of indiscriminate violence. A suicide bomb attack at a police station in Lakki Marwat on September 6 killed 19 people, including, most tragically, four schoolchildren.  The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was in reprisal for the use of lashkars in the fight against militancy. The rationale given for the attack is telling since the formation and use of lashkars has been one of the few successes in the war against the Taliban. Although some lashkars have been accused of carrying out revenge killings against  rivals in disputes over land, they are also one of the few manifestations of local opinion turning against the Taliban and of standing up to the militants. Of course, there is the whole issue of several lashkar leaders accusing the government or the military of not giving them the requisite support to fight the Taliban.

The local police have said that the attack in Lakki Marwat was the result of a raid by law-enforcement agencies on one of the suicide attacker masterminds. If that is the case, then indeed more such raids need to be made targeting those who send the suicide attackers. Their financing networks needs to be unearthed as do their handlers and local sympathisers. This means much better intelligence-gathering and perhaps penetration by agents of their networks, just like what we have happen in, say, Israel, where the response to suicide attacks was to go after those who were ordering and financing them. Having said all this, it needs to be understood that because the terrorists are now actively going after so-called ‘soft’ targets, there is only so much security that can be provided to them. For instance, it may simply not be possible to guard each and every school or shopping centre, and to that extent this violence is going to continue in the short-term. Of course, the whole idea should be that in the medium and longer term, the militants should be busted and their capability to launch such attacks be substantially reduced.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2010.

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