NIGHTWATCH: Sanctioning the Pakistani Training Schools for Suicide Terrorists

09 Terrorism

US-Pakistan: The US Treasury on Tuesday set economic sanctions on a Pakistan Islamic school it branded a ‘terrorist training center’ supporting al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Treasury said the Ganj madrassah in Peshawar was being used as a training and recruiting base by two militant groups, as well as the radical Lashkar-e-Taiba blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

Special comment: NightWatch has observed during the last 12 years that anti-terrorist initiatives have seldom targeted recruitment and indoctrination of youth in the processes of terrorism. The main thrust has been on decapitation, which is never a permanent solution to terrorism, and on total destruction of terrorist groups which is always impossible.

Attacks on the reproductive systems of Islamic terrorism require pressure on madrassahs and specific rabble-rousing imams in order to dissuade Muslim kids from embracing violent jihad. The reproductive subsystems of a terrorist organization are always poorly protected and, thus, vulnerable to disruption at low cost. This self-evident truth seems to have been lost on Western counter-terror targeteers and analysts.

Numerous attacks in Afghanistan, for example, have been executed with the assistance and resources of jihadis trained at madrassahs in Pakistan. A madrassah in Multan, Pakistan, for years has maintained connections with several madrassahs in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, for the purpose of supplying suicide bombers and violent jihadis, according to published Afghan police interrogation reports. Suicide bombings in Afghanistan tend to be an international enterprise, invariably rooted in Pakistan.

Little attention has been paid to disrupting the reproductive/recruitment building blocks of violent jihadism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Madrassahs in the heart of Pakistan are at least as anti-American as those in Peshawar, but receive little attention. Those in Peshawar always have links to the more prosperous mosque communities in eastern Pakistan. Sanctions on a madrassah in Peshawar are a good start , but only a start.

Neutering a living system by disrupting its ability to regenerate and to reproduce is a permanent solution to an infection, such as terrorism. Bravo for the US Treasury Department; it needs to do more quickly.