July 03, 2005

Pakistani Militants

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the new wave of suicide bombers causing chaos in Pakistan:
"This is a new breed [of militants], as suicide bombings are a post 9/11 phenomenon here," says Fateh Mohammad Burfat, head of the Criminology Department at the University of Karachi. The bombers are "unemployed, illiterate, and belong to poor social strata. [They also] perceive the US military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan as hostile acts against the Muslim world.... By suicide attacks, they get a sense of victory in the world and hereafter."
Hm. Seems that Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey were slightly off in their New York Times op-ed from a few weeks ago, when they argued that madrassahs don't produce terrorists. They may not produce the more sophisticated al-Qaeda masterminds who have been attacking the West over the years, or even most of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, but they do seem to be breeding plenty of local extremism in Pakistan, although it's hard to get a sense for how strong the connection is. (Bergen and Pandey, after all, found that only 1 percent of Pakistanis attend these schools; though that's still hundreds of thousands of people!) If there's anything scarier than the prospect of the Pakistani government collapsing, by the way, I'm not sure what it is.
-- Brad Plumer 5:12 PM || ||