From the Editor-in-Chief: Terrorism must be defeated

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
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News of the arrest of Salah Abdeslam in Brussels on Friday certainly augurs well for the global campaign against terrorism. A leading suspect in the terrorist attack which led to the death of 130 people in Paris last November, Abdeslam has a lot to answer for, if he can be made to answer. The difficulty with diehard bigots of his kind is that they are often driven by a madness that tests the frontiers of psychology, to a point where they either commit suicide or stay doggedly silent. The first point here is that Abdeslam is no more in a position to kill himself now that he has been captured after a gunfight and is being interrogated. It is the second point which now matters and that is the need to make him talk. In this regard, the sooner he is extradited to France from Belgium the better it will be for everyone.


A most encouraging aspect of the Brussels operation, in which a few other terror suspects have reportedly been captured as well, is that Salah Abdeslam has been taken alive. On earlier occasions, a siege by police and other security people in Europe invariably led to the death of terrorists in their hideouts. Opportunities were thus lost for the authorities, either in Paris or Brussels, to probe deeper the links of the men to such international terror outfits as the so-called Islamic State. This time matters appear rather different. It should now be for the French authorities as well as governments in other countries to inquire into the wide terror network which the so-called ISIS has built up for itself in these past couple of years.


It is interesting as well as encouraging that of late some documents supposedly including the names and details of individuals who joined ISIS have come into the hands of western intelligence. Despite the fact that some commentators have chosen to be dismissive about these documents as being dated, there is today a good opportunity here to identify and locate those who are today part of the terror network and through such identification and location help destroy their network. We might note here the efficacy of  the relentless airstrikes the Russian government undertook in recent months against ISIS in Syria. The strikes have clearly had the terrorists scatter and scramble for survival. It is, however, necessary to ensure that the outfit does not spread out elsewhere and even if it does, the international community will be ready to swat it down. The world has surely been cheered by the fact that the United States has now officially accused ISIS of engaging in genocide against Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims. That is again a positive move and should now be taken seriously by all countries where ISIS or its surrogates have made their entry and have been causing distress to local populations.


The capture of Salah Abdeslam should not lead to a laidback attitude, though. The vast terror network around the world will surely not be destroyed early or easily. It will take time and comprehensive, large-scale, well-devised global cooperation to neutralize it. There are, besides ISIS, such terror bodies as al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jaish-e-Mohammad, al-Shabab and Boko Haram.


Terrorism must be defeated. It is a task which can only be done through carefully thought out global measures.

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