From the Editor-in-Chief: The struggle against militancy must go on

Enayetullah Khan
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
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These are worrying signs for all of us. Last Friday’s abortive attack on the temporary base of the Rapid Action Battalion in Ashkona on the outskirts of the city left citizens wondering about the persistent threat to security from militant groups. The fact that the attacker blew himself up or was blown up in his attempt to escape capture does not allay our fears that there are organized groups of people out to destabilize society through creating chaos around it. One cannot quite rest easy when the so-called Islamic State steps forward, as it has done in the Ashkona incident, to claim the attack was sanctioned by it and the dead man was one of its foot soldiers.

 

As the country was trying to get over the shock of the Ashkona incident, another suicide bomber was spotted near a RAB check-post in Khilgaon in the capital. These two incidents, on Friday and Saturday, are eerily revealing of two facts. The first is that for the first time since the Holey Artisan and Sholakia incidents of last July, following which security was stepped up and had so far been working rather well, we have once more the spectre of religious terrorism hanging over us. In simple terms, the purveyors of terrorism are yet at work and will go to any lengths to create civil disorder in the country. The second fact emerging from the Ashkona and Khilgaon incidents points clearly to the targeting of security forces by these militant networks. This is a clear escalation on the part of these groups.

 

What must now be done is for the government to move speedily into the job of increasing security measures all across the country through a deployment of forces where it matters. What has been happening in Sitakunda is, like Ashkona and Khilgaon, reflective of the dangers we face as a nation from these extremists. We cannot say and neither can the authorities that the radical Islamist threat has been snuffed out.

 

In order to tackle them and defeat them in their sinister mission, we need to be much more alert to the threats they pose to our society. In these past many months, the nation’s security forces have demonstrated a degree of performance in tackling terrorism that cannot but be appreciated. We expect that performance to go up several notches higher now that we know that the terrorists continue to pose a security threat.

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