Brainwashing: Fighting the Taliban and fools’ paradise

Published: April 12, 2011
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Fragile young minds are turned into living bombs, and are well-trained before launching them.

According to different sources, Umar Fidai, the would-be Sakhi Sarwar suicide bomber, was studying in eighth grade when he was approached by the “merchants of death” – the Tehrik-i-Taliban.

He was systematically brainwashed to “find the path to paradise, instead of wasting life on worldly affairs”. Fidai was transferred to training camps in North Waziristan, and trained along with 350 bombers, including nationals from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan along with Pakistanis.

Some reports said Fidai lost his father in an attack in Karachi. Others said he was told that he would be attacking a target in Afghanistan, but the destination was changed at the last minute.

With this much detail and information, it’s time to analyse and take action.

The mind of a bomber

I have been to forums where the debate sought the real driving force behind the suicide bomber embarking on his evil mission. I was surprised that an overwhelming conclusion pointed toward money and benefits being termed as the bribe for young boys launching these missions. No doubt money – mostly from our external well wishers – keeps this bloody trade rolling, but it isn’t the fuel for the bomber.

As proved in this case, the masterminds are on the hunt for vulnerable boys to brainwash them about jihad and paradise.

The fragile young minds are turned into living bombs, and are well-trained before launching them. Being a developing country, there is no shortage of young bodies dejected from their social and future orientation. Once spotted, it takes a small effort from evil but genius masterminds to brainwash them and turn them against humanity.

Mission suicide

The “nurseries of deaths” operating in the tribal belt close to the Afghan border is where the bombers are trained. They are run by a well-organised team which feeds them with this propaganda and gives them the vision of thinking on a single but deadly track.

During the operation in South Waziristan, I was shocked to see documentary evidence of one of these facilities. The walls were painted with different images and ayats glorifying suicide bombers, along with a vision of paradise awaiting them after the bombing. They are given a dose of false glory, and once they have acquired the diploma of death, they are nothing less than a wandering torpedo awaiting a target.

The most troublesome are their handlers, men who help them slip to the target with explosives. We see the result on television – the massacre of innocent people.

Metal detectors won’t save you

Metal detectors, security gates etcetera are just eye wash. The war against suicide bombers is lost when emphasis is paid to these gadgets instead of the nurseries producing them. Once the bomber has started his journey, he will cause destruction wherever he strikes, regardless of security procedures.

So instead of fortifying our walls and fencing every entry, the effort must be inserted in locating these training safe havens and destroying them along with their deadly arsenal of handlers and bombers.

Fix textbooks and madrassas

Bombers are brainwashed and fed with the idea of committing a sin in the guise of a noble duty. To combat this, text books must be edited to include topics against terrorism and suicide bombing. A clear version must be put forward for young minds before being hijacked by the handlers psychologically.

The same exercise must be extended to madrassas around Pakistan. A nation-wide campaign must be launched through the media, exposing this evil practice. When approached, the young boys must have some idea about what the “merchant of death” is feeding him/ her.

Policy makers must take a tough stance against the Taliban. Whether this is in the form of support to the ISAF or American forces is irrelevant. It’s all about the realisation that we have had enough.

Abdul Rauf Hashmi

Lt Col (R) Abdul Rauf Hashmi

A retired army official who is currently the chief executive officer of Accurate Security Systems.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.