Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Toolkit For Ashura

Kids, here's what you need to kill some Shias:
Six-kilogrammes of C-4 explosive (right), a suicide bomb blast jacket, three home-made bombs, six detonators, 15-metres of detonating wire, 500-grammes of sodium cyanide, frequency generator used for a remote control, two TT pistols, two kilogrammes of ball bearings, one kilogramme of nails and hand grenades were seized from their possession.

I'd like to take this opportunity to commend our much-maligned police and security forces for making this catch when they did. I can only imagine what damage they would have done had they been allowed to succeed. By all accounts, security is tight throughout the country for Ashura, including but not limited to Karachi, Rawalpindi and Quetta. While our thoughts go out to those who lost their lives in the suicide attack in Peshawar a couple of days ago, we have to concede that stopping suicide attacks is nigh-on-impossible. For instance, in the attack two days ago, the suicide bomber was actually stopped by security personnel before he entered the imambaragh (for our Western readers, that's a mosque for Shias). As soon as the attacker realized he couldn't get in, he blew himself up. What this episode reflects is the sheer impossibility of deterring would-be suicide bombers. The way to stop them is before they put their jackets on - in other words, intelligence and investigation has to be good enough to reach them before the plan is put in execution. Just like it was today, which is why the police deserve our heartiest congratulations.

Let's hope tomorrow goes off relatively peacefully.

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