Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, August 21st, 2017

Mechanisms for Counterinsurgency

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Mechanisms for Counterinsurgency

We have experienced so many escalations within the two last years that we seem to have already reached the summit of Mount Olympus. In any event, when the next wave of terror strikes, we will again be told that it is an escalation. The scourge of terrorism has inflicted indescribable sufferings on us. Terrorism has changed into a global threat that knows no border, nationality or religion and kill people indiscriminately. The tragedies and mercilessness of militant fighters, which make the constant headlines in national and international newspapers, are beyond doubt.
Despite the widespread terrorist acts, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has not reached consensus on a definition of terrorism that would be adhered to by all countries. In turn, differences over the definition have been a major factor in the failure to pass a Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism, which criminalizes all forms of international terrorism. More than 109 definitions have been given over terrorism, but none are agreed upon globally. This seems the first obstacle before combating terrorism.
No wonder, counterterrorism has been debated hotly following the worldwide deadly attacks of terrorist networks, especially with the emergence of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014. Afghanistan is believed to bear the brunt of terrorism in Asia and the Taliban’s spring offensives and ISIL’s attack have been intensified recently killing hundreds of civilians, including women and children.
Recognition of the importance of root causes and counter radicalization strategies are nascent. In Afghanistan, neither negotiation of peace nor military deal have born the desired result. There is no third option. So, do you think that there is no solution to stop violence and bloodshed?
To reduce death toll and mitigate militancy, Afghanistan will have to seek a role model for combating terrorism and change its mechanism. For instance, Israel will be posed a threat by the ISIL group, but it has always thwarted terrorist attacks. So, Israel’s anti-terrorism mechanism will be an effective model for Afghanistan and the region.
Accurate and timely intelligence has always been a central component of Israel’s ability to thwart terrorist attacks. Indeed, intelligence is the mainstay of counterinsurgency. Security agencies manage to thwart terrorist attacks through the intelligence penetration of terrorist organizations by using HUMINT (human intelligence) or COMINT (communications intelligence). If Afghanistan had a strong intelligence apparatus, it could foil many terrorist attacks and would not suffer heavy toll as today.
Moreover, Israeli anti-terrorism mechanism is based on defensive modes of action, such as safety barriers and military checkpoints, as well as offensive ones like infiltrations, preventive arrests, and targeted killings. Afghanistan’s war has been mostly defensive rather than being offensive. Similarly, the Afghan-Pak porous border has deteriorated the security situation in the country. Targeting the terrorists’ influential figures, those who are the brains behind deadly attacks, will also weaken terrorist activities.
The third mechanism is dismantling the terrorists’ economic bases. One of the major financial supports for terrorism is narcotic in Afghanistan. For instance, the Taliban claim to fight for religious reasons, the question is that why they have never ever raised their voice against narcotic, which is forbidden in Islam? It is because they are highly dependent on it. This issue further suggests that the Taliban never care about religious issues and nothing is sacred for them. Don’t you think that feeding on forbidden resources and claiming Jihad are highly paradoxical issues? I wonder what the ministry of counternarcotic is for! The graph of narcotic remains as high as ever and the Taliban gain the bulk of its financial support from it.
Another defensive approach that’s evolving is the monitoring of social networks. The terrorists have access to social networks and sometimes they disclose their plans beforehand. It happened when members of terrorist groups declared their plans on Facebook and their attacks were foiled accordingly.
It should be noted that a country cannot copy all anti-terrorism mechanisms of another country. That is to say, a society should consider the social and political situations. For instance, Israeli’s authorities have made it easier to carry weapons, saying that civilians can respond more quickly when there’s an attack. In Afghanistan, the opposite will be effective. Licensing weapons must be strongly strict in Afghanistan. The easy access to weapons is believed to have increased violence and bloodshed in the country. Afghanistan should do its best to stop smuggling and selling weapons. In short, a country cannot take a model completely out of context.
Finally, It is strongly believed that since we live in “the global village”, without sustained multilateral cooperation to collect intelligence, capture terrorists, disrupt funding, and wage military actions, counterterrorism efforts will take longer and be less effective. Thus, the world will have to join forces to combat terrorism with strong force and individual battle will not be as effective as collective one.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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