Italy is taking a lot of heat for the way they pressured the Afghan government to release five captured Taliban, in order to get an Italian journalist released from Taliban captivity last month. In response, the Italians are calling for international guidelines, supervised by the UN, on how to deal with these hostage situations. This is seen as another cynical move by the Italians, who have long been willing to make deals with terrorists, as long as it was in Italys interest.
The recent Italian effort in this area has resulted in two French citizens and at least twelve Afghans being kidnapped. The Afghan government has already said it will not repeat the mistake it made in dealing with the Italians. So the new bunch of captives are in danger of being killed, since the Taliban generally don’t release captives when the ransom demanded is not forthcoming. The Taliban also have their standards.
The recriminations and finger-pointing in Italy has revealed that the government paid a $2 million ransom for another Italian reported kidnapped in Afghanistan last year. That buys a lot of hired guns, and gets a lot of Afghan and NATO troops killed. But the Italians don’t care. The Italians know full well that the best policy is no ransom, no negotiation, and go after the kidnappers. But this is politically unacceptable in Italy, where many leftists are sympathetic to the Taliban, and don’t support using force against them. As the old saying goes, all politics is local.
Parents Take Up Arms Against the Taliban
Terrorists have to be careful that they don’t do something that will enrage, rather than terrify. A recent example of this can be found in Afghanistan, where the Taliban attempt, to terrorize Afghans into shutting down secular schools, backfired. Last year in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban burned down 200 schools, and terrorized parents into shutting down another 400. Those 600 schools meant 130,000 students were no longer able to attend classes. Several million parents in the region demanded that the government do something.
Officials pointed out that the government, and foreign aid agencies, were able to build thousands of schools, but did not have the manpower to guard them. In response, last Fall, parents pressured their village and tribal leaders into organizing a guard force for the schools. This was a risky business. Most villages have fewer weapons (often mainly bolt action rifles, pistols and shotguns), to use against up to a hundred heavily armed (with AK-47s and RPGs) Taliban. But this action across the region was sending a message to the Taliban; attack our schools and you’ll have to fight the parents. While many of the tribes in the region contain many pro-Taliban members, the majority of the people wanted to protect their schools.
The Taliban responded in two ways. First, they said they would spend several million dollars to build dozens of new, Taliban approved (mainly religious subjects) schools, most of them in villages where schools had been burned down. Second, the Taliban campaign against the schools withered. The number of schools attacked each month declined by 90 percent. But the after effects of this remain to be seen. For the moment, the Taliban are much less tolerated in many parts of southern Afghanistan. But the fathers of children are not happy about spending several nights a month taking their turn guarding an empty, and usually unheated, school house. However, the police are being promised more cooperation (that is, information about any Taliban activity in the neighborhood), when Spring, and Taliban gunmen, begin roaming the hills again.
Why Islamic Militants Hate Women
One reason for Islamic terrorism is there are too many Moslems. At least in the sense that the economies of Islamic countries cannot create enough jobs for all the young people coming of age. Consider that for the last fifty years, the population of all Moslem countries has tripled. That’s population growth that is more than double the rate of the world as a whole, and about ten times the rate of Europe. It’s about five times the rate in the United States.
Many of those unemployed young men are angry, and making war is a typical activity of angry young men. But the women are not too happy either, and this is becoming one a major threat to Islamic terrorists. In Islamic societies, women’s activities are greatly restricted. One thing they are encouraged to do is have lots of children. Many women in Islamic countries are rebelling against this. You don’t hear much about this, because women don’t rebel in the same loud, headline grabbing way that men do. What unhappy women often do is stop having children. Not so easy to do, you think? Well, think again.
The rest of the world has found that the best way to curb population growth is to give women educational and economic opportunities. This actually works too well, with many industrialized nations producing so few children, that their populations are shrinking. The primary way around this is allowing migrants from higher population countries. In Europe, this has meant lots of Moslems. While this has brought in some terrorists, the vast majority of migrants are looking for economic and educational opportunities. But it’s in Europe that you get the best look at the womens revolt in the Islamic world. The men are fighting back, and the rebellious Moslem women murdered in Western countries get reported. But they are now becoming news in countries like Pakistan as well.
While Islamic countries tend to have very low levels of education, especially for women, the introduction of satellite television and DVDs has enabled even illiterate women to learn that there are other options. Ignorance is an excellent form of control, but when the ignorance is lost, so is the control.
Thus in most Islamic countries, the women are having fewer children, and making more noise about economic and educational opportunities. This resonates with some of the better informed Islamic men. One reason the West, and other parts of the world, have enjoyed much better economic growth than the Moslem countries, is that they have added large number of educated women to their work force.
Losing control of the women is something that makes Islamic conservatives very angry. Murderously angry. This is a vicious, lethal battle taking place largely out of the media spotlight. But, long term, it is destroying the source of Islamic terrorism.