Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's not the bombs, but where they're hidden

Apparently Hamid Karzai doesn't have any problems with suicide bombers, he just wants them to not hide the bombs in their turbans:

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai met recently with members of the country’s clerical councils to get their assistance in persuading insurgents not to hide explosives in suicide bombers' turbans or in other religious or cultural symbols.

In the last five weeks, suicide bombers have killed the mayor of Kandahar and a senior cleric in the city with small amounts of explosives hidden in their turbans. In both cases, the bombers grabbed their victims before triggering the explosives.

It is believed to be the first time turbans have been used in suicide attacks.

A man’s turban has important religious and cultural significance and it is considered dishonourable to touch it.

Karzai met with clerics this week and pleaded with them to use their influence on the Taliban and other insurgents to dissuade them from using cultural or religious garments to hide explosives."

I certainly hope the president succeeds in this noble quest to get the bombers to go back to strapping explosives to their chests or putting them on women or in camel humps or whatever, and to convince them that they must always, always honor the turban!


Stephen said...

Agreed that it seems silly on the surface, because he ought to be urging them not to carry any bombs at all. But I think it really is a security thing. If it's culturally taboo to touch another man's turban, then that's a prime spot for someone to sneak something by. Any other non-taboo spot could be searched at a checkpoint, but an item in a non-touchable place is safe. (Hence our electronic strip searches at airports, enabling officials to search us without the in-person confrontation.)

Hasdrubal said...

That's the sucky part about dealing with insurgency. They abuse a religious symbol/taboo/whatever to further their cause and get a pass. We react and start inspecting the religious symbol/taboo/whatever or restrict it, and we're suddenly the bad guys out to destroy their religion and way of life.

I don't know that there is a way to end that kind of insurgency aside from the Roman method or a multi-generation long intense occupation.

Pelsmin said...

Even in pitched conflict, most people have the sense not to abuse "sanctuary" items. For their own self interest, they shouldn't hide bombs in their turbans, since they and their kin will add a new humiliation as the turbans now get searched.

But there is something different about this culture. They cache weapons under hospitals and schools, transport weapons in ambulances (West Bank) and open fire from mosques, not hoping they will get away with it, but knowing that the schools. etc. will be destroyed. How do you deal with an enemy who considers it a victory to make their own people more miserable?

Anonymous said...

Leaves a bad splatter pattern ...