Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Why Terrorist groups Attack Education

A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up in front of an educational center in the west of the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, August 15, killing at least 48 people and wounding at least 67 people. It is not the first attack on schools and education centers in Afghanistan. Terrorist groups including the Taliban assume schools and education centers as the foundations that produce apostates. These groups try to justify the macabre violence as a ‘nursery’ of those who ‘challenge God’s sovereignty’.
However, according to the studies there are different factors for attacking the schools, universities and education centers by the terrorist groups. One of the factors is that sschools, universities and education centers are usually unprotected in the conflict ridden countries. While Embassies, military bases, even hotels are, after a decade and a half of rolling waves of terrorist violence across the country, now are harder to hit.
Nonetheless, terrorist experts argue that there are other reasons, too. The main aim of the terrorist groups is to undermine the legitimacy and authority of a state. In many parts of the world, including Afghanistan, the local school is the state’s only palpable presence.
What actually causes the terrorists to be afraid of education?
Considering the surge of terrorist attacks, education is often deemed as an antidote to terrorism; this idea mainly argues that education may make individuals less vulnerable to the false promises of extremist ideologies. For instance Eli Wiesel argues that education seduces some young people to terrorism? It simplifies things. The fanatic has no questions, only answers. Education is the way to eliminate terrorism.
What should the Afghan government do?
Any terrorist attack, especially attacking on education centers triggers a nationwide outcry over inadequate security at the important institutions, especially the educational institutions. The Afghan police are blamed, in angry voices, for failing to prevent the attacks. And it even calls into question the success of the military operations in different parts of the country.
Terrorist experts recommend a range of steps. The governments shall take the same measures that secure other spaces. They also argue that information is the key. As a result, governments shall take every necessary measure to ensure trust building between state institutions and the citizens. At the same time, governments shall ensure proper security measures to protect these institutions.
Some terrorism experts like Prof Boaz, holds that there are endless potential targets for terrorists and it is practically impossible to secure each one of them. As a result intelligence plays a critical role to prevent such attacks.
Education centers have been frequently attacked by the different terrorist groups in Afghanistan. These terrorist groups assume such institutions as the foundations that produce apostates. However, terrorism experts argue that the real cause of the fear of the terrorists groups of the education centers is that they are deemed as an antidote to terrorism. Nonetheless, the Afghan government shall take some specific steps to counter such terrorist attacks on the education centers and what is critical to ensure such steps is having a strong and vigilant intelligence coupled with closing the gap between the security institutions and the citizens. Therefore, ensuring trust building between state institutions and the citizens is the key to prevent terrorist attacks. However, considering the weak intelligence and the mistrust between the people and the government in Afghanistan, the country faces a big challenge to succeed in its counter-terrorism efforts. The last but not the least, the Afghan government shall take some concrete measures to address these challenges to revive the trust of the people to the security institutions. And, it requires practical steps to overcome these critical challenges.