By Shantanu Mukharji
May 2, 2018
Seven years ago today, dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden, also suspected to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in the US, was killed through a special operation carried out by US navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
It’s high time we now undertake a review of the global security scenario in the wake of bin Laden’s exit from the terror scene.
Is the world today any safer after his extermination? Judging by the repeated terror happenings almost all over the world and systematic rise by the ISIS, it’s amply clear that the world is still afflicted with terror linked fear and insecurity.
Only a couple of days ago Afghanistan capital Kabul, was struck by two devastating suicide bombings killing 30 innocents, including ten journalists, and grievously injuring scores of people. The terror attacks were at the very heart of Kabul in the close proximity of the intelligence headquarters, near the National Directorate of Security ( NDS) as also close to the high profile US embassy and NATO offices.
It shows a complete intelligence failure and implies that the IS inspired terror groups in Afghanistan are still a force to reckon with and they will continue to strike as and when they want to take pot shots. This is really ironical. Security experts had thought that after bin Laden’s death, terrorists would have a bad patch and the world would be a much safer place to live. Alas, all have been proved wrong!
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001, Bush administration was hyper, in collaboration with other western allies, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and Osama was in hiding in Afghanistan. US military might unleashed its prowess in annihilating these two countries spending billions of money and resources. Net result? No Weapons of Mass Destruction found nor Osama could be located. Consequently, due to fierce military onslaught, perpetrated by the powerful western forces led by the US, these countries were devastated beyond recognition dislocating innocent people for no fault of theirs. Most crucially, it gave birth to ISIS which is responsible for multiple deaths with sheer brutality.
Post Osama developments also saw a drastic rise in radicalisation of Islam the world over and many youth joined the ISIS cadres fighting in Syria and Iraq. So we don’t see any remarkable let up after Osama was eliminated.
As we get along dwelling upon the prevailing security scenario, news is trickling in that as recent as on May 1; suicide bombers in Nigeria killed more than 60 persons at a mosque during a congregation. The dastardly terror act is suspected to have been carried out by the most menacing terror outfit, Boko Haram, hyperactive in Nigeria.
The attack was highly devastating affecting nearby market places as well. Significantly, in a panic, Nigeria approached President Trump to intervene and sought help of helicopters too to combat terror. The US has spurned the offer of any aerial reconnaissance and it is highly unlikely it would collaborate with Nigeria to tackle Islamic terror.
Boko Haram has been riding high with its killing sprees for the last several years and there have not been any concerted efforts by any International body to contain it let alone Africa’s own African Union (AU). Left to itself, it can’t handle the terror malaise and the incidents are likely to go up unchecked.
Now, where does Osama bin Laden figure here? Yes, he does, and in great measure. Boko Haram, like other terror bodies, drew huge inspiration from Osama and was greatly linked to Al Qaeda Arab Peninsula (AQAP). People thought that after Laden was killed, Boko Haram would fade into oblivion. But no, it kept on adding muscle and, defying all government measures, has grown from strength to strength.
Similarly, we see the trend of happenings in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is consistent and looks never ending.
It is not out of context to mention that LTTE, which had its presence felt from 1983 to 2009, under one undisputed leader Prabhakaran, evaporated after he was killed. But there are hundreds of bin Ladens in the Islamic world trying to lead or mislead the strayed youth to the sphere of terror.
Having said that, I don’t mean to imply or justify that Osama was a great leader. He was out and out a dreaded terrorist who took the world to ransom and deserved to be wiped out, but his extermination has not put an end to global Islamic terror. Battle against terror may have been won but not the war. This calls for a well-coordinated action plan by the US and other powers to defeat and dismantle the terror infrastructure allowing the world to live in peace.