Combatting terrorism can't be done merely by dropping bombs

Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

How is one to combat terrorism in the Middle East?

Even the United States knows that merely dropping bombs on Kabul will not suffice.

Many past military interventions like those in Somalia and even the Persian Gulf suffered from the lack of clear, practical ideas for a subsequent political order.

Do such ideas exist in the case of Afghanistan and terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, whose standing among the Islamic masses is growing?

Some critics of the United States say the right way is to introduce a civil society in Afghanistan, to promote democratic structures in the country and even to build up women's groups instead of dropping bombs.

But this is the West telling people what to do again, the very thing that terrorists are not alone in rejecting.

Besides, the question remains whether that requires ousting the ruling Taliban militia first.

As long as it is in power, all these good intentions do not have the slightest chance of being implemented.

Nonetheless, Afghanistan does need a new order. ... The old forces have been discredited.

They brought war, decay and dire poverty to their country. Once the Taliban regime has been removed, an order acceptable to as many Afghans as possible must be found. Given ethnic and religious rivalries, that will not be easy.

Moreover, Pakistan's and Iran's interests have to be considered.

-- Frankfurter Allgemeine, Frankfurt, Germany

Oct. 16



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