In long-suffering Afghanistan, the Taliban, in their quest to bring pure Islam and the rule of Sharia, are gunning down students:
The number of students and teachers killed in Taliban attacks has tripled in the past year in a campaign to close schools and force teenage boys to join the Islamic militia, Afghanistan’s education minister says.
While the overall state of Afghan education shows improvement, Education Ministry numbers point to a sharp decline in security for students, teachers and schools in the south, where the Taliban thrives: The number of students out of classes because of security concerns has hit 300,000 since March 2007, compared with 200,000 in the previous 12 months, while the number of schools closing has risen from 350 to 590.
The Taliban strategy is deliberate: “to close these schools down so that the children and primarily the teenagers that are going to the schools — the boys — have no other option but to join the Taliban,” Education Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
The Taliban know that educated Afghans won’t join the militants, so a closed school leaves students with two options — to join the Taliban or “to cross the border and go into those hate madrassas,” Atmar said, referring to Islamic seminaries in Pakistan where “they will be professionally trained as terrorists.”
Wakil Ahmad Khan, a top official at Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry, said Pakistani “madrassas are doing a wonderful job by providing education to millions of students” and “if the Afghan officials have any such information, they should share it with Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.”
You mean, the Pakistani madrassas controlled by the same people against whom Pakistan has just launched an offensive? Yeah, I’m sure they’re doing a wonderful job, alright.
Back to Afghanistan, the article goes on to report that attacks on schools have actually fallen over the last year, because their physical facilities are getting better protection. So, being adaptable, the Taliban has taken to targeting teachers and students when they’re going to and from school, and at places they like to congregate. Such nice, enlightened people.
An educated populace, particularly educated women, is a dire threat to Islamists. Like any totalitarian movement, they want people to know enough only to serve the leaders’ aims — the ability to think critically and independently is anathema. Thus the effort to drive teenage boys to madrassas where they will be taught to memorize the Qur’an (in Arabic, a language they likely don’t understand, and so can’t question) and indoctrinated with the ideology of jihad, thus providing more soldiers for the Taliban and al Qaeda.
One of the themes of this war is the conflict between the civilizations of the 7th and the 21st centuries. Seventh-century civilization can’t compete with the modern world, so it has to lash out, and one of the ways it does so is to attack the very thing that allows people to prosper in the modern world: education.
(hat tip: Jihad Watch)