The dastardly carnage in Nairobi and Peshawar proves yet again the utter futility of resorting to terror tactics in order to secure one’s political goals.

In Nairobi, the brazen attack on a shopping mall by Al-Shabaab, a group based in Somalia, purportedly linked to Al-Qaeda, on 21 September 2013, has left at least 62 people dead and around 175 injured. This cruel slaughter of innocent men and women has elicited worldwide condemnation. It has heightened the anger of the Kenyan people against Al-Shabaab. Kenyan authorities are now more determined than ever to intensify their role in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) under whose auspices the Kenyan army had invaded Somalia in October 2011 with the aim of defeating Al-Shabaab.

If Al-Shabaab’s terrorism on 21 September was to force Kenya to withdraw from Somalia, it has failed badly. Neither has it succeeded in making the people of Somalia more antagonistic towards the government in Mogadishu which Al-Shabaab alleges serves the interests of the US, other Western powers and Israel who are seeking to tighten their grip over Somalia and the Horn of Africa. If anything, through its barbaric conduct, Al-Shabaab has, ironically, brought Israel closer to the Kenyan government since Israeli commandos are helping Kenyan troops to eliminate terrorists from the shopping-mall. Al-Shabaab has often denounced Kenya’s ties with Israel. In other words, Al-Shabaab’s wanton terrorist assault has undermined its own position.

The massacre outside the All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar on 22 September as Christian worshippers were coming out of the Church perpetrated by two suicide bombers from a group known as Jandullah, linked to the Pakistani Taliban, resulted in 80 deaths, including 37 women and 7 children. This heinous crime against the innocent has incensed the people of Pakistan. Thousands have participated in protests in all major cities in the country. They are demanding firm action from the State against terrorist groups of whatever hue.

If the terrorist attack in the precincts of the Peshawar Church was intended as a protest against US drone assaults along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, it is unlikely that it will compel the US to change its policy. On the contrary, this brutal act has diverted attention from drones and other pressing national issues to the vulnerability of the miniscule Christian minority in Peshawar and Pakistan as a whole. It has brought to the fore the depravity and the viciousness of terrorist groups such as the Jandullah.

The Nairobi and Peshawar episodes demonstrate vividly that terror tactics do not help to advance the struggle against hegemony or foreign intervention or external aggression. On the contrary, they weaken the quest to protect a people’s sovereignty and independence.
Terrorism should be rejected by people everywhere. The struggle against injustice should be through peaceful, non-violent means, however difficult it may be.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
24 September 2013.