Bannu beheading

Published December 8, 2022

IN the brutal world of militancy, there are few rules, and the most blood-curdling of methods are applied to spread terror. The reported beheading of a Frontier Constabulary soldier in Bannu is an instant red flag for the authorities, who need to act fast to contain the terrorist threat.

According to the chilling account of the martyred soldier’s wife, Rehman Zaman and his son were gunned down while they slept when around 20 armed militants stormed their house. The widow says the terrorists then proceeded to behead Zaman, telling her the gruesome act was committed due to the victim’s “government job”.

Eyewitnesses told this paper that the martyred soldier’s head was later found hanging from a tree in a local market. This was not the only act of militant violence that has afflicted KP over the last few days.

Police claimed killing three TTP militants in Dera Ismail Khan while fighters also attacked a police convoy in the same area.

A little-known group called the Ittehadul Mujahideen Khorasan has claimed responsibility for the grotesque beheading. In the past, the TTP has also employed this reprehensible tactic against security men as well as civilian hostages.

Beheadings have also been used by the Afghan Taliban — the TTP’s ideological brethren — with the former employing this gory tactic against ex-members of the Afghan army as well as IS-K fighters. The intent behind the outrage in Bannu appears clear: spread terror amongst security personnel as well as civilians so that no one dares resist the militant onslaught.

However, the state must take up the cudgels and neutralise this barbarism before it spreads. After the collapse of the TTP ceasefire last week, the terrorist group has upped its violent activities.

The new army chief, while on a tour of KP positions on Tuesday, vowed to stamp out terrorism, and in the wake of these bloody incidents, the need for an effective counterterrorism strategy targeting all violent groups cannot be overstated.

Those responsible for Rehman Zaman’s brutal killing need to be tracked down and brought to justice, while the civilian and military arms of the state must launch a relentless campaign to cleanse the affected areas of terrorism.

This can come in the form of intelligence-based operations, as well as kinetic actions. Whatever shape the actions take, under no circumstances should the militants be allowed to establish their reign of terror in KP and the rest of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022

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