Opinion: Madrasas in Pakistan are serving as terror factories of Afghanistan

Terror attack on Kabul Photograph:( AFP )

Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India Jan 30, 2018, 10.25 AM (IST) Major Amit Bansal

Since the early eighties, Afghanistan has been witnessing the worst crimes against the humanity. The country had been the battleground of the superpowers of the world and now facing extreme forms of violence and, as a result, the country is at the rock bottom of all the developmental indexes in the world. The human life is subjected to worst tortures, killings are common, and terror activities are a daily news in the mountain country.


The US-backed and Pakistan-trained Mujahedeen groups fought with the Soviet forces and forced them to retreat. As a result, a large number of Afghan refugees moved into the areas across Durand Line and established themselves. Various Islamic sects of Pakistan, including Jamaat-e-Islami, took this opportunity to establish their madrasas or religious schools in these areas. 


When Afghanistan was going through a process of destabilisation after the withdrawal of Soviet Troops, Pakistan needed to gain its influence over Afghanistan. For this purpose, it needed a force loyal to it and brutal enough to fight the mighty Northern Alliance of Afghanistan. The Madrasas proved to be an ideal recruiting ground for the Pakistan ISI and a new breed of terror was created -the Taliban. 


Over next few years, these seminaries were converted into arms and bomb-making factories and terrorist training centres with the help of Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).


The only one responsible for these crimes was the Pakistan government which turned these religious seminaries into terror factories. Later, these madrasas provided numerous cadres of Al-Qaeda and more than 1 lakh fighters to the Afghan Taliban. Not only this, they continued to provide terrorists and suicide bombers for the ongoing terror activities in Afghanistan, India and the Middle East.  Many ISIS cadres also came out from some of these madrasas. These madrasas soon became an easy and effective training centre of Pakistan's ISI.


The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is extremely porous and facilitates easy movement of even a large force across as there is no surveillance. Hence, this was a major advantage for Pakistan ISI to run madrasas in these areas. 


These terror factories are not run on mere donations of the public but receive massive funds from the Pakistan government as well as the Middle Eastern countries. A Times of India news report said, in 2016, Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government gave Rs 300 million to one of the prominent madrasa, also known as the 'University of Jihad'. The madrasa is known to have many Taliban leader among its alumni. 


Not only this, it has been alleged that the agents of the Pakistan government often compel and even kidnap Afghan children to study in these madrasas so that they can be taught the most violent form of Islam and turned into a deadly fighter. As per a report published in the Deccan Chronicle (dated 31 Jul 2017), Afghan police caught an organised syndicate which used to traffic young boys to the madrasas across the border in Pakistan from interiors of Afghanistan. They recovered a large number of Afghan boys who were being taken to Pakistan to study in these madrasas against their own will. This proves that Pak support to these madrasas is not only limited to indoctrination but also providing them with manpower, military training, funds and other forms of logistical support.


Today, there are over 15000 madrasas being run on Pak- Afghan border out of which more than 60% are in Baluchistan alone. The reason is obvious, the most important aspect of Taliban or their ideological hub which is called as Quetta Shura is located in the Baluchistan province itself. This is the group which is managing a large number of madrasas in the area. Surprisingly, nearly all of them are teaching either the Deobandi Philosophy of Islam or Salafi ideology, both are extremely violent and most radical forms of Islam. 


As of now, nearly all attacks or violence in Afghanistan is traced back to one or the other madrasas in Pakistan. As per the statement made by the Afghan Ambassador in the US, Mr Majeed Qarar, the attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel was also planned in one such madrasa in Pakistan. He quoted the video of the father of one of the suicide attackers who visited the madrasa many times to bring their son back but he was so badly brain-washed that he refused to come back with them. 


There have been allegations substantiated by evidences that Pakistan had been providing equipment and weapons to terrorists in Afghanistan. During the recent attack on Maiwand Army Base of Afghanistan, the night vision goggles recovered from terrorists reveal the entire story. They were made by a company in Britain and procured by Pak Army for their military operations. Now, how they reached these terrorists, the question reveals the answer itself. 


 In March 2016, Pak PM’s advisor Mr Sartaz Ajeez himself accepted that “These madrasas had well-oiled terror infrastructure, beyond imagination, running bomb-making factories, terrorists training centres and those to train suicide bombers - all under multi-storeyed basement under the mosque” which proves the fact that these madrasas are really operating as terror factories. 


He further mentioned that "In one mosque that I visited, I remember, in Miranshah, from outside we did not see anything. But under the mosque, there were a 70-room basement, three stories, in which there were four-five IED factories, four-five suicide training centres, communication network, VIP room, conference rooms, amazing infrastructure," 


This is very horrifying, to say the least. The world is surprised to know how these terror factories are still able to run on Pakistani soil smoothly. Pakistan government may deny their association with them but, at last, they are openly operating on their land and making a mockery of their law. Moreover, the victims of these terror factories are only the poor and innocent Afghan population and not Pakistan. 


It is the responsibility of the global leaders now to make an all-out effort and ensure that these terror factories are not only closed but their leaders and perpetrators of terror should be brought to justice. 


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)  

Major Amit Bansal

Major Amit Bansal is is a Defence Strategist with keen interests in International Relations and Internal Security. He is also an author, blogger and poet.