South Asia: Ten Years After September 11 and Terrorism Is as Strong as Ever

Afghanistan was the place where the September 11 attacks were planned. Ten years later, terrorism is still a daily fact of life not only in Afghanistan but in neighboring Pakistan and also India. Many of these attacks have their origin in the same forces that struck New York and Washington on that terrible day. While al-Qaeda, which lacks a local base, is merely surviving, its partner, the Taliban, is thriving.

South Asia is in the midst of a full-scale terrorism war that has no sign of abating. During this last decade, thousands of people in all three countries have been murdered in the struggle to impose radical Islamist regimes, with no end in sight. And many of these deaths have been caused by the Taliban and local al-Qaeda-oriented groups. As President Barack Obama declares that al-Qaeda is on the run and close to being destroyed, that idea is daily disproved in this part of the world.

One would expect that few places in South Asia would be more secure than the Delhi High Court in India’s capital. But at 10:30 on the morning of September 7, a powerful explosion ripped through a crowd at the court, just outside Gate No. 5 and close to the country’s most important modern monument, the India Gate. Eleven were killed and more than 70 injured. Bad as that was, this bombing was only one of the four worst attacks over the last three years.

Despite the fact that the court is located in a high-security area -- equivalent to a bomb on the grounds of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington -- this was the second attack inside the premises in four months.

The Pakistan-based, al-Qaeda connected Harkat-ul-jihad al-islami (HuJI) said it did the attack to demand cancellation of the death sentence of one of its men for having attacked India’s parliament in 2001. In the last decade the group has committed many bloody assaults in India.

Meanwhile, in Quetta, Pakistan, 25 were killed and 55 injured by suicide bombers at a government office and a general’s home, where the officer’s wife was killed and he was wounded. This was done by the Pakistani Taliban to avenge the arrests of al-Qaeda agents.