M’sians involved in Kabul attack? Silence is not an option, academic tells PM

WITH two Malaysians seemingly implicated in the deadly attack at the Kabul airport, an expert urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to make a firm stand that Malaysia neither supports nor condone any terror groups.

“The prime minister must make our stand clear that we don’t support any terror groups. I’m just upset that our Government is still keeping mum about this.

“Bear in mind that Taliban’s success in retaking Afghanistan, the withdrawal of US troops and deadly attack by Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) is being used as propaganda by terror groups across the globe to launch attacks in their respective countries,” HELP University Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting and Institute Crime and Criminology senior lecturer R Paneir Selvam told FocusM.

R Paneir Selvam

Yesterday, the UK Times quoted Taliban intelligence chief Maulawi Saifullah Mohammed as saying that they have captured six members of the ISIS-K involved in the deadly attack at the Kabul airport last week, with two of them being Malaysians.

Following the expose, Malaysiakini reported Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani as saying that they were in the midst of authenticating the allegation.

Last Thursday, ISIS-K, a rival of Taliban, launched a deadly attack at the Kabul airport, leaving 200 people dead including 13 US soldiers.

US President Joe Biden subsequently retaliated by ordering a drone strike against those involved in the bombing.

On the supposed Malaysians’ involvement with ISIS-K, Paneir Selvam said that he was not surprised by the matter.

He added that in the past, there were many Malaysians who got caught for being part of terror groups, such as Noordin Mohammad Top and Azahari Husin.

“The Taliban actually has a good impression over Malaysia as we provided much humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and Rohingyas. So, I believe they wouldn’t simply implicate Malaysia’s name unless they have proof,” he opined.

People try to get into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 16, 2021 (Reuters)

 

Once a terrorist, always a terrorist

Touching on terrorism in general, Paneir Selvam said that after ISIS was defeated by the US forces and its allies, many of its former members wanted to return to their home countries.

While other countries refused to accept former ISIS members back, Malaysia took a different approach by allowing them to return home.

“Of course, our security experts assessed them first before allowing them back in. Once they were in Malaysia, I believe they were put under rehabilitation programmes before letting them back into our society.

“But in my personal view, a terrorist will always remain a terrorist. Why do I say this? It’s because we are dealing with someone who has been brainwashed by a certain ideology.

“As for ISIS and other terror groups, we are dealing with a religion-based ideology which makes it even more difficult to rehabilitate them,” he opined.

Photo credit: iStock

 

Citing former detainee Yazid Sufaat as an example, Paneir Selvam said that the former repeated his terror related offences despite being jailed and undergoing rehabilitation multiple times.

“It’s like dealing with hardcore criminals. No amount of jail time or rehabilitation programme will work on them. In my view, we have to isolate these people from the society,” Panier Selvam stressed.

With an economic downturn and rising unemployment due to COVID-19, he urged the Malaysian security team to beef up their monitoring system as terror groups would use the opportunity to radicalise the vulnerable.

“No doubt, our Special Branch has been doing a good job but we need to step up efforts given the economic situation and the rise of Taliban,” he noted.

On related matter, Paneir Selvam criticised several Government leaders for backing the Taliban without going through international norms and practices in recognising a regime change.

“As political leaders, these people must understand that there are certain protocols that needs to be adhered to before recognising the legitimacy of a foreign Government.

“I urge these so-called leaders not to jump the gun as it may jeopardise Malaysia’s image globally by sending a wrong message to the international community. Do bear in mind that we share a good relationship with the US and other major powers,” he remarked. – Aug 29, 2021.

 

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

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