By Frank Crimi
Islamist terrorists have long used women as suicide bombers, but now their combatant role has expanded with al-Qaeda’s formation of an all-female jihadist fighting unit whose primary mission is purportedly to attack Coalition targets in Afghanistan.
The discovery of the all-girl military group, dubbed the “Burkha Brigade,” came to light in a recent online video that showed a bevy of fully covered women firing off a wide selection of heavy weaponry, including machine guns, assault rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades.
The women enlistees are thought to have been recruited from Chechnya, the semi-autonomous republic in the Russian Federation and a state which has long provided fertile ground for producing female jihadists.
That disturbing history was most notably on display in 2002 when bomb-strapped Chechen women were among 50 Islamist militants who held over 800 people hostage in Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater. In that assault nearly 130 civilians were killed.
While Muslim women, dressed as males, have in the past fought alongside Islamist militants, the creation of an all-female fighting force adds a new twist in the escalating use of women combatants by al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamist terror groups in the region.
Yet, while the overall use and effectiveness of the all-girl fighting brigade remains unclear, it is likely that its formation will not eclipse the feminine combative role most favored by Islamist terrorists: suicide bomber.
That terrifying function is, unfortunately, ideally suited for women given Islamic restrictions against searching females. Those taboos often allow Muslim women to hide explosive-laden suicide vests underneath their burqas and pass undetected through security checkpoints.
It should be noted that while women are highly valued by jihadists as human projectiles, children and the mentally impaired used in that same capacity are equally prized by Islamist terrorists.
The Taliban, in particular, has a predilection for utilizing youthful suicide bombers given that nearly ninety percent of the estimated 5,000 suicide bombers trained in Pakistan are under the age of 16. As Pakistani Taliban commander Qari Hussain once explained, “Children are tools to achieve God’s will, whatever comes your way you sacrifice it.”
However, not to be outdone, al-Qaeda has shown an appreciation for utilizing the mentally impaired for its suicide operations. Al-Qaeda in Iraq energetically used this tactic when it employed mentally handicapped women, many with Down Syndrome, to carry out suicide attacks against American and Coalition forces during the Iraq war.
Nevertheless, the use of women as human explosives has gained growing admiration among Jihadist circles. This admiration has been evidenced since 2010 by the growing swell of al-Qaeda and Taliban-run suicide training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border designed to specially train female bombers.
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