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September 15, 2021

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Eradicating global terrorism by addressing root causes

AHEAD of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the United States pulled its troops out of Afghanistan, bring­ing an inglorious end to its longest war fought overseas in the name of counterterrorism.

The botched Afghan exit epitomizes the fiasco of the world’s sole super­power’s global war on terror. It also shows that on the one hand, no coun­try, no matter how powerful it is, can defeat all the world’s terrorists; on the other hand, seeking to eradicate global terrorism without addressing its root causes is out of the question.

Poverty, social inequality, education gap and political instability have been widely regarded as among the key fac­tors that generate extremist ideas and help terrorist groups find recruits.

Of the 26,445 global deaths from ter­rorism in 2017, 95 percent occurred in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, while only less than 2 percent were in Europe, the Americas and Oceania combined, according to the Global Terrorism Database, an open-source database of terrorist incidents world­wide from 1970 onward.

Thus, one of the priorities for a country to beat terrorism is to grow the economy as well as boost social justice and equality so as to provide a decent life for its people, particularly the young. This can not be achieved through military might.

Nowadays, the rapid development of the Internet and social media has supercharged the spread of extremist ideas to almost all corners of the globe. Some radical groups have also tried to exploit grievances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to peddle hatred and incite terror attacks, the United Nations warned in its Global Counter- Terrorism Strategy.

Because of rampant online radicaliza­tion, children in some less-developed countries, who should have gone to school and held pens in their hands, are holding grenades and AK-47 ma­chine guns.

British newspaper The Independent reported that Britain’s youngest known terror offender committed his first offence at the age of 13, and he later became the British head of a global online neo-Nazi group. This shocking case highlighted the significance of helping adolescents develop heathy values in the mission against terror.

With an accurate pulse of the root causes of terrorism, China’s compre­hensive efforts to stamp out the once surging terrorist attacks in Xinjiang have proved effective.

In recent years, the local govern­ment in Xinjiang has taken a series of measures, like setting up vocational education and training centers, to ad­dress such root causes of terrorism as poverty, unemployment and religious extremism. As a result, Xinjiang has not seen a single terror attack for many years.

In today’s globalized world, no coun­try is immune to terrorism and no country can effectively uproot terror­ism by itself. Thus, countries around the world should further strengthen international cooperation in their ef­forts to vanquish global terrorism.

Zhong Ya is a Xinhua writer.


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