Dancing Around Terrorists

A peaceful end to the Indian Airlines hijacking Dec. 31 has hardly left the region peaceful, or made the world breathe any easier.

India only encouraged would-be terrorists by giving in to the hijackers' demands to release three jailed Kashmiri freedom fighters. The terrorists have likely fled into Pakistan, according to Afghanistan's ruling Taliban.

And Taliban itself did not do enough to capture the hijackers after the release of more than 150 passengers. It's just such behavior that brought United Nations sanctions against Afghanistan last year because Taliban refuses to hand over Osama bin Laden, a resident of Afghanistan who's held responsible for blowing up two United States embassies.

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And until India can prove its claim that Pakistan was behind the hijacking, this charge seems like just a distraction from the cave-in to terrorism.

The lessons in all this?

*The US needs to persuade India and other nations to take a consistently hard line against terrorists. (It doesn't help that President Clinton recently released from prison Puerto Rican backers of terrorists or sent back to Cuba, without prosecution, six Cuban inmates involved in last month's hostage-taking in a Louisiana prison.)

*Nuclear-tipped India and Pakistan must settle the Kashmir issue - their primary bilateral irritant - before this territorial issue again escalates into a war that would have global repercussions.

*The world must act to thwart radicals, especially Islamists, who use violence against the innocent.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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