Murder Most Fouled-Up


Suicide bombers in Afghanistan seem to have the "suicide" part down. The rest, not so much:

In 43% of the bombings conducted last year and in 26 of the 57 bombings traced in this study up to June 15 this year, the only death caused by the bombing was that of the bomber himself. This means that, astoundingly, about 90 suicide bombers in this two-year period succeeded in killing only themselves.

There was one period in the spring of 2006 (February 20 to June 21) when a stunning 26 of the 36 suicide bombers in Afghanistan (72%) killed only themselves. This puts the kill average for Afghan suicide bombers far below that of suicide bombers in other theaters of action in the area (Israel, Chechnya, Iraq and the Kurdish areas of Turkey).

Writing for the always-random Asia Times, Brian Glyn Williams dubs the Afghans the "world's worst suicide bombers" and offers up a few hypotheses for their sorry kill averages. It may be that many are motivated by promised (and presumably flat) payments to families rather than commitment to a cause, and thus have little incentive to maximize the killing of strangers. But Williams seems convinced that many of the bombers, young and culled from backwater villages, are just not very good at blowing up other people:

In one case, they told of a mentally deranged man who threw his vest at an Afghan patrol, assuming it would explode on its own…Others, including a Taliban bomber who was arrested while pushing his explosives-laden car toward its target after it ran out of fuel, appear to be inept beyond belief.

Via BookForum.

NEXT: Preparing for That Once-in-Twelve-Millenia Tragedy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The object of war isn’t to die for your country, it’s to make the other sonofabitch die for his.

    –paraphrased from Gen. Patton, because I couldn’t be bothered to look up the actual quote. These guys clearly have never heard even a paraphrase.

  2. What…is the “No Bomber Left Behind” program an utter failure?

  3. Why do I have the image of Dawn French continuously failing to blow anyone up in a 30 minute comedy sketch?

  4. First, is it a wise idea to almost dare them to do better?

    Second, should we really be surprised that suicide bombers might tend to be people who have nothing else to offer their cause?

  5. “I’m going to kill both of us…me first.”

  6. And people wonder why I’m not afraid of these guys.

  7. [the Johnsons load their guns and point them at Bart. Bart then points his own pistol at his head]
    Bart: Hold it! Next man makes a move, the nigger gets it!
    Olson Johnson: Hold it, men. He’s not bluffing.
    Dr. Sam Johnson: Listen to him, men, he’s just crazy enough to do it!
    Bart: [lower register] Drop it! Or I swear I’ll blow this nigger’s head all over this town!
    [higher register]
    Bart: Oh, lo’dy, lo’d, he’s despit! Do what he sayyyy, do what he sayyyy…
    [the Johnsons drop their guns. Bart jams the gun into his neck and drags himself through the crowd and towards the station]
    Harriett Van Johnson: Isn’t anybody going to help that poor man?
    Dr. Sam Johnson: Hush, Harriet, that’s a sure way to get him killed!
    Bart: [higher register] Oooh! He’p me, he’p me! Somebody he’p me! He’p me! He’p me! He’p me!
    [lower register]
    Bart: Shut up!
    [Bart places his hand over his own mouth, drags himself through the door into his office]
    Bart: Ooh, baby, you are so talented! And they are so DUMB!

  8. Remind me again why I’m supposed to fear these people?

  9. Q: How many Afghani suicide bombers does it take to blow up someone besides themselves?

    A: 1.2

  10. Wow, I guess they really do love death.

    I’m going to go have a Pepsi.

  11. Does this mean Sean Hannity will stop calling them homicide bombers– sorry, Hamascide bombers?

  12. Any way we could get a follow-up to this? “(X) percent of Afghan families receive promised payments for head of household’s suicide bombing?”

  13. joe – Spies Like Us?

    “This means that, astoundingly, about 90 suicide bombers in this two-year period succeeded in killing only themselves.”

    Keep up the good work, boys.
    (and when they get to their special terrorist corner of hell, they’ll find that the URKOBOLD has deflowered the alleged virgins awaiting them)

    Mr. Babar – I have not seen you at the club of late. Mr. Underhill sends his regards!

  14. I only wish they were all so inept.

  15. If you die a virgin, in heaven you have to have sex with a terrorist.

  16. VM,

    No, reality. During the Afghan invasion, a Talib was quoted in the press describing why we were going to lose “Americans love Pepsi Cola. We love death.”

    That’s what I call a win-win.

    It’s funny, decade after decade, totalitarians look at the relatively-free west and see only soft decadence. And they never learn.

    Whenever I read Hitler’s description of Britain as “a nation of shop-keepers,” I remember that photo of the Korean store owners on the roof of his shop with an AK-47.

  17. They’re like the Suicide Squad from Life of Brian.

    Seriously, how did these clowns ever get rid of the Soviets?

  18. wow, joe! that’s fantastic!

    (I still have a few soviet era pepsi bottle caps somewhere)



    Mr. Death

    oh yeah!!!!!!

    *throws rock at Mr. Kool Aid Man.

  19. Britons also seem to be bad at it, of late…most of them don’t even seem to have killed themselves, much less anyone else.

  20. Those weren’t Britons – they were Indians and Pakistanis, IIRC.

  21. Perhaps there is a recruiting issue.

    Given Afghanistan’s history, maybe all the smart people who wanted to die for a cause managed it long ago?

  22. No Pepsi. Death.

    Death. Death. Death. Death. Chee-booger, chee-booger, chee-booger, chee-booger. Death, death, death.

  23. Reminds me of my favorite Pepsi commercial: One asks another “What do you want to do”

    “Finish grade school, middle school, high school, 1400 SATs Ivy league, Grad School, MBA. Get a wife, house in the burbs, two kids, two cars, and a dog. Claw my way to upper middle management. Retire to Florida, where my pants around my chest, and complain about the government full time

    “No, I meant today”
    “Oh, THE BEACH”

    [V.O.] Be young, have fun, drink pepsi

  24. DOH! stupid open tag

  25. Timothy | July 26, 2007, 2:45pm | #

    If you die a virgin, in heaven you have to have sex with a terrorist.

    I believe I will use this line at the bars.

  26. I guess it’s a little difficult to practice.

  27. No fries! C4!

  28. The IRA had several would-be bombers blow themselves up during “the Troubles” while making bombs. The Brits eventually referred to these as “own goal” bombs.

  29. It has been said that a terrorist is someone with a bomb but no air force. Now it appears their “smart bombs” (suicide bombers) have problems with attaining desired kill counts. Often, our “smart bombs” have the same kind of problems, but going the other way: We usually kill more than we intended, while they usually kill fewer than they intended. It all averages out nicely.

  30. Goat-booger, goat-booger, goat-booger, goat-booger!

    C-4, C-4, C-4, C-4!

  31. Seriously, how did these clowns ever get rid of the Soviets?

    They didn’t. The guys who got rid of the Soviets are on our side. The Taliban just sat down in Pakistan buggering sheep while the Mujahedeen liberated Afghanistan. Then they came in and killed a lot of the Mujahedeen guys for being really bad at governing, and took over. Then they started playing house with guys who were complete dicks on an international scale, pissed us off, and so we gave what was left of the Mujahedeen special forces support and air support, and they kicked the Taliban back into Pakistan.

    It’s a whole thing.

    Oh, and according to Rudy, 9/11.

  32. If you die a virgin, in heaven you have to have sex with a terrorist.

    “I believe I will use this line at the bars.”

    How do you find virgins at bars?

  33. US, you don’t. But you find people willing to pretend they are.

  34. I just wonder why, with this level of opposition, we still haven’t won in Afghanistan?

  35. I just wonder why, with this level of opposition, we still haven’t won in Afghanistan?

    Because occupations are a hard thing to “win” unless ~100% of the population tacitly accepts it. Undermanned occupations doubly so.

  36. Occupations in areas where the insurgents have a safe cross-border operating base, doubly doubly so.

  37. Look at it this way: In battle armies tend to lose people, weapons, and money. They need to be resupplied to continue the fight. But if they do get some replacements, they can always continue the fight, however few of the enemy they take with them.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.