Suicide Bombers' Reunion Falls on Hard Times

Kandahar, Pakistan – An annual gathering of suicide bombers in eastern Pakistan is calling it quits because of dwindling membership, inside sources say.  

The yearly picnic, held at a secret location because of the group’s understandable desire for anonymity, had once been an A-ticket draw, bringing dozens of nervous and dart-eyed participants together to reminisce about their exploits. But the tone of this year’s reunion was decidedly downbeat.

“It dawned on us recently--Allah be praised--that those of us who turned up [here] were…um…not successful at carrying out His most holy wish to wage jihad,” said Bahaar, who asked not to use his real name because of the stigma attached to the vocation.   

Bahaar, who was able to move only with the assistance of a small wagon cradling the shredded lower portion of his body, had been thwarted in his mission when a friend called the wrong cell phone number, setting off his device while he was napping on the couch.
“It was an easy accident,” he said sadly, running his fingers through what remained of the left side of his head. “I harbor no grudge. I know people make mistakes, and I am quick to forgive, thanks and glory to Allah who understands.”

“I can hardly look at my wife anymore,” said Rahim, another failed bomber, who wore a grimy, antiseptic-soaked rag around his eyes after inadvertently mixing magnesium and manganese and causing a flash fire in his Kandahar home. “She sacrificed a lot to support the family while I was in training, and now this,” he said, sweeping his hand across his face.

“And we’d just remodeled the kitchen.” 

While many suicide bombers receive acclaim and the coveted (and posthumous) Golden Vest award for their successful immolation of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children, those who gathered here each year had come to share stories and laughs over events that happened, as Bahaar called it, “back in the day.”

“Time was, glory be to the punishing God we adore, that the benefits outweighed the cost,” said Malika, one of the few female bombers present. She proceeded to choke down a slice of Sbarro’s vegan pizza through a feeding hole below her voice box and washing it down with a noisy gurgle of Mr. Pibb. “But I’m afraid we women will never be able to blast through the glass ceiling like the men can. I know I couldn’t.”

A 2002 survey of suicide bombers found that most were excited by the prospects of a decent insurance plan and pension for surviving families, extravagant al Quaida-financed going-away parties, and the promise of endless golf and 72 virgins in the afterlife. But after several years of empty destruction, hateful rationalization, and the perverse euphoria experienced in training before exploding oneself in a crowded marketplace has given way to a weary cynicism.

“You would think, praise be to Him who helps me drink through a sluice, that I could count on vocational training or salving my failure with, maybe, two or three virgins after the attempt, but no,” said Rahim. “The virgins are looking for a guy who runs a hedge fund.”

“I’m interning as an IT technician,” he added. “That’s where the jobs are.”


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