Extremism is a state of mind, it is an attitude. It may be based less on facts and more on perceptions. It is founded on judgemental deductions, which may or may not be correct and accurate; generally these deductions revolve around myths. Negative attitudes, generally, arise out of real or imagined perceptions regarding inequitable and or unfair treatment, deprivation of economic equity and lack of even playing field for access to opportunities. Moreover, frustration emanating out of lack of compatible knowledge, market friendly skills and opportunities required to get going along the mainstream economic activity contributes towards creating a negative mindset. Extremism feeds heavily on these causes. In addition, stereotyping, discrimination and communal segregation are strong supplementary factors. Inadequate enfranchising of backyard communities into political system also breeds and accentuates pessimist attitudes leading towards extremism. Traditional agents of horizontal and vertical polarisations interact with these socio-economic as well as political inadequacies and create a complex mosaic that is conducive for breeding as well as ideological hardening of extremist cells. Once religious alignments lend themselves to become vehicles for processing, patronising and projecting extremism, the ideological hardening begins to draw its strength from the delusion of divine blessing. In such cases, use of military power as the only instrument to counter the extremism does not work; rather it enhances the number of sympathisers of militants. Moreover, this boosts the extremists churning sources, which go into surge production, both in terms of physical numbers and emotional hardening. Such environment provides an opportunity to the vested interests to coax the under-privileged groups towards harbouring a perpetual hatred towards the privileged ones. Later, this feeling is reinforced through emotional exploitation. Functioning of multiple education systems with divergent curricula also creates problems in the long run. Some curricula have comparative advantage over the others in the context of access to opportunities and power. On the lower end, there are curricula which do not prepare the students for smooth integration into mainstream socio-economic strata. Hence, over a period of time former students of inadequate curricula emerge as an under-privileged lot. Being alumni of a common educational system, they evolve and associate themselves with a group identity, based on their form of education. Frustration leads them to extremism en-block. Unfortunately, syllabi of most of our religious seminaries do not emphasise on imparting requisite enabling knowledge, skills and expertise to the students for their post school life. These schools would indeed do a great job if besides religious education, each student is enabled to master one skill, like mechanic, data entry operator, agriculturist, tailor etc. Otherwise, only a limited number of these boys can be accommodated in the available slots of teachers in religious schools or as prayer leaders in mosques. Top guys are absorbed in these limited slots and the remaining mass is left high and dry. What a frustration, in deed, to know at the end of years long education that they have nowhere to go, no job, and thus no social growth. The bubble created by the seminaries of imparting the best knowledge busts too soon, once these boys step into real life. Hence, once knowing the reality that they have rather limited socio-economic prospects, they are ripe for brainwashing to take up the holy (read unholy) tasks for ensuring at least better opportunities in the life hereafter. Of course, those not educated at all are worse off. They become a fodder for class struggle, that at times meshes into overall extremist conglomerate. Stereotyping the groups on the basis of ethnicity is another very potent source for extremist breeding. Though this factor is not very prominent in the current spate, we have had enough taste of this category of extremism as well. Ethnicity based extremism cuts across the conventional vertical strata of that particular community, however, breeding of extremists remains confined to the aggrieved community. Resistance against foreign occupation is another aspect that has the tendency of pushing the boundaries, of an otherwise legitimate struggle, to protrude into the realm of extremism. More often than not, the occupation forces term the freedom fighters as extremists. As activities of freedom fighters and extremists may produce similar end effects, the distinction between the two is a matter of respective political alignments. Both freedom fighters' struggle and extremist elements' actions tend to spill over to adjacent countries. Both are sustained by across the borders' support. Depending upon ethnic and political disposition of the people and governments of adjoining countries, these activities attract varying degree of support, jockeying between benign supports to active militant involvement. Pakistan is facing the brunt of spill over of Afghan freedom fighters since Russian occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, as well as the after effects of its current occupation by foreign forces. At times, fallout of a significant event of global magnitude instantly changes the perceptions about extremism, 9/11 and 7/7 events remarkably changed the concept of extremists and extremism. Islam was projected a near synonym of extremism and Muslims were portrayed as near equivalent of terrorists. Feeding on the faulty concept of clash of civilisations, the thesis was promoted in a remarkable concert by all haters of Islam and Muslims. This stereotyping still continues to haunt the Muslims, the world over. While countering extremism, states co-opt counter balancing segments of the society. At times, a portion of local population is drafted for combative role in counter-extremism campaign. This creates new alignments. If these armed gangs are not effectively demobilised at the end of counter-insurgency operation, they degenerate into thugs and their leaders become warlords. This situation sets into motion a new cycle of incubation for extremists. A shabby conclusion of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan presents a pertinent case study. Once post Soviet government was hurriedly cobbled together in Afghanistan, without demobilisation of armed bands, soon legendry mujahideen leaders turned opportunist warlords. It was a reactionary attitude against the bad governance by this government that resulted in the rise of Taliban, the current brand of extremists. Extremism is a hydra-headed monster; its breeding causes as well as sustaining factors are numerous. It comes to fore in various combinations. Hence, strategy to counter-extremism has to be specific for each setting. The writer is a retired air commodore