Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Report: Militancy in Pakistan’s Borderlands: Implications for the Nation and for Afghan Policy

The Century Foundation - New Publications:
Militancy in Pakistan’s Borderlands: Implications for the Nation and for Afghan Policy
by Hassan Abbas
New York, October 22nd, 2010:

As part of a series of expert papers commissioned to inform the work of its International Task Force on Afghanistan in Its Regional and Multilateral Dimensions, as well as the broader national and international debate on Afghanistan policy, The Century Foundation announces publication of a new monograph exploring the Pakistan’s ambivalent policies toward Islamic militants in its borderlands and the implications for international efforts in Afghanistan.

President Obama, in first introducing his policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan in March of 2009, called their shared border region “ the most dangerous place in the world.” This timely paper provide a critical perspective on past Pakistani policy toward militant groups, the growth of their influence in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Kyber Pukhtunkhwa Province (KPP), and what steps need to be taken in order to reverse their momentum. Militancy in Pakistan’s Borderlands: Implications For The Nation And For Afghan Policy, written by noted Pakistan analyst Hassan Abbas, is a sharp-edged assessment of Islamabad’s erratic efforts to assert authority in this volatile and historically autonomous region.

More From Militancy in Pakistan’s Borderlands:

• Pakistan’s discriminating relationships with militant groups. Pakistan’s security forces are still fighting a selective war against insurgent elements in these areas. “Clearly, Pakistan’s military leadership distinguishes between obvious threats, such as those in the TTP, and the looming danger of well-armed religious radicals in other networks, such as militants affiliated with the Haqqani network. Pakistan deserves credit for conducting increasingly aggressive operations against militants in FATA, especially since the beginning of 2009, but the scope of Pakistan’s targets are still limited to anti-government fighters, generally grouped under the TTP umbrella.”

• The Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. Abbas questions the conventional assumptions on operational control over Taliban on both sides of the Durand Line. “Contrary to the general belief in policy circles in the United States, those Taliban leaders who are living or hiding in Pakistan have limited control over the decision-making among Taliban operating on the ground in Afghanistan.”

• The prospects for peace. He is deeply skeptical of the currently trajectory of U.S. and NATO policy in the region, which has so far failed to bring stability or security to either nation. “The Western ‘nation-building’ project in Afghanistan has largely failed, and a major overhaul of policy is needed. Anyone who believes that the Taliban will sign a surrender document or will compromise their basic goals (achieving a dominant role in society and establishing an authoritarian state) is living in a fool’s paradise.”

• Pakistan’s next steps. Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership will have to transition from a short-term strategy of deal-making and army offensives to a long-term political solution that will erode the gains made by militant groups in these areas since 2002. “In the case of Pakistan, its counterinsurgency operations will have to be complemented by substantive political reform in FATA, as already promised in 2009 by the democratic leadership of the country. Implementation of political reform would allow secular political parties to compete in elections there, thus increasing political participation and accelerating reform of the draconian colonial-era laws.”

For complete report, click here
Pakistan struggles to hold gains against Taliban - Washington Post
Taliban negotiates to gain access to key Pakistan area - BBC
Abdullah Abdullah: Talks With Taliban Futile - NPR
Afghan lawmaker: Karzai in talks with Haqqani - AP

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