Failed US strategy led to rising number of terror plots: Report

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 22:47

Washington: The rising number of
terrorist plots in the US with links to Pakistan is partly a
result of an unsuccessful strategy by Islamabad and Washington
to weaken the range of militant groups operating there, a new
study has said.

The study "Counterinsurgency in Pakistan" by the
prestigious RAND Corporation, finds that militant groups
persist in the nation because Pakistani leaders continue to
provide support to some groups and have not yet developed an
effective counterinsurgency strategy that protects the local
population.
Based in Washington, RAND is frequently hired by
Pentagon.

The report is co-authored by Seth G Jones from the
RAND and Christine Fair of Georgetown University.

"While Pakistan has had some success halting militant
groups since 2001, these groups continue to present a
significant threat to not only Pakistan, but to the United
States and a host of other countries as well," said Jones.

"A number of militant networks--including al Qa`ida,
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad--remain entrenched in
Pakistan and pose a grave threat to the state and the region,"
Jones added.

In addition to al Qa`ida, numerous foreign and
domestic militant groups have established networks in the
Federally Administered Tribal Area, the North West Frontier
Province and other areas of Pakistan.

Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the attempted Times
Square car bombing, reportedly had ties to several groups,
such as Tehreek-E-Taliban Pakistan and the Haqqani Network,
the report said.

The report notes that Pakistan`s army and Frontier
Corps have failed to demonstrate a consistent ability to clear
and hold territory for long periods.
While Pakistan has undertaken a number of operations
against insurgent groups since 2001, the study finds the
successes are short-lived and do not address the long-term
threat.

Though, the Pakistani military has been successful
in some cases against extremist organizations, these efforts
are thwarted by Pakistan`s decision to support some militant
groups.

The country`s acquisition of nuclear weapons
emboldened its support to militant groups by dampening
concerns of retaliation by India, it said.

However, the policy of supporting militants
backfired after September 11, 2001, when militant groups,
including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, conducted terrorist
attacks in Pakistan, the report said.

Though in recent months there appear to be changes
in Pakistan`s policy as evidenced in the capture of senior
Taliban leaders such as Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, but it
remains unclear whether Pakistani leaders have made a
systematic break with militant groups, the report finds, it
observes.

"Pakistan has long used its support of militant
groups as a foreign policy tool, so ending that will take
time," Jones said.

"US leaders need to work with Pakistan on a timeline
with measurable benchmarks for success, as well as the
establishment of an enforcement mechanism through intelligence
collection. Military aid should be conditioned on success in
meeting these objectives," Jones added.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 22:47

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