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