The Need For Continual Pakistan-US Engagement In Anti-Terrorism Efforts – OpEd
Terrorism and violent extremism have plagued Pakistan for decades, causing regional instability and damaging the country’s economic and social fabric. Terrorism has expanded across Pakistan because of the country’s geographic location and because of the continuing war in Afghanistan.
In 2022, terrorist acts claimed the lives of over 643 individuals, a 120% increase over 2021. Terrorism is a worldwide problem that can only be solved by concerted international efforts. As transnational terrorism has grown in prominence and terrorism has moved across borders, it has become abundantly evident that no one nation can effectively combat this threat on its own.
There is a long tradition of collaboration between Pakistan and the United States in the war against terrorism. Pakistan became an important ally in the global fight on terror after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The United States assisted Pakistan militarily and monetarily in its fight against terrorism, and the two nations collaborated closely to disrupt terrorist networks in the area.
Terrorism in its present form in Pakistan:
Terrorist strikes in Pakistan have killed dozens of people over the last several years, including civilians, soldiers, and government officials. Assassinations, shootings, and even suicide bombers have all been used in these assaults. A school in Peshawar administered by the Pakistani army was attacked by the Taliban in 2014, killing 132 students and nine teachers.
Attacks on companies and infrastructure have resulted in substantial financial losses for the Pakistani economy, which has been severely impacted by terrorism. Travel, FDI, and commerce have all taken a hit as a result of people being afraid to leave their homes. Thousands of Pakistanis, including civilians and security personnel, have lost their lives as a result of terrorism.
The bulk of terrorist acts in Pakistan has been carried out by extremist organizations including the Pakistani Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS. These organizations have recruited members and spread violence by capitalizing on social and economic injustice, religious sectarianism, and political unrest. Terrorism prevention is made more difficult by the fact that certain terrorist organizations obtain backing from states.
Pakistan’s economy, society, and security have all been negatively impacted by the country’s ongoing struggle against terrorism. As long as this global danger persists, international collaboration and collective action are essential, and Pakistan and the United States’ joint anti-terrorism operations will continue to play a significant role in ensuring the safety and security of the area.
Anti-terrorist cooperation between the United States and Pakistan:
The United States and Pakistan formed strategic cooperation after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The United States assisted Pakistan monetarily and militarily to destroy regional terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The United States promised to supply Pakistan with funding if Pakistan would offer intelligence and military help.
The apprehension of prominent terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the destruction of terrorist groups in the area are only two examples of the fruitful results of US and Pakistani collaboration. Nonetheless, there have been substantial constraints on the partnership. The United States has been blamed for drone attacks that have resulted in civilian fatalities, while Pakistan has been accused of providing safe havens for terrorists.
The United States and Pakistan have struggled to work together due to several factors, including the nations’ competing priorities. Pakistan has tried to strike a middle ground between the United States and its national security concerns. Drone strikes, sharing information, and Pakistan’s level of cooperation in anti-terrorism operations are all points of contention because of the underlying lack of trust between the two nations.
Sustaining joint anti-terrorism operations between Pakistan and the United States:
Terrorism continues to pose a serious problem for Pakistan and the surrounding area. Security and stability in the area remain at risk due to the presence of terrorist organizations like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS. The United States and Pakistan must continue working together to combat this issue. Terrorism cannot be defeated unless the underlying roots of extremism in Pakistan are dealt with. Resolving economic and social problems, encouraging religious tolerance, and stabilizing the political system all fall under this category. To solve these systemic problems, Pakistan and the United States must work together over the long term.
Persistent cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in the fight against terrorism has the potential to bring about long-term advantages, such as the improvement of regional stability and security. The protracted violence in Afghanistan and the difficulty of combatting violent extremism are two regional challenges that may benefit from more collaboration.
The Future of U.S.-Pakistani Cooperation in the fight against terrorism:
There has been some collaboration between Pakistan and the US in the fight against terrorism in the past, but the two countries should do more. The timely and correct dissemination of intelligence is essential in the fight against terrorism. To stop jihadists from entering Pakistan from Afghanistan, the United States and Pakistan should work together to strengthen border security. The capabilities of Pakistan’s law enforcement and intelligence organizations must also be increased to increase their efficiency in fighting terrorism.
Pakistani-American counterterrorism collaboration relies heavily on mutual trust between the two countries. If you want to build trust with someone, you need to listen to their worries and help them out. Pakistan has made great strides in combating terrorism inside its borders, and the United States should give the nation credit for its efforts. Concerns raised by the United States over the existence of terrorist organizations such as the Taliban and the Haqqani network on Pakistani territory must also be addressed.
The United States and Pakistan have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show the world the power of multilateral collaboration in the fight against terrorism. Their cooperation may set an example for similar efforts in the area. Together, the United States and Pakistan can combat terrorist organizations and strengthen security in the area. Together, efforts in economic growth, education, and social services may reduce the radicalization of young people and make society as a whole more secure.
Terrorism in the area has been fought in large part because of the cooperation of the United States and Pakistan. Some prominent terrorists have been eliminated thanks to collaboration, which has overcome many obstacles. Maintaining US-Pakistan counterterrorism collaboration has implications beyond the two nations, providing a template for future anti-terrorism initiatives in the area.
Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at National Defense University. His interests include history, politics, and current affairs. He has been published in the London Institute of Peace and Research, South Asian Journal, Diplomatic Insight, International Policy Digest, Sri Lanka Guardian, Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, And Modern Diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at [email protected]