• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The War in Afghanistan: Taking on the Militant Groups in Pakistan

    Pakistan is a crucial state in U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Unfortunately, militant groups within Pakistan are currently using the state as an “operational safe haven where [they] can plan local, regional and international terrorist attacks,” hindering the U.S.’s endeavors. Al-Qaeda isn’t doing all the work on its own though. Yes, “al-Qaeda aims to destabilize the Pakistani government divert U.S. attention from the fight in Afghanistan and undermine Islamabad’s alliance with the United States,” but there also is mounting evidence that these groups receive assistance and protection from Pakistan’s intelligence service. Pakistan has even had the chutzpah to object to expand American combat operations in southern Afghanistan. Pakistani officials claim that the recent U.S. Marine operation to combat the Taliban in Helmand will force militants across the border into Pakistan, even though Pakistani military officials themselves have publicly admitted that they have not focused on cracking down on the Afghan Taliban leadership in and around Quetta, Pakistan.  Before the Pakistanis complain about Taliban foot soldiers crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan, U.S. officials might ask what they are doing to stop the leadership that provides the weaponry, guidance, financing, and legitimacy to those Taliban insurgents. Still, to this day Pakistan views those Taliban as a partner in supporting its regional interests.

    Cooperating with Pakistan in the war on terror is a continual struggle but also absolutely necessary. Not only does this Pakistan/militant-group relationship inhibit our ability to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan, it threatens the viability and long-term survivability of Pakistan itself, a nuclear-capable state. How can the U.S. stabilize Pakistan? As Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, has stated, the U.S. needs to condition its military aid to Pakistan to firm up their policies toward terrorism. Allowing Pakistan to continue to rely on zero-sum regional security calculations only fuels religious extremism and terrorism. Moreover, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship will become increasingly strained if Pakistan doesn’t cut off its connection with the militant extremist groups. Therefore, the U.S. must convince Pakistan to break these links, while providing assurances that the U.S. will not allow Pakistan’s core national security interests to suffer in the region.

    Complete removal of the radical training camps in Pakistan should be pursued as well. President Obama said the United States has made a “lasting commitment [that we] will not waver” in efforts to defeat extremists and support both the Pakistani and Afghan governments.  He needs to stay on course and take this critical issue head on. Without the cooperation of Pakistan, success in Afghanistan will not be possible.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to The War in Afghanistan: Taking on the Militant Groups in Pakistan

    1. Judy Arsham Clevelan says:

      Excellent blog on the PakistanAfghanistan situation !!!! So well written and factual with underlying passion that is refreshing. It is so true that we will never win the war in Afghanistan without taming Pakistani extremists. Come on Obama…Let's get going !!!!

    2. Pingback: The War in Afghanistan: Taking on the Militant Groups in Pakistan … | Global Security Blog

    3. quentin, oakland,ca says:

      Without an absolute Pakistani commitment to aggressively pursue, suppress and defeat the Taliban and other Islamic extremists using their nation as a sanctuary for ongoing terrorist jihad across its borders, the US may well find itself in a protracted decades long guerilla war and/or military occupation-(ref. Korea & Germany), leading at best to a deadly stalemate or at worst to a horrifying nuclear exchange. Pakistan must choose sides. Let's hope they make the right decision.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×