Counterterrorism help from Pakistan is insufficient, report finds
US officials recently praised Pakistan for taking the fight to extremist groups in its midst. Now, a report from the RAND Corp. says some official elements in Pakistan are still thwarting counterterrorism efforts – and that the US should withhold some aid as a result.
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Alleged links between the suspected Times Square bomber and another Pakistani militant group also figure in the RAND report. The indictment of Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American charged with attempting to detonate a car bomb in New York, states that Mr. Shahzad received explosives training in Pakistan from the militant group Tehrik-e-Taliban in December 2009.Skip to next paragraph
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Shadowy links between Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency and extremist organizations have long been part of Pakistan’s strategy toward its regional arch rival, India. Some US officials have claimed progress in convincing the Pakistanis that such ties must be cut not only for regional considerations but because the groups are becoming a threat to Pakistan’s own stability.
When Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, visited Washington in March, both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised Pakistan’s offensives into several militant strongholds – and offered the military drives as evidence that Pakistan deserved to see US aid expedited.
The RAND report comes out just as another study, by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, concludes that Pakistani authorities are in danger of losing control over Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous region.
The study, by AEI research assistant Ahmad Majidyar, says that while militant activity in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas has been an “irritant” to the Pakistani government, extremist-based instability in Punjab “would rock the Pakistani state to its core.”
The study finds evidence that the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda are increasingly “teaming up” with Punjabi militant organizations in an attempt to destabilize the country’s political and economic heart.
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