The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a special report written by Daniel Markey – CFR’s senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia – entitled Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt [PDF].
The following is the ‘Introduction & Summary of Recommendations’:
Today, few places on earth are as important to U.S. national security as the tribal belt along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. The region serves as a safe haven for a core group of nationally and internationally networked terrorists, a training and recruiting ground for Afghan Taliban, and, increasingly, a hotbed of indigenous militancy that threatens the stability of Pakistan’s own state and society. Should another 9/11-type attack take place in the United States, it will likely have its origins in this region. As long as Pakistan’s tribal areas are in turmoil, the mission of building a new, democratic, and stable Afghanistan cannot succeed.
Nearly seven years after 9/11, neither the United States nor Pakistan has fully come to terms with the enormity of the challenge in the tribal belt. Washington has failed to convince Pakistanis that the United States has positive intentions in the region and is committed to staying the course long enough to implement lasting, constructive change. Pakistan, for its part, has demonstrated a disturbing lack of capacity and, all too often, an apparent lack of will to tackle head-on the security, political, or developmental deficits that have produced an explosion of terrorism and extremism within its borders and beyond. Islamabad’s conflicted views and priorities with respect to this fight have deep roots; for much of its history, the Pakistani state has employed militants as tools to project power and influence throughout the region.
In order to begin making progress in the tribal areas, the United States must build strong working relationships with Pakistani leaders and institutions, both military and civilian. The alternatives, ranging from reluctant, piecemeal cooperation to an outright rupture in bilateral relations, are bound to be far more costly and counterproductive to American interests over the long run. And despite the inevitable frustrations that will plague the U.S.-Pakistan partnership, it cannot be founded on coercive threats of U.S. sanctions or unilateral military activity. Such coercion is profoundly counterproductive because it empowers those in Pakistan who already suspect U.S. ill intentions and it undermines Washington’s real and potential allies in the Pakistani political system.
Rather than threats, Washington should employ a strategy of enhanced cooperation and structured inducements, in which the United States designs its assistance to bring U.S. and Pakistani officials closer together and provides Pakistan with the specific tools required to confront the threats posed by militancy, terrorism, and extremism.
In his first six months in office, the new U.S. president should articulate a formal, comprehensive vision for U.S. policy in the tribal areas, one that prepares both Americans and Pakistanis for a cooperative effort that extends to other facets of the bilateral relationship and will—even if successful—far outlast the next administration. The U.S. government should place Pakistan/Afghanistan second only to Iraq in its prioritization of immediate national security issues, and should move quickly to reassess assistance programming and to invest in U.S. personnel and institutions required for a long-term commitment to the region.
This report aims to characterize the nature of the challenges in Pakistan’s tribal areas, formulate strategies for addressing these challenges, and distill these strategies into realistic policy proposals worthy of consideration by the incoming administration. It
focuses mainly on U.S. policy, but recognizes that Washington’s choices must always be contingent upon Pakistan’s own course of action. The scope of this report is thus more constrained than exhaustive, and its recommendations for U.S. assistance programming
are intended to provide strategic guidelines rather than narrow prescriptions.
Read the whole report here.
H/T: Pakistan Policy Blog