Know your enemy

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The first essential in war on terrorism

Knowing your enemy in a war is winning the war. Sun Tzu said it centuries ago but an understanding of the enemy is precisely what we lack in our fight against terrorism. We don’t know what it is capable of and what its strategy is. What we do know is that it is an enemy we cannot make peace with from a weaker position. Otherwise, it will keep coming after us. As a matter of fact, we have witnessed this behaviour more than once in our bid to negotiate peace with them.

Two recent attacks have driven this point home. As many as 20 FC personnel were abducted while one lost his life during an attack in Tank while nine were killed in a suicide attack in Bannu. If the government was a bit shaky about controlling these terrorists during their most active (read violent) days, it has now lost its touch with reality totally. Instead of squeezing them out by limiting the room the terrorists have, our security paradigm shifted its focus to matters more immediate in nature, particularly the equation with the US. It started going downhill with the Raymond Davis affair and was worsened by the OBL raid that burst open the widening gap between the US and Pakistan. It showed the chasms in intelligence sharing and differences on how to hunt down Al-Qaeda leaders and whatever remnants are left of its second tier leadership, along with its foot soldiers. Particularly, after the 26 November Nato attack, facing stiff resistance from the civil and military leadership of Pakistan, the US has suspended its drone attacks campaign in the Waziristans, allowing an opportunity to the terrorists to regroup and launch offensives against FC personnel and other security apparatus present there.

Howsoever we look at the situation, the cooperation between the US and Pakistan on intelligence sharing and hunting down terrorists needs to reboot albeit with certain checks so as to avoid any incident that causes further cracks in this thin ice of a relationship. If these terrorists, who so often renegade on their promises of a truce – TTP spokesman Asmatullah Shaheen had once announced reconciliation with the government, are not taken head on with a well-rounded long term policy, no one can predict when peace will visit these shores.