Dealing with militants


This is with reference to the news that Pakistan is seeking US help in stopping the terrorist groups from launching cross-border attacks inside the Pakistani territory from bases they have established in Afghanistan. This is a strange request that Pakistan is making. There are two reasons for me to say that. One – we have been receiving exactly the same kind of requests (accompanied with threats) from the US itself yet we were unable to help them. Two – it is difficult to believe that the US does not have this information already. It may not be in contact with the TTP groups, but surely it cannot be expected to be ignorant about the bases they have established inside Afghanistan. Haven’t the US drones that have engaged innumerable targets in FATA clearly demonstrated the US ability to track, locate and eliminate threats? If it has effectively done that on Pakistan side of the border, then why can’t it do the same on the Afghan side? Why terrorist groups that are ‘harboured’ in the safe havens on the Afghan side not meriting American attention? Is it because they pose no threat to the US and the coalition forces interests in Afghanistan. Are they not ‘the snakes in Kabul’s backyard’?
I doubt Pakistan will be able to achieve the help it seeks from US. I say that because US priority now is a safe retreat and honourable withdrawal from Afghanistan. Till the time Taliban on the Afghan side have their ‘guns pointed towards Pakistan’ it wouldn’t worry US military planners one bit as they only overlap and reinforce efficient US withdrawal against any threat emanating from Pakistan.
The solution lies in not planning to eliminate the threat from where it originates but engaging and destroying it before it reaches and threatens our interests inside our borders. When 1/3 of the Pakistan army and its resources are deployed across the western front then it is nobody but the army itself that needs to take up the challenge of securing our western borders. Insecurity lies not only in the border being breached but the inability of our army to withstand the attacks launched on its border posts or combat soldiers patrolling the border areas. Pakistan Army cannot allow the complete border posts from being overrun and combat troops from being captured/kidnapped without giving their best in the fight.
Pakistan Army may not be able to entirely prevent cross border attacks in near future. However, it can prevent the losses it suffers as a consequence of these attacks. For this it may have to look inwards and not towards US for support.