Terror won't end with Uncle Sam's exit

The struggle to end terrorism and intolerance will continue after the Americans leave. Our problems are internal.

Nadir Eledroos June 03, 2011
Facing a resurgent wave of violence after the Abbottabad operation, our government, that is the military, is facing internal pressure to defy the United States’ (US) demands and reclaim our sovereignty. At the same time, it is being pulled in the opposite direction by our chief benefactor, the US.

The line of argument, simple, yet repeated so often to have become a sacred mantra, is to demand that the US withdraw from Afghanistan, and Pakistan should seize to support her. By doing so, the Taliban would no longer have any justification to continue fighting. It’s neat and simple, yet its sheer simplicity betrays either naivety or political opportunism. Ninety days in power and an end to terrorism?

There is no doubt that the US policy in Afghanistan has aggravated grievances. Terrorism, especially suicide attacks are a form of asymmetric warfare, which both acknowledges the superior military capabilities of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and the stubborn resolve of the Afghan Taliban.

So if drone attacks end and Isaf withdraws, will terrorism in Pakistan come to an end?

I believe not. A hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan would quickly see the Afghan Taliban and the Northern Alliance return to violence. The Afghan National Army (ANA) could either disintegrate splitting trained soldiers and weaponry into the hands of warring factions, or alternatively the ANA could become a third faction in a bloody civil war as the government in Kabul attempts to assert her authority.

The Taliban would portray any withdrawal as a victory, which would leave the Afghan government vulnerable. That said, there is little evidence to suggest that the Afghan people view the Taliban as ‘freedom fighters’ with any mass popular support. Importantly, many Afghans believe that the Taliban are proxies of the Pakistani security establishment, and any return of the Taliban to power, will turn Afghan public opinion against us.

The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have developed sophisticated networks of raising finance, through donations flowing in from the Middle East, extortion, kidnapping and smuggling across Pakistan. The development of parallel judicial and administrative systems in parts of Fata suggests that the Taliban have long term plans for the region. Propaganda, indoctrination, fanning extremism via madrassas and hate literature has become ubiquitous. Are we so naïve to believe that an American withdrawal will be followed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) giving up years of accumulated power?

The rise of “Mullah Radio” in Swat was a direct challenge to the Pakistani state. Maulana Fazlullah sought to create an Islamic state in the valley, guided by his and his ilk’s interpretation of Islam. Do we actually believe that people such as him who believe that the Pakistani constitution is an unholy abomination would simply give up their struggle once America leaves?

Will groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Jandullah, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Sunni Tehrik lay down their arms?

Will sectarian acts of terrorism come to an end?

What about terrorist attacks on Ahamdis and Christians?

Or, are they also motivated by drone attacks?

The state and certain non-state actors have helped create the conditions that have allowed militant organisations to thrive across the country, enabling them to fundraise, hold rallies and openly flaunt the law. That helps explain why people like Mumtaz Qadri get garlanded and Osama Bin Laden prefixed with ‘Shaheed.’

They are no short term solutions to end terrorism. Decades have passed laying the foundations of those enabling conditions that allow militant organisations to flourish.

The struggle to end terrorism and intolerance will continue well beyond the date that the Americans leave. For the past decade, we as a nation have communicated to terrorist organisations that, while we may not condone their actions, we hate America more. With America defeated, terrorism, a tool employed to bring down a superpower, is unlikely to be shunned.
Nadir Eledroos Nadir teaches Economics at Bellerbys College, London and is interested in Pakistani politics and current affairs. He tweets @needroos (https://twitter.com/needroos)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Khurram | 11 years ago | Reply The tacit support of Imran Khan for the Taliban by asking our security forces to lay down arms and withdraw from our own territories and asking the US to leave to provide enough space for these extremists to extend their agenda is VERY VERY strange to say the least!!
hariharmani | 11 years ago | Reply The sub-continent is a over populated ,poor,illitrate or at best semi illitrate vast land for milinium been ravaged by invaders,decease,superstition ,foriegn cultures exploiting the society for endless times.In middle of 20th century the end of second world war left western powers broke and they left,and the vast land had no experience in able accountable govt to rule,they only replaced one set foreighners with only local tyraniical rulers who had mastered the art of divide and rule,this has been going on for last 63 years,various sects,religious so called shaikhs,mullahas,babas and assorted terrorist organisation has come to fore,with Islamic sounding names to fool and confuse simple religious masses,Islam,because of its Intolleant roots are more readily victim,case in point all most all islamic countries in middle-east,indonesia,most part of India ,Pakistan,Iran and no country is untouched,Muslims all over look for reasons everywhere but themselves and if they did,they will find the unpleasant truth,and the truth lies in the way Islam,and the Quran is understood,praticed and the role it has in every day life,it is very complicated,it is like the way Popes and the Church ruled before the reformation in 15th and beginning of 16th century,the west took the bull by horn,with bloodshed,wars and revolution brought very painful changes and today you see the western civilization has peace,stabelity,rule of law,democracy and aboue all prosperity,basic water,food,good roads health care and freedom and leisure to pursue other activity of life like art,music and science,while we are stuck killing each other in name of more perfect "SO CALLED MORE ISLAMIZATION. or more stricter verision of it,I'm no follower of any organised religion,have a religion which was given to me by birth,which I neither want or get rid off,this my take on "Sub-continent,particulaly Pakistan,that is what ails this society,and there is no easy solution or way out,only "TIME and more suffering untill we have the courage to bring change,at least face it and first admit it and own it.
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