Archive for October, 2008


Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (5)

5. Conclusion: Expanded, Long-Term U.S. Commitment Needed

The security challenges of Pakistan’s tribal areas lie at the center of broader regional and global threats to stability. The best way to meet these challenges is through enhanced partnership with the political and security institutions of the Pakistani state, and the best way to improve this cooperation is by planning, organizing, and budgeting for a decades-long U.S. commitment to the region. Pakistan’s recent history of turbulence and the threat of another 9/11-type attack provide a political impetus for significantly expanded action by the next White House.

The precise scale-in dollar terms-of U.S. assistance in Pakistan is not addressed in this report because the next administration should first undertake its own review of Pakistan’s civilian and security requirements. This sort of review would represent a healthy corrective from recent practice. Washington’s commitments to Pakistan after 9/11-President Bush’s five-year $3 billion package and the recent five-year $750 million pledge for the FATA-were driven by political and diplomatic concerns, not prior U.S. needs-based assessments. That said, in the context of building a stronger bilateral partnership, the next administration must also bear in mind the symbolic and political significance of fulfilling prior commitments to Islamabad. This report therefore recommends that the Bush administration’s pledges of $600 million per year (half civilian, half military) should serve as a baseline for new commitments. Additional funding may be needed to support the short- and long-term goals outlined throughout this report, from strengthening governance to building security institutions that are capable of a full range of counterinsurgency and counterter ror missions.
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Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (4)

4. A Long-Term, Phased Approach

Given the challenges and assumptions above, the United States should address the tribal areas through a phased approach, with immediate, short-term, and long-term components. These phases suggest a policy roadmap but are not strictly intended to prioritize resources since long-term projects will require up-front attention and funding, and urgent security threats may crop up over an extended timeframe.

A. Immediate: Manage The Most Urgent Security Crises In The Tribal Areas

For the United States, al-Qaeda is the single most urgent threat emanating from Pakistan’s tribal areas because it is the only group with the demonstrated desire and capacity to strike the U.S. homeland. Taliban leadership and foot soldiers engaged in organizing and conducting attacks on U.S. and ISAF/NATO forces in Afghanistan represent the second-most-immediate threat. Pakistani militants (such as TTP and TNSM) are an immediate but primarily indirect threat, since they offer safe haven and support to other dangerous groups while simultaneously undermining the stability of the Pakistani state.
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Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (3)

3. A Comprehensive Strategy

A. Facing Up To The Immensity Of The Challenge

The years since 9/11 have validated the fact that the pacification of Pakistan’s tribal belt represents a necessary (if insufficient) condition for eliminating al-Qaeda, enabling reconstruction in Afghanistan, and maintaining domestic stability in Pakistan. But the immense scale and complexity of this challenge is currently underappreciated in both Washington and Islamabad.

The Pakistani government lacks the political, military, or bureaucratic capacity to fix the tribal areas on its own. Islamabad’s civilian political leaders have little recent experience in dealing with a development and security initiative of this scale; at present, they appear far more concerned with skirmishing over power than developing an effective policy for the tribal areas. The pathological imbalance between civilian and military power at the national level continues to hinder stable, efficient governance, and, particularly over the past eighteen months, has prov ided a formula mainly for lurching from crisis to crisis.
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Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (2)

2. Background and Context

A. The Land And People Of Pakistan’s Tribal Belt

Harsh geography, poor education, and scarce infrastructure have tended to drive a wedge between Pakistan’s tribal belt and the rest of the nation.(2) With an estimated population of 3.5 million-out of a total Pakistani population of nearly 170 million-the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), at approximately 10,500 square miles, are roughly the same size as the state of Maryland and share nearly three hundred miles of border with Afghanistan. The entire
Pakistani-Afghan border runs 1,640 miles of difficult, widely differentiated terrain, from the southern deserts of Balochistan to the northern mountain peaks of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The FATA is the poorest, least developed part of Pakistan. Literacy is only 17 percent, compared to the national average of 40 percent; among women it is 3 percent, compared to the national average of 32 percent. Per capita income is roughly $250-half the national average of $500. Nearly 66 percent of households live beneath the poverty line. Only ten thousand workers now find employment in the FATA’s industrial sector. The FATA’s forbidding terrain further serves to isolate tribal communities from markets, health and education services, and many outside influences.
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Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (1)

Daniel Markey
Council on Foreign Relations
Special Report No. 36
August 2008



1. Introduction and Summary of Recommendations

2. Background and Context
A. The Land And People Of Pakistan’s Tribal Belt
B. Governing Institutions
C. Security Forces
D. Musharraf’s “Comprehensive Approach” And Post-Election Deal-Making
E. Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations
F. Mapping The Threats In Pakistan’s Tribal Areas
G. U.S. Policy In The Tribal Areas

3. A Comprehensive Strategy
A. Facing Up To The Immensity Of The Challenge
B. General Assumptions And Implications For U.S. Policy

4. A Long-Term, Phased Approach
A. Immediate: Manage The Most Urgent Security Crises In The Tribal Areas
– Counterterror Strikes
– Military Offensives, Law and Order, Border Control, and Negotiations
– Strategic Communications Gap
B. Short Term: Bring Rapid, Tangible Political Reforms And Economic Opportunities To Win Allies In The Tribal Areas
– Redressing Grievances to Undercut Extremist Appeal: Law and Order
– Redressing Grievances to Undercut Extremist Appeal: Governance
– Empowering Moderate Tribal Leaders
– Employing Young Men
C. Medium-To Long-Term Security: Build A Sustainable Pakistani Counterterror And Counterinsurgency Capacity
– Building More Effective Security Forces
– Enhancing the Legitimacy of Force
– Building Bilateral Confidence
– Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination
D. Medium-To Long-Term Political/economic: Transform Pakistan’s Tribal Areas
– FATA Integration
– Building an Economy
– The Business of Development

5. Conclusion: Expanded, Long-Term U.S. Commitment Needed
The Least Worst Option
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