US-Pakistan Joint Efforts Against Terrorism: Opportunities and Challenges

The United States and Pakistan's counterterrorism operations have relied heavily on intelligence sharing and coordination.

3 mins read
File photo of Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed (right) while he was the country’s spymaster with then prime minister Imran Khan. [Photo credit: aajenglish.tv]

In 2022, terrorist acts caused the deaths of over 643 individuals, a 120% increase over 2021 in Pakistan. Extremist organizations that resort to violence to further their political or religious agendas are a persistent source of terrorism in the modern era. These terrorist organizations often attack unarmed bystanders, leading to extensive devastation and unrest.

When it comes to fighting terrorism, relations between the United States and Pakistan have a tumultuous past. Pakistan has received substantial financial and military backing from the United States since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. In return, Pakistan has helped the United States in various anti-terrorism operations, leading to the detention of some prominent terrorists.

Terrorist groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda are based there and threaten not just Pakistan but also the United States. The advent of the Islamic State (ISIS) in recent years has further complicated the already precarious security situation in the area. The United States and Pakistan need to work together if they want to win the fight against terrorism.

To combat terrorism in the region, this article will investigate potential areas of cooperation between the United States and Pakistan. Increased information sharing and coordination, strengthened border security measures, increased capability in law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and tackling terrorism’s underlying causes will be the article’s primary focus.

The Opportunities for United States and Pakistani Cooperation:

The United States and Pakistan’s counterterrorism operations have relied heavily on intelligence sharing and coordination. The United States has exchanged information on terrorist groups operating within Pakistan, while Pakistan has informed the United States about its activities and the terrorist risks in the area. Yet, development is possible here. The United States (US) may help Pakistan improve its intelligence-gathering skills by providing it with cutting-edge technology and training, while Pakistan can help the US by providing it with more timely and accurate information.

The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is lengthy and poorly patrolled, making it easy for terrorists and weapons to slip into neighboring countries. More manpower and technological resources stationed at the border may go a long way toward solving this problem. Pakistan may take efforts to strengthen its border infrastructure and administration, while the United States can offer equipment and training to boost Pakistan’s border security capabilities.

To combat terrorism in the area, it is essential to strengthening local law enforcement and intelligence institutions. Pakistan’s law enforcement and intelligence services may benefit from training and tools provided by the United States to improve its ability to detect and react to terrorist threats. Reforms to decrease corruption and promote accountability are two examples of what Pakistan may do to boost the professionalism and efficiency of its law enforcement and intelligence institutions.

Challenges to US-Pakistani Cooperation:

The disparity in interests and goals between the United States and Pakistan is a key obstacle to their collaborative efforts against terrorism. The United States has important strategic interests in the area, including maintaining peace and order, countering international terrorism, and safeguarding its regional allies. Pakistan, on the other hand, has its national interests, including the protection and promotion of Pakistani sovereignty, economic growth, and security.

Because of their divergent goals, the two nations may find themselves at odds with one another. Pakistan, for instance, has been blamed by the United States for funding terrorist groups. Pakistan, on the other hand, claims the United States violates its sovereignty by conducting drone attacks within its territory and refuses to acknowledge Pakistan’s achievements in the battle against terrorism.

Terrorism-fighting operations are complicated by mistrust and misunderstanding between the United States and Pakistan. There have been mutual accusations of lack of transparency, broken promises, and withheld information from both sides. For instance, the United States has accused Pakistan of not providing enough information on terrorist operations in the area, while Pakistan has accused the United States of not providing enough early notice of drone attacks. Such misunderstandings and hostility might impede the two nations’ ability to work together to counter the terrorist threat.

The United States and Pakistan’s ability to work together in the fight against terrorism may be hampered by domestic political issues in both countries. Cooperation between the United States and Pakistan may be hampered by the country’s political instability, corruption, and the presence of extremist organizations inside the government. Internal politics in the United States can impact the country’s foreign policy and the way it interacts with Pakistan. Some American legislators, for instance, have argued that assistance cuts to Pakistan are warranted because of the country’s perceived lack of resolve in the war on terror. These kinds of activities may put a strain on US-Pakistan relations and make it harder for the two countries to work together to combat the terrorist threat.

Several terrorist organizations continue to carry out attacks in Pakistan and the broader South Asian area, highlighting the need of overcoming obstacles. Failure to properly cooperate might lead to increased instability and bloodshed, which is why the United States and Pakistan have a shared interest in addressing this danger.

When the United States and Pakistan work together successfully to combat terrorism, it may have positive ripple effects beyond just those two countries. Efforts to combat terrorism may also help curb the spread of extremist ideas and strengthen communities.

Less collaboration, the expansion of extremist organizations, and an increase in bloodshed and instability in the area are all possible outcomes if the United States and Pakistan fail to solve the difficulties plaguing their strategic alliance. It might also lead to a deterioration in ties between the two nations, which would have far-reaching repercussions for international harmony.

To meet the difficulties and assure long-term collaboration, it is crucial to keep up the efforts to enhance the strategic partnership for counterterrorism. More regional stability, more rapid economic growth, and warmer connections with other countries are only some of the possible outcomes of effective collaboration in the fight against terrorism. The sustained dedication of both nations to working together towards these shared objectives is crucial to the success of these initiatives.

Muhammad Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global village space, Global defense insight, Global Affairs, and modern diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

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