- Bleak security outlook
Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan has had to pay a heavy price both in terms of loss of life and damage to the economy worth billions of dollars. Pakistan, under General Pervez Musharraf, became party to the American ‘War on Terror’ resulting in a severe upsurge in domestic and cross border terrorism. It took years of subsequent military operations to clear our badlands of terrorists but this marked improvement in the security situation of the country is quite fragile. Two days back parallel IED blasts claimed the lives of 20 security personnel. Yesterday a NATO convoy moving through Bara Tehsil of Khyber district in KP en route to Afghanistan came under attack by multiple armed men who stopped the two trailers carrying four Humvees and torched the vehicles. Although there was no loss of life, such an incident has taken place after more than a year indicates slippages in the intelligence apparatus of the country. That the target was equipment meant for US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan means that Pakistan-based militants who have made similar attacks are still active and able to remain under the radar before they strike.
Not too long ago, Afghan-based Taliban were able to take over Swat and were fast advancing towards Islamabad, which is when necessary action was taken to stop them. Zia-era militancy and years of harboring the enemy notwithstanding, the delayed action against the Taliban plunged the country into an avoidable war resulting in thousands of innocent lives being lost. Pakistan simply cannot afford a repeat of the events that led it to being in the security quagmire that it was for over two decades. This sudden uptick in the number of attacks is alarming and must be dealt with swiftly. As things stand, Pakistan is attempting to at least avoid the dreaded FATF black list and ideally be placed in the white list. Terrorist activity needs to be financed, which is exactly what Pakistan has been unable to stop leading to it being penalized by the FATF. All agencies, be it security or intelligence, must ramp up efforts to preempt these events rather than acting after the fact.