Pashtun Hold Key to Afghan-Pakistani Border Issues

Pashtun Hold Key to Afghan-Pakistani Border Issues

Lawless Afghan-Pakistani borderlands have emerged as a flash point between officials on both sides over who is responsible for bringing order to a known Taliban safe haven in the face of a gathering insurgency. The blame game ignores the reality that the "Pashtun belt" at ground level belongs to neither country, with a history of rejecting would-be occupiers.

The same rugged tribal areas that Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida operatives retreated to following the U.S.-led 2001 invasion to topple the Taliban have become a rear base for Taliban militants launching cross-border attacks against NATO-led security forces in Afghanistan with unprecedented frequency and boldness. And the failure to address the roots of alienation that make these areas sympathetic to Islamist militancy means destabilizing forces will always have a home to retreat to and regenerate.

Pakistan, a key ally in the Bush administration's war on terror, faces mounting pressure to contain the Taliban and al-Qaida militants operating within its borders. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz conceded last week that Taliban sympathizers are active in tribal areas along the border, but charged the crux of the problem lay with the Afghans, who are not doing enough to secure their own territory. Western intelligence agencies contend elements within Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence continue to actively support the Taliban.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review