Counter-Terrorism and Capacity Building - the Case of Afghanistan and Pakistan

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“It’s more than a war on terror. It’s the most decisive war of the 21st Century.” - George W. Bush

Seventeen years of conflict with terrorism has seen two prestigious countries brought to ruins. At the soul of these states intertwined with the troubling thread of terrorism, lies a history of peace and prestige. Afghanistan and Pakistan, often described as “brother states” at several world forums, now stand at the brink of calamity and long-running casualty. These are two countries that found their birth-right owing to the end of colonialism, and that which ensued after this was nothing short of unsolicited bloodshed, regime change and un-stabilizing wars.

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In 2001, the Afghan government, then under the command of the Taliban, was ousted by the United States of America’s (USA) Operation Enduring Freedom with the assistance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Since then, radicals are responsible for this region being more challenging than any other today, since 2001. Reconstruction and capacity building efforts as well as counterterrorism and counterinsurgent operations have lopsidedly existed ever since the disastrous 9/11 attacks. Revisiting things as they stand is of utmost importance, which is truly appreciated by the Administration.

The United States alongside ally nations, stays occupied in battle with a strong anti-Taliban-motivated rebellion. Our efforts are concentrated, which include extensive inter-agency intelligence and contingency operations as well as security management training and programmes aimed at subduing groups like the Taliban, alongside groups with expanding spheres of influence like the Islamic State, Haqqani Network and the Al Qaeda to name a few. While battle activities by the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) have expanded since 2017, support from the US Agency for International Development has declined owing to lack of production of tangible results by the Pakistan Government. These two complementary missions nevertheless make up Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS). The United States has contributed more than $126 billion in different tiers of assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan over the previous decade and a half, out of which nearly $ 90 billion has been directed towards the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) for monetary improvement.

From an economic and political viewpoint, Afghanistan and Pakistan’s success in the near future remains uncertain, if not negative, in lieu of ongoing hostilities. Irregularities need to be straightened, which is why the United States proposes a two-tiered solution in response to the same: a reformed counterterrorism strategy modeled after the Regional Strategic Initiative of the US Department of Defense. This must be provided with a public support base in Afghanistan to implement policies like community policing at the domestic level to improve civilian cooperation as well as third party reporting mechanisms to cut down on corruption. To this end, the State of Afghanistan must consider implementing a policy to cut down on spurious weapon supplies across the Durand Line from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The issue of the border itself can be solved by reconciliation between the states, via a Joint Commission mediated by neutral parties which the US would be more than grateful to spearhead. Thus, the world community may be unsure of what beholds, but the US strongly upholds the principle that may produce long strides towards resolving this issue: making all ends meet.

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