AL-QAEDA IN PAKISTAN: HOW THIS SAFE HAVEN AND RELATIONSHIP IMPACTS INSURGENCY AND WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
Palarino, R. Nicholas
The war in Afghanistan is complex and there is no singular solution to resolve the conflict that exists there. However, there are certain factors that will drastically impact the future of it, especially concerning Afghanistan's relationship with Pakistan. Many argue that it is crucial to factor Pakistan into analysis and the potential of Afghanistan's success. More specifically, al-Qaeda in Pakistan is a top threat to the United States and its interests abroad. Al-Qaeda is resilient and adaptable. The safe haven they are awarded in Pakistan, along with the Taliban and other insurgent groups, creates a challenging situation. This thesis aims to identify the major struggles that stand before the international community concerning resolution in Afghanistan and the future of the war there.In order to validate my hypothesis, I analyzed and investigated how the presence of al-Qaeda in Pakistan impacts the insurgency and conflict in Afghanistan. First, I examined Pakistan's relationships with Afghanistan, the international community, the Afghan insurgency, and al-Qaeda. Each of these relationships has a significant influence on the current and future situation in Southeast Asia.Second, the tribes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are important to address because they account for the ambiguous area that exists between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This location includes districts in the east, south, and southwest regions of Afghanistan. Due to the large insurgent population, the FATA remains more violent and resistant to international aid, Counterinsurgency (COIN) tactic, and development.Third, the war in Afghanistan is the longest one the United States has been involved in to date, but we are still trying to implement and develop effective strategies. For the first few years, the United States' focus was slightly off-track and it took time to gain momentum. The delayed understanding has negatively impacted relations with Pakistan, but with the right tactics and focus we can overcome this. My thesis required a lot of research into historical and current literature to understand the role Pakistan can play in the future.While there is hope for a successful finish to the war in Afghanistan, the correct process is a slow one and Pakistan plays a vital part in many aspects of it. American and international policies must aim to maintain strong, positive ties with Pakistan in order to improve the situation in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism worldwide.