The Pakistan-Afghanistan Crisis – Major Factors and Emerging Threats

Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 569,  December 4, 2009

By: Tufail Ahmad *

Introduction

I. Pakistan's Conflicted Approach to the Militants and the Role of the Military-Led Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

• Pakistan's Secular Government Signs Shari'a-For-Peace Deal with the Taliban Despite Its Opposition to the Militants' Total Ban on Girls' Education

• Pakistan's Reluctance to Act Against Militants is Due to Anti-Americanism and the Need to Use Them As Proxies

• Pakistani Military Strategy: Using Shari'a-for-Peace Deal As a Tool to Put the

Taliban into Power in Afghanistan

• The Pakistani Military Acts Only Against Those Militants Who Defy its Control

II. Militant Hotspots in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Region

• Main Taliban Strongholds in Pakistan

• Sunni Militant Organizations in Punjab Province and Their Taliban and Al-Qaeda Connections

• Militant Strongholds in Afghanistan

• The Strength of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda

III: Critical Differences in Pakistani Public Opinion

• The English-Language Media: Liberal But Inconsequential

• Military-Led Nationalism: Liberal But Inconsistent

• The Joint Worldview of the Religious-Military Establishment

• Anti-Americanism Shaped by the Religious-Military Establishment

• Pro-Establishment Public Opinion: Anti-U.S., Anti-Israel, Anti-India, Anti-West

• Anti-Taliban Pakistani Opinion Realigns with the Military; Government and Liberals Remain Isolated

IV. Al-Qaeda's Decades-Long Interactions With Sunni Militant Organizations in Punjab Province

• A Natural Ideological Alliance – Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Others

• Captured Militant Muhammad Aqeel's Army Connection

• Three Generations of Jihadist Organizations in Punjab

• Sipah-e-Sahaba

• Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

• Jaish-e-Muhammad

• The Amjad Farooqi Group

• Lashkar-e-Taiba

Conclusions: The Emerging New International Jihadist Network That is Bound to Hit the West

Introduction

The following report examines current and emerging militant threats in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and their likely consequences for regional and international security. The report examines the strength of militant organizations in this region, and of the Sunni jihadist organizations in Punjab province, based primarily on Pakistani media sources and on how Pakistani leaders look at various contemporary problems that they face.

The report also reveals the connections between various militant organizations, showing that the link between Al-Qaeda and leaders of the Sunni jihadist organizations in the Punjab province of Pakistan have been in existence for over a decade and are growing by the day. These inter-connections reveal that the Punjab-based jihadist networks have emerged as today's Al-Qaeda.

Also discussed are the following: the persisting terror threats to Pakistan's nuclear weapons; Punjab-based Al-Qaeda-linked militants' and Kashmiri militant groups' training with the Taliban in the Pakistani tribal region, as part of the jihad against the U.S./NATO troops in Afghanistan; Taliban militants' coming to Pakistani cities to find shelter and to regroup, due to Pakistani military operations; transformation of Al-Qaeda as a multi-ethnic network and its recent recruitment of fighters from European countries such as Sweden and Germany; the identification of a U.S. national in a recent jihadist video; and revelations about Pakistani militant groups' ability to use American and Canadian citizens of Pakistani origin in hatching terror plots in Denmark and India.

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