How Pakistan Warped into a Geopolitical Monster
“Twenty U.S.-designated terrorist organizations operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan subregion; seven of the twenty organizations are in Pakistan. So long as these groups maintain safe haven inside of Pakistan they will threaten long-term stability in Afghanistan. Of particular concern to us is the Haqqani Network (HQN), which poses the greatest threat to coalition forces operating in Afghanistan,” Gen. Joseph Votel said in his March 2017 posture statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“The Taliban and the Haqqani network are the greatest threats to security in Afghanistan,” Gen. John Nicholson said in his February 2017 statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Situation in Afghanistan. “Their senior leaders remain insulated from pressure and enjoy freedom of action within Pakistan safe havens. As long as they enjoy external enablement, they have no incentive to reconcile. The primary factor that will enable our success is the elimination of external sanctuary and support to the insurgents.”
After fifteen-plus years, the war in Afghanistan remains a strategic stalemate because defeating an enemy requires taking away its capacity and will. The coalition and Afghan forces have hit the enemy’s capacity year after year, but the Taliban’s will—their senior leaders, support, resources, rest, regeneration and arms—continue to benefit from sanctuary and support from Pakistan’s security establishment. In his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of this year, the theater commander, Gen. John Nicholson, stated that he believed the war in Afghanistan was a stalemate. It has been a strategic stalemate for at least the last ten years and arguably for the last fifteen years. The former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. John Vines, stated publicly as early as 2003 that the Taliban were benefiting from Pakistan’s sanctuaries to regroup. - More, Robert Cassidy