Security and the Environment in Pakistan
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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This report focuses on the nexus between security and environmental concerns in Pakistan that have the potential to affect American security and foreign policy interests. Environmental concerns include, but are not limited to, water and food scarcity, natural disasters, and the effects of climate change. Environmental stresses, when combined with the other socio-economic and political stresses on Pakistan, have the potential to further weaken an already weak Pakistani state. Such a scenario would make it more difficult to achieve the U.S. goal of neutralizing anti- Western terrorists in Pakistan. Some analysts argue that disagreements over water could also exacerbate existing tensions between India and Pakistan. Given the importance of this region to U.S. interests for many reasons, the report identifies an issue that may be of increasing concern for Congress in the years ahead. The report examines the potentially destabilizing effect that, when combined with Pakistans demographic trends and limited economic development, water scarcity, limited arable land, and food security may have on an already radicalized internal and destabilized international political security environment. The report considers the especially important hypothesis that the combination of these factors could contribute to Pakistans decline as a fully functioning state, creating new, or expanding existing, largely ungoverned areas. The creation, or expansion, of ungoverned areas, or areas of limited control by the government of Pakistan, is viewed as not in U.S. strategic interests given the recent history of such areas being used by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups as a base for operations against U.S. interests in the region. In this sense, environmental stress is viewed as a potential threat multiplier to existing sources of conflict.
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