Pakistan's Tribal Lands: Central Front in the War Against the Global Islamist Insurgency
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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Al Qaedas safe haven in Pakistan is critical to its enduring ability to conduct global operations against the United States, its allies, and its interests. Reducing or eliminating that safe haven will have a significant impact on the organizations operational capacity. The United States must partner with the Pakistani government to further disrupt al Qaedas safe haven in the near-term while simultaneously conducting counterinsurgency COIN operations to roll back the spread of the Taliban in the long-term. Eliminating al Qaedas sanctuary in Pakistans tribal areas will not defeat the global Islamist insurgency, nor resolve the myriad issues in Pakistan, nor win the war in Afghanistan, but it is a prerequisite for all three. This paper first details al Qaedas safe haven in Pakistan and describes what the United States and Pakistan have done so far to address it. It then explores three approaches for combating al Qaeda in Pakistan 1 air policing, 2 co-opting local tribes, and 3 traditional COIN operations. Lastly, it recommends a set of guiding principles for developing a new strategy.
- Unconventional Warfare