Counter-Terrorism: On The Road Again

Archives

February 16, 2013: The tribal territories of Pakistan have been home to Islamic terrorists for over 30 years now. Over that time the ethnic composition of these religious zealots has changed. Back in the 1980s, when the holy way (jihad) against Russian troops in Afghanistan was at its height, there were nearly 5,000 foreign Islamic radicals in Pakistan to support the Afghan and Pakistani tribesmen fighting the Russians. Since then the number of foreigners has declined by at least half. But there are still about a thousand Arab Islamic terrorists up in the hills and even more from Central Asia. Despite all the Pakistani and American efforts in the last decade, new Islamic terrorists keep coming to Pakistan. Many die (not always violently, the tribal territories are an unhealthy place) and some move on to other countries. But Pakistan remains relatively hospitable to Islamic terrorists. For those Islamic radicals without a police record, there are hundreds of Islamic schools and Mosques where they can legally find shelter and support. For those terrorists who are known, and wanted for crimes, there are places in the tribal territories where one can find some shelter and sanctuary from the Pakistani police. North Waziristan is an official terrorist sanctuary, which Pakistan refuses to assert authority over. There are plenty of other places in the tribal territories, including rural areas on the other side of the border (in Afghanistan) where Islamic radicals can find refuge (if not much else).

The U.S. UAV operations and use of missiles to kill Islamic terrorists has been deadly, mainly for known Islamic terrorists and any unknown followers unlucky enough to be in the vicinity when the missile arrives. This has had a striking impact on the number of Western recruits for Islamic terrorism. A few years ago there were several hundred of these in Pakistan. But then their home countries publicized that they knew who many of these men were. That caused some 90 percent of these Western terrorists to leave. Many Islamic terrorist leaders have fled also, but for those who remain in Pakistan the threat of American missiles is less frightening than going home or to another questionable terrorist sanctuary. Most of these places, like Somalia, Yemen, and northern Mali, have lately become more dangerous for Islamic radicals. At least in North Waziristan you don’t have to worry about the local security forces and American missiles.

 

Article Archive

Counter-Terrorism: Current 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004

X

Save StrategyPage

Over the years, we have tried to keep in-your-face ads off our site. If our readers have complained about an ad, we have looked into it and 90% of the time removed the ad. Unfortunately, revenues from standard ads are just not enough to keep us alive.

What can you do to help resuscitate StrategyPage? There are three possibilities:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..

We appreciate any help you can give us.

Subscribe   Contribute   Close