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73 Introduction: Emerging Trends and Developments in Pakistan’s FATA—Implications for the United States Robert G. Wirsing Robert G. Wirsing is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service at Qatar. Dr. Wirsing’s primary research interests focus on the contemporary politics, international relations, and defense and security issues of South Asia. His most recent book is Kashmir in the Shadow of War (2003). He can be reached at . 74 Executive Summary This introduction provides an overview of the challenges facing Pakistan’s counterinsurgency operations and development initiatives in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and draws implications for the U.S. Main Argument: Pakistan’s progress against the militants in the FATA—whether defined in military or developmental terms—requires changes in the country’s framework for comprehending the problem that are so fundamental as to be extremely unlikely. Part of the ineffectiveness of Pakistan’s security forces in combating militants in the FATA results from lack of training in and appropriate equipment for counter-insurgency warfare. Pakistan’s failure also stems from the fact that the country’s regional interests rule out sharply aggressive and sustained military action against the FATA’s predominantly Pashtun population—a population that Islamabad expects to rely on as an ally in future strategic contests in the region. Pakistan’s domestic political interests also stand menaced by military operations that might deepen popular disenchantment with the Pakistani state and military. Policy Implications: • The U.S. should understand that Pakistan’s competition for influence in the region and its domestic political interests outweigh the country’s interest in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. • The perception that the U.S.-led coalition and NATO military occupation of Afghanistan is the root cause of the FATA insurgency leaves the U.S. with few palatable policy options. • These options would be enhanced were the U.S. to recognize that there can be no meaningful change in the FATA without a basic change in its constitutional status and the gradual integration of the FATA into Pakistan’s mainstream polity. • It is important that the U.S. lend discrete but firm support to the phasing out of the seven political agencies inherited from the British colonial era; to the repealing of the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), the anachronistic legal framework that ensures routine and extensive abuse of power; and to the removal of all military and customs barriers to trade between the FATA, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the rest of Pakistan. • The U.S. should lend weight to the practically unavoidable attempts of the newly elected and civilian-led government in Islamabad to negotiate compromise agreements with important elements of the militant forces in the FATA. 75 wirsing T his introduction provides a U.S. perspective on the findings and analyses emerging in the following essays on the challenges facing Pakistan’s counterinsurgencyoperationsanddevelopmentinitiativesintheFederallyAdministered Tribal Areas (FATA). The first essay, authored by Ijaz Khan, addresses the challenges facing development in the FATA. The second essay, authored by Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, addresses the challenges facing a counter-militant campaign in the FATA. This introduction also examines recent political developments in Pakistan, including the extraordinary upsurge in suicide bombings and the ousting of President Pervez Musharraf’s “King’s party” in the 2008 parliamentary elections. This introduction further notes that important differences in the strategic outlooks of the United States and Pakistani governments regarding the FATA are becoming increasingly apparent. These differences have far-reaching consequences not only for Pakistan’s regional and domestic political interests but also for U.S. policy. The introduction is divided into three sections: a contrastive analysis of the key findings of the two essays, including the salient points of agreement and disagreement; the presentation of a U.S. perspective on these findings; and a concluding section with policy implications for the United States. Key Findings of the Essays Points of Agreement Khan and Cheema understand the circumstances of the FATA very differently and tackle these circumstances from different angles. In fact, the authors seem agreed on only two important points. First, the authors agree that militancy in the FATA has reached dangerous dimensions. Second, Khan and Cheema agree that no strictly military solution to the problem is at hand, either because Pakistan lacks the will or capacity to attempt such a solution (according to Khan) or because a more aggressive military effort would likely worsen matters (according to Cheema). Both authors argue that Pakistan’s security forces should...


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