The US is likely to step up drone strikes in Pakistan after President Trump accused Pakistan of harboring and supporting jihadist groups last month.
The blow comes just two weeks after President Trump called out Pakistan for providing “safe haven” for terrorist groups operating in the region and advocated for closer ties with India.
For decades the country has permitted a number of jihadist groups to openly operate under its aegis. A map highlights the more prominent groups openly operating inside Pakistan.
Pakistan’s denial of harboring terrorist groups that conduct attacks outside of its borders falls flat on its face when looking at Lashkar-e-Taiba, which not only supports al Qaeda and the Taliban, but has executed numerous attacks inside of Pakistan’s neighbor and enemy, India, as well as in Afghanistan.
With words unprecedented for a US president, Trump called out Pakistan for harboring and supporting terrorist groups that target and kill US citizens and said there would be a radical change in policy toward the South Asian nation. Trump indicated the US would work to increase ties with India, Pakistan’s neighbor and greatest enemy, a move sure to both enrage as well as frighten Pakistani elites.
A complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan would have been disastrous. The US government needs to drastically reassess America’s jihadist enemies and avoid the policy pitfalls of the past.
The brief designation omitted Hizbul Mujahideen’s support for al Qaeda in the past, as well as its relations with other jihadist groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba. Hizbul Mujahideen’s emir was officially listed as a global terrorist in June 2017.
The Taliban has released an “open letter” to President Trump urging him to “adopt the strategy of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan instead of a troops increase.” The propaganda letter contains several erroneous or misleading claims. It is also disingenuous with respect to the jihadist threat emanating out of Afghanistan.