Afghanistan and Pakistan: High Stakes on the Frontier

In imperial times the British struggled to control the tribal lands on the border of what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Ayesha Khan

Associate Fellow, Asia Programme, Chatham House

The Soviets were also unable to dislodge those resisting its occupation. Now on the frontline of the ‘war’ on terror, America and its ally Pakistan are trying to contend with fighters of the same stock. The risk is that the current strong-arm tactic might drive the uncommitted into the hands of extremists and jeopardise the Afghan democratisation project in the process. The lessons of history in this frontier terrain have been ignored.

In a strategy dictated by deadlines and visible victories against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to buttress President George Bush’s credibility in the race for the American presidency, Pakistan’s campaign in its tribal areas, co-ordinated with American action in south eastern Afghanistan, opted for a heavy handed anvil and hammer military approach.

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