Pakistan, the terrorism incubator of the United States


Despite the proven fact of Pakistan being known to the world as an ultra-Islamist country with continuous records of persecuting religious minorities, key figures sitting at Washington’s mighty offices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pentagon and others have extreme bias towards Pakistan. One of the key factors behind such illicit romance between Washington and Islamabad is – for years American policymakers have been using Pakistan as an incubator of terrorism as well as a fertile through which it succeeds in scaring neighboring nations and forcing them in spending hundreds of billions of dollars towards “countering terrorism” as well as buying American military hardware – sometimes twice or even thrice the actual market price. By using Pakistan as the incubator of terrorism, the United States has been making tons of cash both for its military industrial corporation as well as secret bank accounts of powerful politicians – including those sitting at White House and State Department.

Because of Pakistan’s continuous tendencies of funding and patronizing terrorism, almost after two decades of Washington’s laving financial help to Pakistan, in 2021 Trump administration suspended military aid – as the United States has long been frustrated with Pakistan’s persistent acquiescence to safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and its vicious Haqqani Network branch in Pakistan (both of which benefit more from mis-governance in Afghanistan, but Pakistan’s aid helps a lot). Worse yet, Pakistan has provided direct military and intelligence aid to both groups, resulting in the deaths of US soldiers, Afghan security personnel, and civilians, plus significant destabilization of Afghanistan.

Previous US efforts since the 9/11 attacks to persuade Pakistan to crack down – through military and economic largess, as well as through punitive measures – have failed.

Pakistan, an incubator of terrorism

Pakistan is infamous for its state-sponsored terrorism, which began right on the day of its creation on August 14, 1947. Pakistan has been frequently accused by various countries, including its neighbors Afghanistan, India and Iran, as well as by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France of involvement in a variety of terrorist activities in both its local region of South Asia and beyond.

Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions along the Afghanistan–Pakistan border have been described as an effective safe haven for terrorists by Western media and the United States Secretary of Defense, while India has accused Pakistan of perpetuating the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir by providing financial support and armaments to militant groups, as well as by sending state-trained terrorists across the Line of Control and de jure India–Pakistan border to launch attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and India various states inside India respectively.

According to an analysis published by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in 2008, Pakistan was reportedly, “with the possible exception of Iran, perhaps the world’s most active sponsor of terrorist groups… aiding these groups that pose a direct threat to the United States. Pakistan’s active participation has caused thousands of deaths in the region; all these years Pakistan has been supportive to several terrorist groups despite several stern warnings from the international community”.

Daniel Byman, a professor and senior analyst of terrorism and security at the Center For Middle East Policy, also wrote that, “Pakistan is probably 2008’s most active sponsor of terrorism”.

In 2018, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, suggested that the Pakistani government played a role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group.

In July 2019, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, on an official visit to the United States, acknowledged the presence of some 30,000–40,000 armed terrorists operating on Pakistani soil. He further stated that previous administrations were hiding this truth, particularly from the United States, for the last 15 years during the War on Terror.

The United States’ State Sponsors of Terrorism designation list describes Pakistan as a “terrorist safe haven” where individual terrorists and terrorist groups are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit, and operate in relative security because of inadequate/supportive governance, political will, or both.

Al Qaeda kingpin Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, was killed by US Navy SEALs during Operation Neptune Spear at his compound near the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Although it had evidently proved – Pakistan was also harboring world most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden – instead of punishing Islamabad, Washington had surprisingly applauded Pakistan’s role in nabbing Laden. Despite this proven fact, Washington considers Islamabad as a key ally in fighting terrorism. It may be mentioned here that, in 1993, the US Secretary of State included Pakistan on the 1993 list of countries which repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism.

Most of the counterterrorism experts as well as security officials believe that Pakistan has been playing double-standard – as arsonist and fire fighter, meaning – on the one hand, demonstrating to help curtail terrorist activities while on the other, stoking it in the fight against terror. Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid and author Ted Galen Carpenter have accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of providing help to the Taliban and terrorists in Kashmir.

Author Gordon Thomas said, whilst aiding in the capture of Al Qaeda members, Pakistan “still sponsored terrorist groups in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, funding, training and arming them in their war of attrition against India”.

Journalist Stephen Schwartz noted that several terrorist and criminal groups are “backed by senior officers in the Pakistani army, the country’s ISI intelligence establishment and other armed bodies of the state”.

According to Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, “Without the active support of the government in Islamabad, it is doubtful whether the Taliban could ever have come to power in Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities helped fund the militia and equip it with military hardware during the mid-1990s when the Taliban was merely one of several competing factions in Afghanistan’s civil war. Only when the United States exerted enormous diplomatic pressure after the September 11, 2001 attacks did Islamabad begin to sever its political and financial ties with the Taliban. Even now it is not certain that key members of Pakistan’s intelligence service have repudiated their Taliban clients. Afghanistan is not the only place where Pakistani leaders have flirted with terrorist clients. Pakistan has also assisted rebel forces in Kashmir even though those groups have committed terrorist acts against civilians. A disproportionate number of the extremist madrasas schools funded by the Saudis operate in Pakistan”.

Even Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani had publicly admitted stating his country sponsors terrorism.

Writing in an article published by The Australian, author Daniel Byman said, “Pakistan is probably today’s most active sponsor of terrorism. Following the terror massacres in Mumbai, Pakistan may now be the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism, beyond even Iran, yet it has never been listed by the US State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism”.

Former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf had conceded that his forces trained militant groups to fight India in “Indian-administered Kashmir”.

General Musharraf confessed that the government ″turned a blind eye″ because it wanted to force India to enter into negotiations, as well as raise the issue internationally. He also said Pakistani spies in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)directorate  cultivated the Taliban after 2001 because Hamid Karzai’s government was dominated by non-Pashtuns, who are the country’s largest ethnic group, and by officials who were thought to favor India.

It may be mentioned here that Pakistani spy agency ISI has often been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks across India including terrorism in Kashmir, the July 2006 Mumbai Train Bombings, the 2001 Indian Parliament attack, the 2006 Varanasi bombings, the August 2007 Hyderabad bombings, and the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban jihadists and recruiting and training mujahideen to fight in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Based on communication intercepts, US intelligence agencies concluded Pakistan’s ISI was behind the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on 7 July 2008, a charge that the governments of India and Afghanistan had laid previously.

Pakistani ISI is believed to be aiding these organizations in eradicating perceived enemies or those opposed to their cause, including India, Russia, China, Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and other members of NATO.

Satellite imagery from the FBI suggests the existence of several terrorist camps in Pakistan. Many neutral sources believe that officials within Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sympathize with and aid Islamic terrorists, saying that the “ISI has provided covert but well-documented support to terrorist groups active in Kashmir, including the Al Qaeda affiliate Jaish-e-Mohammed”.

In July 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron accused the Pakistani government of double standards: “We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world”.

US intelligence officials claim that Pakistan’s ISI sponsored the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul. They say that the ISI officers who aided the attack were not renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by “superiors”. The attack was carried out by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who runs a network that Western intelligence services say is responsible for a campaign of violence throughout Afghanistan, including the Indian Embassy bombing and the 2008 Kabul Serena Hotel attack.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister of Canada Chris Alexander called Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism that threatens world security in 2014.

In two separate incidents officials of the Pakistani High Commission in Dhaka, were alleged to be financing the terrorist activities of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) organization. Diplomatic official Mazhar Khan was charged by Bangladesh’s foreign ministry of running an illegal Indian currency business in Dhaka beside alleged links with militants.

In December 2015, Pakistan decided to withdraw second secretary Farina Arshad after the Bangladeshi authorities asked the diplomat to leave for reportedly having “extended financial support to a suspected militant who faces spying charges”.


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