Ever since the catastrophic attacks on the Twin Towers in the United States of America on 11th September, 2001, the lives of millions have changed. The entire world has been in a state of chaos. United States of America initiated the War on Terror, involving several other countries. This has spread like plague all over the globe. This epidemic is the root cause of all the prevalent problems at this point in time i. e. political crisis, economic turmoil, social issues, health crisis, etc. Pakistan has been in the centre of all these issues and has suffered the most due to this insurgency.
Not only has this resulted in loss of lives, but has negatively impacted the already crippled economy of Pakistan. This war on terror has greatly changed and shaped the relations between USA and Pakistan for the better or for worse. Introduction Terrorism is viewed by some as a form of war, without the rules of conventional conflict. Terrorism, which has existed for decades, is a means of making a government or group aware of the desire that they have to change something by creating intimidation, devastation and fear. Many countries in today’s world are targets of terrorist attacks and have the put the lives of many at stake.
There has been a growing concern and fear among the nations all around the globe. The renowned psychologists and sociologists all over the world carried out researches to look into the reasons and causes of terrorism and why it has increased over the past few years. They concluded that: Firstly, the people who hold different views and perspectives about the social and religious aspects and think that the common belief held by the people is wrong, they strive to correct the common views through acts of violence. Secondly, these people believe that violence and tyranny is the only way to justify the ends.
Moreover, poverty can be identified as the significant cause of terrorism. As the saying goes “A hungry man is an angry man”. This pretty much sums up that hunger, joblessness, frustration, malnutrition and other problems arising from all this cause easy manipulation of these people and hence breeds terrorist activities. Religion can also be associated with the terrorism. People who hold orthodox beliefs and the religious fanatics all oppose the unreligious activities to such an extent that they think that violence and oppression will “correct” all the wrongdoings of the people.
For example, the Islamic fanatics oppose the democratic system of Government, capitalism and individualism. Thus they think that there will be only on caliphate who will rule the world. This view, which contradicts with the commonly held beliefs, instigates them to take up violent measures and spread their word. Thus these are only some of the causes of terrorism and countries are making joint efforts to dig out more reasons and solutions to put an end to this satanic element.
War on Terrorism The Global War on Terrorism started after the Twin towers in USA were attacked on 11th September, 2001. This instigated USA to start military campaigns and operations amidst these attacks to trace down Al-Qaeda and other militant organizations such as Taliban. It sent its troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to eliminate the militants. The NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries and non-NATO countries have granted their support to USA. They include countries such as Belgium, United Kingdom, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey etc. There has been devastation in Afghanistan and Iraq on a massive scale. The brutal killings of women and children have brewed resentment among the people of these countries against USA.
However, the militant groups had been weakened due to the constant war between the NATO forces and militant, but have nevertheless exhausted the NATO forces, leading to their utter failure. But USA has seen a downfall in its popularity due to this notion and the word “terrorist” is now largely attached to the American Government itself. Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda, meaning the “Base” was founded by Osama bin Laden in late 1988. It is a militant Islamist Organization originating from the Soviet war in Afghanistan. It is a radical Muslim movement calling for Jihad and imposition of Shariah.
It has been called a terrorist organization by NATO, USA, UK, European Union and many other countries. Its strategy is to resort to suicide bombings and bomb attacks to renounce the man made laws and impose Shariah Law and create a new Islamic Caliphate all over the worldThe members pledge to Osama bin Laden for obeying his commands and staying loyal to the cause. The members are from different parts of the world i. e. Chechnya, Tajikistan, Israel, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Pakistan, etc. they have received training in the camps from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Al-Qaeda openly declared war with US and the West in a video tape recording. Its history traces back to the Soviet War, when Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI was funded by USA to train mujahidin to fight the Soviet forces. At that time, a great number of Arab mujahidin joined the jihad as well. Later on after the defeat of Soviet Union, Afghanistan was left on the mercies of war lords which led to the development of mujahidins later forming into an alliance. Al-Qaeda was funded mostly by Osama bin Laden through his personal wealth and contacts with Saudi Royal family and Saudi Oil leaders.
Later on more funds dropped in from other Islamist groups and supporters from Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. A Wiki Leaks released memo from the United States Secretary of State sent in 2009 asserted that the primary source of funding of Sunni terrorist groups worldwide was Saudi Arabia. Moreover, President Bush consistently referred to the Iraq War as “the central front in the War on Terror”, and argued that if the U. S. pulled out of Iraq, “terrorists will follow us here”. Taliban The Taliban is an Islamic Fundamentalist organization settled in Afghanistan.
It’s harbored and formed a Government in Afghanistan, led my Mohammad Omar since 1994. It has strict ideology of Shariah Law and comprises mainly of Pashtuns. Pakistan military and Inter-Services Intelligence agency have been accused of providing support to the Taliban. It was during the regime of Zia-ul-Haq. He feared that Soviets would invade the Northern Areas of Pakistan and he needs to stop this from happening. Thus he aligned with the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam to lead a battle in Afghanistan against Soviets. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia and America joined the Soviet battle providing funds.
Hence, ISI provided training to Mohammad Omar and other Afghans, providing military and financial support. International officials accused Pakistan of providing a continuous support to Taliban but Pakistan claims to have dropped the support after 9/11. Moreover, Taliban also enjoys support from Saudi Arabia and has connections with Al-Qaeda for their common cause. Taliban were overthrown after the post 9/11 invasion by Americans but later on, they regrouped and led a battle against Karzai administration (backed by USA) and NATO forces.
They used terrorist tactics to overthrow the Americans and promote their political and ideological goals. It is still functional, fighting against NATO forces. Impact on USA The impact of this war on USA has been no lesser in degree. There is a constant feeling of fear and stress among the USA population, who are in a discomfort ever since the war started. They lost their jobs, developed psychological problems and got into a further economic chaos. Even though they got rid of some part of Taliban and a little part of Al-Qaeda, the militant cells are still at large.
The Americans are reported to be saying that they don’t feel safe going on trips and vacations with families and always have a sense of fear and unease. Apart from this, the financial costs have been huge. Nearly eight trillion dollars have been reported to be spent on the military forces and the operations. The latest, innovative technology, food supplies, ammunitions etc, all required huge sums of money to be invested, leading USA to an economic pitfall. The educational system, health system and infrastructure of America could have been improved with these funds but have been largely ignored.
Role of Pakistan (how it all began) Pakistan has been a strong ally of USA in the war on terrorism. Pakistan’s geographical proximity with the Afghanistan brought it into the spotlight. Unites States picked Pakistan for logistics, intelligence support, bases for operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan provided its entire support to the coalition forces against Taliban. After the US invasion in Afghanistan, there was an influx of Afghan refugees in Pakistan on a large scale. Here they moved freely because of their old linkages with the tribal people of Pakistan.
In this backdrop, Taliban and some Al-Qaeda also found refuge in these areas. This was also because of the Soviet war, during which many Afghans were provided training here and later on upon becoming important members, they could still be traced back in Pakistan. After 9/11 attacks, Pakistan was pressurized by USA and joined the war on terror as a US ally. Pakistan tried to negotiate with Al-Qaeda and Taliban and demanded to hand over Osama bin Laden but all these efforts in vain. Thus, it allowed USA its logistical support and military bases for war in Afghanistan. However, there were some fruitful results as well.
Pakistan was able to hand over many important militant leaders to USA and also eradicated the militant’s growing power. This has been followed by lavish praises from Bush administration and promise of more long-term support. In return for their support, Pakistan had sanctions lifted and has received about $10 billion in U. S. aid since 2001. Even though Pakistan was promised military, technological and financial aid from America due to its consistent war efforts, this all was the beginning of the dark period in Pakistan. Ever since Pakistan joined hands with America on war on terrorism, it has plunged into a dilemma.
Regardless, it has proved to be pivotal for America in this war. Impact on Pakistan There has been a huge impact of this war on the people of Pakistan. Due to this war, Pakistan has faced destruction, agony and deaths more than any other country in the world. There was a spark of suicide bombings, which were unheard of pre 9/11. Several incidents of civilian casualties because of the army operations and drone attacks controlled by CIA and USA forces in Northern parts of Pakistan have been reported. These were the ‘efforts’ made by the USA to eliminate the Al-Qaeda elements operating in Pakistan.
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and NWFP are considered to be a safe haven for the terrorist elements, with its roots in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan had to carry out military operations in its own country to uproot these elements, which carried huge costs with it, exhausting Pakistan’s already weak resources. Operation against militants by Pakistan Army in the Northern Area started in 2007, leading to innumerable people fleeing their homes and settling in other parts of Pakistan and increased problems in the social, economic and political aspects of the country.
People had to leave their houses and live in other places, which also affected them financially.. “However, there were 1. 3 million people displaced (in the northwest) who still need assistance”, Mr. Ali said. The latest in the wave of such incidents has been the virtual destruction of the town of Spinkai in South Waziristan by the Pakistan Army’s 14th Division, resulting in the displacement of over 200,000 people. With this, the problems arose.
The education in these parts of the country was halted since the terrorists threatened to attack all the educational institutes. “Lives, homes and incomes have been disrupted, and education jeopardized for virtually a whole generation of school-age children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal”. Furthermore, people all over the Pakistan were threatened by the constant suicide bombings, killing our former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. There was a continuous sense of fear amongst the people of Pakistan and the social life completely distorted.
The missing persons increased in number and many have been reported to end up in Guantanamo Bay, U. S Naval Prison in Cuba. Some of them didn’t even leave a single trace and are still missing. The problem of disappearance of people in Pakistan was the fastest growing in Asia. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, trauma, depression, insecurity and other social ills had also started to show. The political problems sprang up as well. Some major parties started showing resentment towards Americans, especially those with a strong religious stance.
This, resultantly brewed hatred among the masses and there were a series of strikes and protests against the USA, raising slogans such as “Go America Go”. The Pak-US relations were also at stake due to the strong opposition of political parties. Thus, these with other societal problems picking up pace, the position of Pakistan weakened in the international community. Moreover, among the losses incurred by Pakistan, there was also blame on Pakistan by the NATO forces of protecting the Taliban in Afghanistan.