State Department Releases New Country Reports on Terrorism

The State Department released the latest iteration of its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, which you can find here. As expected, there is plenty in there about Pakistan. I pulled some of the Pakistan bits.

Expectedly, Chapter 1 of the report opens with an assessment of the threat from al-Qa`ida Core (AQC). According to the report, while AQC is weaker, the terrorist threat to the United States emanating from Pakistan remains high due to resurgent affiliates:

“Al-Qa’ida (AQ) remained the preeminent terrorist threat to the United States in 2010. Though the AQ core in Pakistan has become weaker, it retained the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks. Cooperation between AQ and Afghanistan- and Pakistan-based militants was critical to the threat the group posed. In addition, the danger posed by Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT) and increased resource-sharing between AQ and its Pakistan-based allies and associates such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Haqqani Network meant the aggregate threat in South Asia remained high.”

Chapter 2 is the chapter that extensively discusses Pakistan. The report discusses several aspects of counterterrorism including: 2010 terrorist incidents; legislation and law enforcement; countering terrorist finance; regional and international cooperation; and countering radicalization and violent extremism. Some key findings from each of these categories include:

2010 Terrorism Incidents

“Pakistan experienced hundreds of bomb blasts, suicide attacks, and sectarian violence, resulting in more than 2,000 dead and scores more injured. Known terrorist organizations such as Tehrik-e-Taliban (the “Pakistani” Taliban) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for a number of attacks. The Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and al-Qa’ida also have a significant presence in Pakistan and maintained the capability to plan, influence, and assist violent extremist organizations within Pakistan and regionally.”

Legislation and Law Enforcement

“While Pakistan’s law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued an acquittal rate of approximately 75 percent. The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists.”

Countering Terrorist Finance

“Pakistan strengthened its counterterrorist finance regime and committed to making additional improvements. Pakistan’s terrorist financing law is ambiguous on key points, however, and the country’s implementation of UNSCR 1267 was incomplete.”

Regional and International Cooperation

“Pakistan continued to cooperate in regional and international counterterrorism forums. However, India-Pakistan counterterrorism cooperation was lacking in 2010.”

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism

“The Government of Pakistan has realized that counter-radicalization through non-military means is a critical component to long-term success against violent extremism, and has initiated certain counter-radicalization efforts in 2010.”

These efforts included plans to set up a television channel focusing on culture and traditions of the country with the objective of countering violent extremism, an army-run school in Malakand for rehabilitating Taliban-influenced youth, and the creation of interfaith committees at the district level to meet monthly to address issues of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

Terrorist Safe Haven

Chapter 5, which addresses terrorist safe havens, also mentions Pakistan, stating that, “despite efforts by Pakistani security forces, al-Qa’ida (AQ) terrorists, Afghan militants, foreign insurgents, and Pakistani militants continued to find safe haven in portions of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Paktunkhwa (KPK), and Baluchistan.”

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