FATA--A Most Dangerous Place
January 7, 2009
Increased militancy and violence in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), have brought this region into sharper focus, as U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani leaders attempt to find solutions to the problems underlying the situation there. This most dangerous spot on the map may well be the source of another 9/11 type of attack on the Western world or its surrogates in the region. Should such an attack occur, it likely will be spawned in the militancy that grips FATA and contiguous areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan today. Failure to bring peace and to restore a modicum of stability to FATA will have widespread repercussions for the region and perhaps the world.
This report attempts to define the conditions that spawn militancy and violence among the Pashtun tribesmen that inhabit FATA and to suggest measures that can be taken in the short term (next 1-2 years) and the medium term (next 3-5 years). Specific recommendations are directed individually to the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United States, the Pakistani military, and the U.S. military and CENTCOM.
Shuja Nawaz is an independent political analyst and the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within (Oxford University Press, 2008).