If you were to ask around in the US about the war in Afghanistan, the common person would most likely talk to you about how right or wrong it is that we are present in Afghanistan and how horrible it is that this and that are happening right now within Afghanistan. Yet most of the average population never stop and think about just what an important role Pakistan plays in everything that is going on in Afghanistan.
Let me explain myself by first asking the question, why are we fighting in Afghanistan? Most would say to fight, (among other things) against the terrorism and the terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and the Taliban. But how many of those people actually know that according to some experts, Pakistan has been labeled the epicenter of world terrorism. If you don’t believe me, feel free to Google it. Since 9/11, there have be 12 or more terrorist plots all planned and supported by terrorist groups in Pakistan, some successful, some not. So it seems to me that if our true goals in Afghanistan are to fight terrorism, we need to turn our attention towards Pakistan. The US government has two different was to deal with the Pakistan terrorist groups: Drone strikes or Diplomacy.
In the Afghanistan war, Pakistan based terrorist military groups and gangs fight bitterly against the US soldiers in Afghanistan killing thousands with Pakistan giving them consent or purposely turning a blind eye. In answer, the united States have chosen to flush out the Pakistan terrorist groups and their leaders through the use of drone strikes in known terrorist tribal locations. The results are disastrous. While aiming at the leaders of terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Al-Qaida, only about 2% of all drone strikes actually reach them, the rest are merely felt by the civilians of the areas. As James Cavallaro of Stanford University says, “Real people are suffering real harm” which is for the most part is overlooked when talked about by the government. So I ask, is this really the best action against terrorists, or is there another way? Recent news articles have begun to give hope that the US and Pakistani governments have set their sights in a new direction: Diplomacy.
Just this week an article in the Express Tribune stated that a press conference was being held between Pakistan’s foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss cooperated action against Terrorism among other things. In an article from the Huffington Post, reports were also made in future communication and collaboration including not only Pakistan but also Afghanistan.
I believe this is the way to counter the terrorist groups within South Asia, especially Pakistan. As Hillary Clinton stated in her press conference, “We can achieve more when we have a focused agenda, our shared priority remains joint counterterrorism objectives to ensure security of US and Pakistan citizens.” Both the Bush and Obama administration were wrong to continue to use drone strikes as their prime weapon against terrorism. Violence through bombing will only lead to more violence and bad blood between the US, terrorist groups and Pakistan/Afghanistan themselves. Through collaboration between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US governments I believe there is a more peaceful and less bloody way to handle security issues between us all. It is my hope that by the time the US troops leave Afghanistan in 2014, our country, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will have created a better more successful way to deal with terrorism that involves less innocent blood being spilt of any of the countries.