Pakistan and the drone war
In March 2018, the United States used a drone to kill a son of Mullah Fazlullah, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, in eastern Afghanistan. The US State Department has offered a $ 5 million bounty for information about Fazlullah himself. He is said to be responsible, among other things, for the assassination attempt on Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai in 2012. At that time, several Taliban got on the school bus in which Malala was sitting. One of them shot her in the head, but thanks to rapid emergency surgery in Pakistan and subsequent treatment in the UK, the girl survived the attack.
Up to three million dollars are also paid for information about Abdul Wali. He is the leader of the Pakistani terrorist organization Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JUA), which is loosely allied with the Taliban. Mangal Bagh, the leader of the militant group Lashkar-e-Islam, also affiliated with the Taliban, has a corresponding bounty. He and the other groups pose a threat to the US and Pakistan. One of their goals is also to drive US troops out of neighboring Afghanistan. The USA is increasingly accusing Pakistan of supporting the Afghan Taliban and thus destabilizing international reconstruction efforts in the neighboring country.
On Friday, March 13, 2015, the Pakistani military successfully tested their first missile-equipped drone. Successful testing of the drone has been cited as a major national achievement for Pakistan. It is to be used in the fight against terrorism and was named after the flying horse of the prophet “Burraq”. Since the USA had given a negative response to Pakistan’s application for drone technology, Pakistan sought support from its strategic partner China. So far, the US, UK and Israel have used armed drones. According to research by the New America Foundation, five other states, namely France, Nigeria, Iran, China and South Africa, have armed drones.
So far, Pakistan has been hit the most by the CIA’s drone strikes, followed by Yemen and then Somalia. According to the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has carried out 413 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. This not only killed (alleged) terrorists, but also civilians and children. In public image, the Pakistani government complained to the US about the drone attacks on its territory and accused of violating Pakistan’s national sovereignty. However, there is also the presumption that the CIA carried out drone attacks with the secret permission of the Pakistani state.
According to extrareference, Pakistani activists and peace activists around the world support the victims of drones in their anti-drone campaign. A Pakistani lawyer who cooperates with international networks has already represented more than 100 Pakistani families whose relatives have been killed by US drones. With the Pakistani drone test, peace activists fear a further militarization of the region with India, China and Iran.
The Afghan-Pakistani conflict
Afghan-Pakistani relations are marked by persistent tensions. Although there are many unifying elements on the cultural and ethnic level in both countries, there is a basic mood of mistrust at the political level and mutual accusations are repeatedly made. The Pashtun ethnic group lives on both sides of the border and shares the tribal system, values and norms, language and many other cultural phenomena. In the years after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979), Pakistan took in millions of Afghan refugees, and to this day large numbers of Afghans live permanently or temporarily in Pakistan, especially in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Beluchistan and in the coastal metropolis of Karachi (approx. 1,
Pakistan was one of the few countries to recognize the Taliban emirate in Afghanistan and had diplomatic relations with the Taliban leadership. Relations have been very tense since the fall of the Taliban after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly asked the Pakistani government to offer the Afghan Taliban a safe haven in Quetta, the capital of Beluchistan Province. This and other undetectable support services provided by parts of the Pakistani military and the secret service would not only slow down the stabilization process in Afghanistan but also disrupt it.
In June 2014, the Pakistani security forces began operating against terrorist and militant groups in the tribal areas (FATA) of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. This led to large movements of refugees within Pakistan. Both the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have been trying to relax Afghan-Pakistani relations since taking office. Ghani is committed to improving bilateral relations between the two countries and Nawaz Sharif is intensely committed to intensifying economic relations with the neighboring country. There are now various initiatives to promote bilateral economic exchange. This includes the construction of a power line from Tajikistan via Afghanistan to Pakistan, the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via the two countries to India, and transport infrastructure projects.