Rising Security Threats in Pakistan

Rising Security Threats in Pakistan

Increased internal violence and political instability in Pakistan stemming from Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan militancy


Pakistan faces significant threats to its internal security from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups. After Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to negotiate a peace agreement with the TTP unraveled, the government launched an offensive against militant strongholds in North Waziristan in June 2014. Before the operation began, U.S. drone strikes against militants in North Waziristan resumed after a nearly six-month-long hiatus. While Pakistan claims to have killed more than 1,400 militants, the operations have spurred an internal refugee crisis from North Waziristan and Khyber, and peripheral TTP elements have reportedly formed violent splinter organizations. 

Historically dominant over the civilian government, the Pakistani military provides support to the Haqqani network and other proxy groups, even though state-sponsored militants often collaborate with the anti-state TTP. However, after the TTP attacked a Peshawar school in December 2014, killing more than 130 schoolchildren, Pakistani political parties agreed on a comprehensive National Action Plan to combat terrorism and extremist ideology across the country.

The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan could increase instability by allowing antistate militants from Pakistan to establish a safe haven in a fragile Afghanistan.

Acute instability in Pakistan has security implications for both Afghanistan and India. The TTP is closely allied with the Afghan Taliban in its battle against Afghan troops, while India fears terrorist attacks carried out by both anti-state and state-sponsored Pakistani militants. Moreover, the vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to attack or theft by nonstate actors remains a major concern for U.S. and Indian policymakers.


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