Rising Security Threats in Pakistan
Increasing internal violence and political instability in Pakistan
Pakistan faces significant threats to its internal security from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and other militant groups. After former TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike in November 2013, its new chief, hardliner Mullah Fazlullah, pledged to intensify terror attacks against Islamabad. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to negotiate a peace agreement with militants unravelled in spring 2014, when the TTP called off a ceasefire instituted just six weeks prior. Following a June 2014 terror attack on Karachi’s airport that left over thirty dead, the government launched an offensive against militant strongholds in North Waziristan. Before the operation began, U.S. drone strikes against militants in North Waziristan resumed after a nearly six-month-long hiatus.
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. The withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from Afghanistan after 2014 could increase instability by allowing antistate militants from Pakistan to establish a safe haven in a fragile Afghanistan. In addition, anti-Shia violence, led by Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba, or SSP) persists, particularly in the Sindh province.
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 and NATO 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.
- Pakistan’s Hot Spots at a Glance
New York Times
- Transition in Afghanistan and Pakistan: Progress and Risks
Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies
August 20, 2014
- Déjà Vu: This Military Operation In Pakistan Must Be Different
Liz Whitfield, Stimson Center
August 13, 2014
- What We Still Need to Know About the North Waziristan Operation
August 7, 2014
- Better Late Than Never?
June 28, 2014
- "We are the Walking Dead": Killings of Shia Hazara in Balochistan, Pakistan
Human Rights Watch
June 30, 2014
- North Waziristan Displacements Situation Report No. 4
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
June 30, 2014
- Remarks at the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue
U.S. Department of State
January 27, 2014
- Hagel Meets With Senior Pakistani Leaders
U.S. Department of Defense
December 9, 2013
- UN Special Rapporteur Emmerson’s Statement on Meetings in Pakistan About Drones, March 2013
March 14, 2013
- Fact Sheet: The United States and Pakistan—Strong and Enduring Cooperation
The White House
October 23, 2013
- Pakistan’s New Generation of Terrorists
Zachary Laub, CFR Backgrounder
- Protests Threaten Democracy in Asia, in a Bizarre Reversal of Democratic Norms
Joshua Kurlantzick, CFR.org blog "Asia Unbound"
September 19, 2014
- Pakistani Military Cool Amid Political Crisis
Interview with Daniel S. Markey and Bernard Gwertzman, CFR.org
September 12, 2014
- The National Security Implications of Pakistan’s Latest Political Crisis
Daniel S. Markey, Just Security
August 27, 2014
Jayshree Bajoria, CFR.org Backgrounder
CFR.org Crisis Guide
- Podcast: A Conversation with Aqil Shah
Dan Markey and Aqil Shah, CFR Blog "Asia Unbound"
July 9, 2014
- One Decade of Drone Strikes in Pakistan
Micah Zenko, CFR blog "Power, Politics, and Preventive Action"
June 16, 2014
- No Surprises in Pakistan
Daniel S. Markey, Indian Express
April 1, 2014
- Reorienting U.S. Pakistan Strategy
Daniel S. Markey, CFR Council Special Report
- Reorienting U.S. Pakistan Strategy: Three Things to Know
CFR.org video "Reorienting U.S. Pakistan Strategy: Three Things to Know"
January 22, 2014
- No Exit From Pakistan
Daniel S. Markey, CFR Book, Cambridge University Press
- A Pakistan-based Terrorist Attack on the U.S. Homeland
Stephen Tankel, CFR Contingency Planning Memorandum