On April 10, 2015, the Pentagon released its map of the self-proclaimed Islamic State's operations in Iraq and Syria. The map also marks areas controlled by other groups in the region, such as Iraqi Kurdish security forces, Iraqi Government, and Syrian Government.
Counterterrorism strategies of the past thirteen years have relied upon a myth of 9/11: terrorists require safe havens to conduct international terrorist attacks. Micah Zenko and Amelia M. Wolf argue that there is no evidence to support this assumption, which most recently served as the basis for launching a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
On September 24, 2014, all fifteen UN Security Council member states passed a resolution, that prevents suspected foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) from traveling to member states and creates legislation to prosecute FTFs. The resolution defines foreign terrorist fighters as "individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, including in connection with armed conflict."
Pakistan has emerged as a sanctuary for some of the world's most violent groups, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and homegrown militants, that threaten the stability of Pakistan as well as the region.
"Jihadists were already finding it hard to operate in North Africa before the Arab Spring of 2011. Since then their problems have become almost insurmountable: they thrive only in countries where Islamists are in prison, not where they are in the ascendant or contesting elections. As for Europe, the last attacks instigated by al-Qaida date back to Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005. Jihadism looks less like a rising phenomenon in the north of Mali than a force in retreat. The French intervention may well give them purpose and greater coherence."
James Dobbins and James J. Shinn, coauthors of Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer, discuss the relationships between al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as the obstacles and possible outcomes of peace negotiations.
Stewart M. Patrick, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Institutions and Global Governance Program, explains why some weak and failing states such as Pakistan are more attractive than others as safe havens for transnational terrorist groups.
Scott Shane examines the Pashtunistan region, and its implications for American foreign policy in the near future, commenting that "Mr. Obama's surge depends a lot on the hearts and minds of the Pashtuns - and who seems a winner."