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USIP: Troubles on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border

Authors: C. Christine Fair, Nicholas Howenstein, and J. Alexander Thier, Assistant to the Administrator and Director, Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, U.S. Agency for International Development
December 2006


A report from USIP focussing on the October 2006 attack on an Islamic madrassa in Chinagai, a border village in the Bajour province of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and its wider implications. The attack, which killed 82 people, was one of many recent military incursions into the tribal areas. Pakistani officials later claimed that the targets were al Qaeda and pro-Taliban elements. But, the attack occurred even as negotiations for a peace deal—along the lines of an earlier deal in the neighbouring province of North Waziristan—were ongoing between the government of Pakistan, tribal leaders, and local militants in the area. The timing of the attack and the alleged involvement of US military and intelligence assets in the strike caused considerable suspicion throughout the tribal areas and beyond. This report considers the broader questions raised by the attack regarding the stability of the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Pakistan's policies toward these areas, the effects of tribal militancy upon international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, and the longevity of the United States and Pakistani relationship.

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