5 years, 10 months ago
Inadequate assistance was allowing militant groups to operate in camps and communities housing hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis displaced by an offensive against the Taliban, an aid group said on Wednesday.
About 2 million people have fled the military’s push against the Taliban in Pakistan’s northwest, most since an offensive began in the Swat valley in May. Those numbers are expected to swell further as the offensive is widened.
U.N. officials said this week that only about 30 percent of a $543 million aid appeal it launched in May in a bid to avert a long-term humanitarian crisis had been met. Aid group Refugees International said the slow pace of help had created a vacuum which militants and other “political actors” were filling.
“Jihadist groups are present, leading an international agency to suspend its visits in some camps on Fridays and Saturdays as ‘these are the days the jihadists distribute their assistance’,” the Washington-based group said in a report on Wednesday.
How to lose a counterinsurgency campaign. Displace millions of civilians, refuse to stay around and prevent the insurgents from coming back once the operations conclude, and then allow the insurgents to prevent the aid organizations from coming in and providing assistance. Furthermore, allow the insurgents themselves to provide the aid that the government and NGOs should be providing.
There you have it. How to lose a counterinsurgency campaign. On another front, Peshawar is a war zone.
A deadly hotel bomb in Pakistan’s Peshawar underscores its shift from safe metropolis to besieged city where shop keepers are afraid to stock Western films and few foreigners dare to visit.
Up until a few years ago the northwest frontier town stirred up images of romance and intrigue, sitting on a historic trading route to Afghanistan and enticing tourists with bazaars, forts and ancient mosques.
Now kidnappings, killings, intimidation and scores of deadly blasts linked to Taliban militants have terrified Pakistanis and foreigners alike, with seven bombs in the past month alone killing nearly 50 people.
“Peshawar is now a dangerous city,” said Sharafat Ali Mubarak, president of the provincial chamber of commerce.
“Let me make it clear — even local people are not safe here.”
There you have it. How to lose a counterinsurgency campaign. Let the insurgents take charge. It looks like the idyllic heaven that the Pakistan Army claims for the North West Frontier Province and FATA hasn’t materialized.