An independent think-tank

Al-Qaeda is losing ideological grounds

Peter Bergen, renowned counter-terrorism expert and a member of PIPS advisory board, made a visit to PIPS head office in Islamabad on 14 July 2008. He was accompanied by Eason Jordon, CEO AfPax. Mr. Peter Bergin briefed PIPS team on “American Perspective on Afghanistan and FATA”.

He said that increasing strength of al-Qaeda in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and adjacent areas has direct implications for the United States and Western world. He was of the view that al-Qaeda is losing its ideological grounds due to increasing number of civilian casualties resulted by terrorist attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also expressed concerns over possibility of Pakistani Taliban becoming asocio-political movement like Hizbullah in Lebanon.

He was of the view that Taliban are less likely to give up jihad and the process of Talibanization. He suggested that more concrete efforts and an enhanced collaboration between Pakistan and the US were needed to improve the situation in tribal belt. Provision of justice and improvement in economy, he urged, should top the list of security policy for FATA.

A Q&A session was held after his briefing. Mr Peter Bergen also sought views of PIPS team on current security situation in FATA and role of the United States. It was observed during session that lack of Pakistani people’s trust in United States’ efforts was damaging the cause and credibility of war against terrorism. It was concluded that strong bilateral and strategic relationships between Pakistan and the US are necessary to combat terrorism on the both sides of Pak-Afghan border.