War on Terrorism: Moving to Pakistan
Last Tuesday, President Obama addressed the Nation regarding the United States future involvement in Afghanistan. He explained that the United States would be increasing troops to fight “violent extremism practiced by Al Qaeda”.
In addition to focusing on the state of Afghanistan, President Obama often mentioned the state that borders Afghanistan, Pakistan. While not specifically deciding to relocate or refocus the war to the state of Pakistan, Obama did reference how the volatile state of Afghanistan’s continued struggle affects the safety of the world due to "nuclear-armed Pakistan".
The relationship between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States has had quite a turbulent history. In 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, which lead the U.S. government to send arms, training and funds into that state to aid insurgents. By 1980, the U.S. began sending aid through neighboring Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to train and arm mujahdeens fighting in Afghanistan. The ISI took some of these arms for its own domestic use. It is believed that many of these arms and the training the ISI received from the U.S. nearly 30 years ago, is directly related to the violence American troops are witnessing in Pakistan and Afghanistan today.
After the Soviets withdrew from their occupation of Afghanistan, numerous states, including the U.S., continued to funnel arms and finances to the ISI. This was done because these states believed they could produce a positive outcome for Afghanistan if the U.S.-funded ISI were active participates in the rebuilding of Afghanistan. By maintain ties with the ISI and Afghanistan, the U.S. believed that it could control the outcome in the rebuilding process of the state of Afghanistan. Despite this hope, the state of Afghanistan remained chaotic and experienced many years of civil war. Within a few years of the Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan, an Afghan organization called the Taliban had obtained significant control over the state of Afghanistan. The Taliban promised to bring order and structure back to the chaotic state. Additionally, the Taliban were publicly supported by the ISI. Shortly after their rise to power, the Taliban allowed the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda to relocate to Afghanistan and establish its home base for terrorist activities within their borders.Continued on the next page