The Counter-insurgency in North Waziristan: A Discussion with Ikram Sehgal
On August 7, 2014, EWI Board Member Ikram Sehgal led a discussion on the serious security situation in North Waziristan, Pakistan.
During an hour-long discussion, Ikram Sehgal spoke about security threats and opportunities within North Waziristan, Pakistan. He began by noting that Pakistani public opinion is united around the current military campaign in the region to combat the ever present Taliban forces in the area. He claimed that terrorism in Pakistan is no longer about ideology but rather economic gains and mentioned that groups within the country have gained financial support from the private sector, adding to their power.
To fight terrorism, Sehgal pointed to four key steps:
- Destroying terrorist safe havens
- Eliminating terrorist groups
- Restoring the power of the Pakistani government
- Shaping a suitable environment for sustainable development.
Additionally, because terrorism within Pakistan is not a country specific problem but rather a regional one, a regional counter-terrorism force should be implemented. There is not likely to be an end to terrorism in Pakistan anytime soon due to its long-standing establishment within the country. Sehgal ended the discussion optimistically, and stressed the need for continued cooperation both with the U.S. and China; China is now one of the largest players in Pakistan, investing in Pakistan’s energy sector and helping with development.