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How the terrorist threat from Pakistan can be quelled

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BERLIN - Pakistan’s current faceoff with India has come at an awkward time. All three of its main neighbors — India, Iran and Afghanistan — have accused it of complicity in recent terrorist attacks on their soil. The rising regional tensions, highlighted by Indian and Pakistani tit-for-tat aerial incursions, threaten to complicate U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to finalize a “peace” deal with Afghanistan’s Pakistan-created Taliban.

The trigger for the current tensions was a Valentine’s Day attack — claimed by a Pakistan-based, United Nations-proscribed terrorist group — that killed 41 Indian troops in the Indian part of divided Kashmir, where the contested borders of India, Pakistan and China meet. That same week, 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards were slain, prompting Tehran to threaten retaliation against Pakistan, while 32 Afghan troops at a remote base were killed in a Taliban strike.

Pakistan remains a major hub of transnational terrorism. The footprints of many international terrorist attacks have been traced to Pakistan, including the 2005 London bombings, the 2008 Mumbai siege, and the 2015 San Bernardino killings in California. The principal architects of the 9/11 attacks in the United States were found ensconced in Pakistan.

But it is Pakistan’s neighbors that have borne the brunt of its terrorism. Even Bangladesh, which seceded from Pakistan in 1971, blamed its worst terrorist attack on Pakistan’s shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

More than seven decades after it was established as the first Islamic republic of the postcolonial era, Pakistan stares at an uncertain future. Its jihad culture has fostered rising militancy and a serious financial crisis, with the country dependent on........

© The Japan Times