Pakistan’s Troubled Frontier: The Future of FATA and the NWFP

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*Click Here to Read a Background on FATA and the NWFP by Andrew McGregor


8:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

Glen E. Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation

Panel One:
The FATA Challenge
9:10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Stephen P. Cohen
Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Ahmed Rashid
"Pakistan’s Descent into Chaos: The Future of FATA and the NWFP"
Journalist and Best-Selling Author of Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia

Shuja Nawaz
"The Pakistan Army and its Role in FATA"
Director, South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council
and Author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within


Coffee Break
10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Panel Two:
Islamic Militancy and Sectarianism in the Northwest Frontier

10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Joshua T. White
Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins SAIS
and Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement

Imtiaz Ali
"Who’s Who in the Islamic Militancy: Key Players and Recent Developments"
Jennings Randolph Fellow, United States Institute of Peace

Mariam Abou Zahab
"Sectarianism in FATA (Kurram/Orakzai) & the NWFP"
Researcher and Pakistan Specialist, Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI)

Arif Jamal
"The Past, Present and Future of TNSM"
Visiting Fellow, Center on International Cooperation, New York University


*Keynote Luncheon Speaker*
12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Dr. David Kilcullen
"The Accidental Guerrilla Syndrome in FATA"
Former Special Advisor for Counterinsurgency to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
and Author of The Accidental Guerilla


Panel Three:
Stabilizing FATA

1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Peter Bergen
Senior Fellow, New America Foundation,
and Author of Holy War Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Bin Laden

Haroon Rashid
"Pakistan’s Domestic Crisis and its Impact on the Tribal Areas"
BBC Correspondent Pakistan

Mukhtar Khan
"Taliban Propaganda and the Use of FM Radios"
Analyst, The Jamestown Foundation

Stephen P. Cohen
"Does Pakistan Have a Counter-Insurgency Strategy?"
Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Dr. Marin Strmecki
"U.S. Options in Stabilizing the Afghan-Pakistan Border"
Senior Vice President and Director of Programs, Smith Richardson Foundation


Coffee Break
2:45 to 3:00 p.m.

Panel Four:
The Future of FATA: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bruce Hoffman
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Dr. Andrew McGregor
"NATO’s Khyber Lifeline & its Alternatives"
Director, Aberfoyle International Security,
and Editor of Terrorism Monitor

Jules Stewart
"Lessons from the Past: The British Legacy of the North-West Frontier"
Anglo-American Historian
and Author of The Savage Border: The Story of the North West Frontier

Dr. Hassan Abbas
"FATA in 2025: Three Possible Scenarios for the Future"
Fellow, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government


4:30 p.m.

Pakistan’s Troubled Frontier (Dr. Hassan Abbas, ed.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Root Conference Room
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave
Washington, DC

Registration Fee:

Early Bird Registration Fee: $100 (for payments made on or before April 10)
Late Registration Fee: $125 (for payments made after April 10 or at the door)
Friends of Jamestown Registration Fee:

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If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by email at or by phone at (202) 483-8888.

Hassan Abbas served as Sub-Divisional Police Chief in the North-West Frontier Province from 1996 to 1998, and was the Deputy Director of Investigations in Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau from 1999 to 2000. Currently, he is a fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of Pakistan‘s Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America’s War on Terror

Imtiaz Ali is a Pashtun journalist and at present, a Jennings Randolph Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC.  Ali has recently worked for the Washington Post in the Pakistan’s Tribal belt and Frontier Province. Before this, he worked with the BBC Pashto Service and London’s Daily Telegraph for five years and reported extensively on militancy, the rise of the Pakistani Taliban, and Pakistan’s military operations against al-Qaeda operatives and their local Taliban supporters in the tribal region along the Afghan border. Ali has also worked with Pakistan’s premier English-language newspapers, The News and Dawn. His recent articles have appeared in Yale Global Online and Jamestown Foundation. Ali was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 2006 and a Yale World Fellow-a global leadership program at Yale University-in 2008.

Peter Bergen is a print and television journalist, a Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C, a research fellow at New York University’s Center on Law and Security, CNN’s national security analyst and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008 he was an Adjunct Lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  His most recent book, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader, was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2006 by The Washington Post. The book served as the inspiration for a two hour documentary produced by CNN called In the Footsteps of bin Laden of which Bergen was a producer.  It was named the best documentary of 2006 by the Society of Professional Journalists and was nominated for an Emmy. Bergen has an M.A. in Modern History from New College, Oxford University.

Stephen Philip Cohen joined Brookings in 1998 after a career as a professor of Political Science and History at the University of Illinois. He has also taught in India, Japan, and Singapore, and served on the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department. In 2004 he was named by the World Affairs Councils of America as one of America’s five hundred most influential people in the area of foreign policy. Dr. Cohen is the author, co-author or editor of over twelve books, mostly on South Asian security issues, the most recent being Four Crises and a Peace Process: American Engagement in South Asia (2007), The Idea of Pakistan (2004), and an edited volume published by the National Academy of Science that explores the application of technology to the prediction, prevention or amelioration of terrorist acts. A book on the future of the Indian military is now in progress.

Bruce Hoffman was Scholar-in-Residence for Counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency between 2004 and 2006. He was also adviser on counterterrorism to the Office of National Security Affairs, Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq during the spring of 2004 and from 2004-2005 was an adviser on counterinsurgency to the Strategy, Plans, and Analysis Office at Multi- National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad. Professor Hoffman was also an adviser to the Iraq Study Group. Professor Hoffman has visited Afghanistan, where he traveled to Khowst, Paktia, Kunar, and Nuristan Provinces to observe the operations of the 82nd Airborne and Provincial Reconstruction Teams under its command.

Professor Hoffman is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program, Human Rights Watch, New York, NY; a member of the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs Home Team Academy Advisory Panel; and serves on the advisory boards to the Arms Sales Monitoring Project at the Federation of American Scientists and of Our Voices Together: September 11 Friends and Families to Help Build a Safer, More Compassionate World. He is also a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.; a Senior Fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY; a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Advisor on International Security Programs at the Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel; and, a Visiting Professor at the S. Rajaratnum School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Professor Hoffman was the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he was also Reader in International Relations and Chairman of the Department of International Relations.

Arif Jamal is a scholar and prominent journalist from Pakistan. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Arif Jamal has written more than 200 investigative and interpretive articles in English, focusing on such subjects as Islamist politics in Pakistan, jihad in Kashmir, the Pakistan Army, madrassas and Afghanistan. Arif’s forthcoming book, SHADOW WAR: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir profiles and analyzes the history of the jihad in Kashmir and the role of the Pakistan Army in shaping it since 1988. Arif Jamal began his professional career in Pakistan in 1986 as a journalist and has since worked with such publications as The Pakistan Times, The Muslim, The News, Newsline and Financial Post. Arif has also worked with and contributed to various international media including New York Times, Radio France International, and The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He holds a Masters in International Relations and has been a fellow at distinguished institutions including Harvard University and the University-College of London, UK. At Harvard University, he continued his research on modern Salafism and Salafist jihad in South Asia and its links with Saudi Salafists.  

Dr. David Kilcullen is a partner at the Crumpton Group, a Washington D.C.-based strategic advisory firm. He also serves part time as a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for a New American Security and is a Senior Fellow of the East-West Institute. From 2007 to 2008 he was the Special Advisor for Counterinsurgency to the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, responsible for technical advice to the Secretaries of State and Defense, the National Security Council and the White House on counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dr. Kilcullen served on the 2008 White House review of Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy and was an advisor to General David Petraeus’s joint strategic assessment team for United States Central Command. In 2007 he served in Baghdad as a senior counter-insurgency advisor to General Petraeus, then commanding Multinational Force Iraq. From 2005 to 2006 he was chief counterterrorism strategist at the U.S. State Department, working in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia, including operational activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies.

Dr. Kilcullen previously served in Australia’s Office of National Assessments. Fluent in Indonesian, and partially fluent in Arabic and French, Dr. Kilcullen is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (elected 1996) and holds several honors and decorations, including the United States Army Superior Civilian Service Medal, "for exceptionally meritorious service to the United States as Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor, Multi-National Force-Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom," the first such award to a foreign national serving in combat alongside U.S. Forces.

Dr. Kilcullen is the author of The Accidental Guerrilla, published by Oxford University Press in March 2009, a detailed study that analyzes the complex interplay between local guerrillas and global terrorists in contemporary war zones from Africa to Southeast Asia. 

Mukhtar A. Khan is a Pashtun journalist based in Washington, D.C., covering the issues of Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions. Since 9/11, he has covered the War on Terror extensively in Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal areas, both for the local and international media, including the BBC, Mail on Sunday, and Voice of America. Before relocating to Washington D.C., Mukhtar closely monitored Pakistan’s tribal areas by paying frequent visits to the region and interviewing top Taliban leadership. Currently, he is working on a book about increasing trends of militancy in Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions and the spill-over effect it has had on the rest of the world. He is also contributing articles to various local and international publications on terrorism.

Dr. Andrew McGregor is the Director of Aberfoyle International Security, a Toronto-based agency specializing in security issues related to the Islamic world. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations in 2000 and is a former Research Associate of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. In October 2007, he took over as managing editor of the Jamestown Foundation’s Global Terrorism Analysis publications. He is the author of an archaeological history of Darfur published by Cambridge University in 2001 and publishes frequently on international security issues. His latest book is A Military History of Modern Egypt, published by Praeger Security International in 2006. Dr. McGregor provides commentary on military and security issues for newspapers (including the New York Times and Financial Times), and makes frequent appearances on the radio (BBC, CBC Radio, VOA, Radio Canada International) and television (CBC Newsworld, CTV Newsnet, and others).

Shuja Nawaz, a native of Pakistan, is a political and strategic analyst and writes for leading newspapers as well as The Huffington Post, and speaks on current topics before civic groups, think tanks, and on radio and television.  He has worked on projects with RAND, the United States Institute of Peace, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Atlantic Council, and other leading think tanks on projects dealing with Pakistan and the Middle East.  In January 2009 he was made the first Director of the South Asia Center at The Atlantic Council of the United States. He was educated at Gordon College, Rawalpindi, where he obtained a BA in Economics and English Literature and at the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University in New York, where he was a Cabot Fellow and won the Henry Taylor International Correspondent Award. He was also a member of the prize-winning team at Stanford University’s Publishing Program.  He was a newscaster and producer for Pakistan Television and covered the 1971 war with India on the Western Front.  He has worked for the World Health Organization and has headed three separate divisions at the International Monetary Fund.  He was also a Director at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.  Mr. Nawaz was the Managing Editor and then Editor of Finance & Development, the multilingual quarterly of the IMF and the World Bank and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Bank Research Observer. His latest book is Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within

Ahmed Rashid is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia as well as Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia. His latest book Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, published in June of 2008, has already received broad recognition for his assessment of US policy in the region. In 2001, he was awarded the Nisar Omani Award for Courage in Journalism by the Human Rights Society of Pakistan. He appears regularly on media outlets such as CNN and BBC World. 

Haroon Rashid is the Acting Editor for the BBC and is currently based in Islamabad. He obtained Masters’ degrees in journalism from both Peshawar University and City University in London, and has been part of the journalism industry since 1988.  He began reporting for the BBC in 1997 in Quetta, Balochistan, and has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the BBC Urdu Service.  He was awarded the ‘Best Reporter’ Award by the BBC in London in 2007 for his coverage of the conflict in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Marin Strmecki is Senior Vice President and Director of Programs of the Smith Richardson Foundation in Westport, Connecticut.  The Foundation supports public policy research and writing and operates one of the country’s largest grant programs on national security and foreign policy issues.  In addition to his role at the Foundation, Dr. Strmecki has recently worked in a variety of advisory capacities in the U.S. government, serving as the Afghanistan Policy Coordinator and as a Special Advisor on Afghanistan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (2003-2005), an advisor to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Afghanistan and Iraq (2004-2007), and as a Policy Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (2007-2008).  Also, he is a member of the Defense Policy Board.  Before joining the Foundation in 1994, Dr. Strmecki served as a professional staff member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1990 to 1991, a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of Defense in 1992, and a legislative assistant to Senator Orrin Hatch from 1993 to 1994.  He also worked as a Research Associate and Fellow in International Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 1985 to 1990, where he followed U.S.-Soviet issues and provided research and editorial assistance to Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski.  In addition, Dr. Strmecki served for over 16 years from 1978 to 1994 as a foreign policy assistant to Richard Nixon, assisting the former President with the research and writing of seven books on foreign policy and politics and other projects.  He received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. in international affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, a Ph.D. in government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.  Dr. Strmecki is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group. 

Jules Stewart is an Anglo-American historian and author who has spent most of his professional life in journalism, reporting from more than 30 countries. A graduate of New York University and the University of Madrid, he began his career as an academic, lecturing in Spanish language and literature at two U.S. universities before moving to Madrid, where he spent 20 years as a journalist. After joining Reuters, Stewart re-located to London in 1987, now his permanent home. He has been working as a freelance reporter since 1994, specializing in finance. In recent years Stewart has turned his efforts to authorship, producing four books to date on the history of the British on the North-West Frontier and in Afghanistan.  His most recent book is The Savage Border: The Story of the North West Frontier

Joshua T. White is Ph.D. candidate at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, and a Research Fellow with the Center on Faith & International Affairs at the Institute for Global Engagement. His research focuses on Islamic politics and political stability in South Asia. He has traveled extensively in Pakistan’s Frontier, served as a Visiting Research Associate at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, and spent nearly a year living in Peshawar in 2005/6. Joshua graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College with a double major in History and Mathematics, and completed his M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS, where he received the school’s highest academic honor. He has been interviewed on BBC, Voice of America, Geo News, and Al Jazeera; has testified before the U.S. Congress; and has written for a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal Asia, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, and the journal Asian Security. Most recently, he completed an extended monograph, Pakistan’s Islamist Frontier: Islamic Politics and U.S. Policy in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier.

Mariam Abou Zahab is a specialist on Pakistan, a researcher affiliated with the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) and a lecturer at both the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) and the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris. Her research focuses on Shiism in Pakistan, sectarianism and jihadi groups in Pakistan, as well as on Pashtun society and the tribal areas of Pakistan. Her most recent publication, Between Pakistan and Qom : Shi’i women’s madrasas and new transnational networks was published in 2008, and she anticipates the upcoming publication of  Salafism in Pakistan : The Ahl-e Hadith Movement.  She is co-author with Olivier Roy of Islamist Networks: The Afghan-Pakistan Connection and one of the authors of the report FATA – A most dangerous place, published by CSIS, in conjunction with the main author Shuja Nawaz.


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Background on FATA and the NWFP

By Andrew McGregor

The War on Terrorism might be characterized as the first Post-Modern war; a conflict without fronts, a struggle not against armies, but against “illegal combatants,” a war against a tactic rather than a nation. However, after more than seven years of global struggle, one region has emerged as the heartland of radical Islamist ideology and a refuge for the world’s most wanted international terrorists. Surprisingly, this region is not to be found in the Arabian Peninsula, the always volatile Levant, or even in the long-suffering home of the original Islamic Caliphate along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Instead, the center of this conflict may now be found in the remote mountains and lush valleys of Pakistan’s northwest frontier. 

Perhaps we should not be surprised. The frontier’s remoteness belies its strategic importance as the gateway between Central Asia, the Middle East and the vast plains of the Indian subcontinent. While international alliances and institutions consumed themselves with concern over so-called “rogue states,” a different type of threat was emerging from a loosely-administered and poorly-integrated part of the state of Pakistan, ostensibly one of America’s closest allies in Asia. 

Pakistan’s northwest frontier is divided into two major political entities – the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the seven semi-autonomous regions that comprise the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA). An ethnic quilt-work of the majority Pashtun and lesser tribes, the frontier is home to large communities of deeply traditional Sunni Muslims, as well as smaller communities of Shiite and Ismaili Muslims. Though far from the great Islamic universities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the currents of modern political Islam have broke upon the mighty Hindu Kush Mountains, seeping into the daily life of people who once had little interaction with the outside world. Radicalized by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Pashtuns of the frontier created their own centers of Islamic learning in a network of madrassas, schools that focused on the knowledge of Islam largely to the exclusion of other studies. Often propagating a local version of India’s reformist Deobandi school (itself influenced by Saudi Wahhabism), the madrassas graduated a generation of young men ready to reinvigorate Islam in their communities and willing to take up arms in the process. 

A wave of Pashtun taliban, or students, spilled forth from the madrassas in the 1990s to aid their Pashtun kinsmen across the border in taking control of the Afghan state from the non-Pashtun warlords of northern Afghanistan. For the tribesmen of northwest Pakistan, this mass movement of fighters did not constitute an invasion, but was rather another example of Pashtun political solidarity, with fighters going to the aid of their brothers and cousins on the other side of the Durand line, an artificial border created in 1893.

The hated and arbitrary division of the Pashtun community, a colonial legacy that, like so many other contested boundaries, was created without regard to the concerns of local communities, yet has nonetheless been preserved by an independent post-colonial state. To the consternation of Coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan, the virtually insecurable border between Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan continues to witness a two-way flow of militants, arms and supplies destined for Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, or their younger partners in the recently formed Tehrik-i-Taliban, a militant Islamist alliance largely based in the tribal agencies (particularly South Waziristan). 

The Historical Legacy

Of course, this is not the first time control of this region has been of interest to outside powers. The Persians of Darius, Parthian horsemen, the Macedonians of Alexander, the Mongols, the Huns, the Mughals, the Sikhs, the British imperialists and, most recently, the central government in Islamabad have all sought to establish their writ here. All save the last have passed into history, but each has left their stamp on the region. The legacy of these waves of conquerors has not been a bowed and broken local population of Pashtun tribesmen, but rather one that has found strength in religion and tribal traditions, forging a streak of independence that will not easily accommodate the rule of outsiders. 

A combination of forbidding geography, traditional Pashtun hospitality, a robust local strain of Islam and the fallout of the decade-long Soviet occupation of their kinsmen in Afghanistan have worked together to make the frontier region a refuge for the fugitive leadership of al-Qaeda and their Uzbek allies of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), who sought shelter in the Tribal Agency of Waziristan after being driven from their Afghanistan training camps in the months following 9/11.  

Today the radicalized Pashtuns of the frontier provide inspiration to Islamist militants everywhere by resisting offensives by the Pakistani military, interfering with U.S./NATO supply routes into Afghanistan and implementing Islamic law with the government’s approval in the Swat Valley. Missile attacks in the region by the United States on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets have brought local militants into the global jihad against America. Though many Pashtun elders and tribes continue armed resistance to the “Talibanization” of the frontier, the militants have grown stronger through the Afghan-assisted unification of a number of insurgent groups under the Tehrik-i-Taliban umbrella. 

Tackling Conflict Issues on the Northwest Frontier

Beginning with an address by Ahmed Rashid, the author of Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia and Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, the morning session of Jamestown’s NWFP/FATA conference will address a number of important topics: 

    * Operations by Pakistani security forces in the frontier region
    * The importance of sectarianism in the conflict
    * Profiles of the leading individuals in the FATA insurgency
    * The state of the jihad in the Swat valley
Dr. David Kilcullen, author of The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One and former special advisor for counterinsurgency to the U.S. Secretary of State, will give his insights into the conflict in the conference’s keynote address. The afternoon session will include discussions of the following issues: 

    * The effectiveness of U.S. aid in FATA
    * The use of FM radio stations in Taliban propaganda
    * Stabilization of the border region
    * Securing the vital Coalition supply lines to Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass
    * Learning from the British legacy in the NWFP
    * Scenarios for future developments in FATA

Time will be provided after each session for questions and answers with the expert panelists. 

With a new administration in Washington promising to wind down the military occupation of Iraq to focus more attention on Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, Jamestown’s NWFP /FATA conference will provide current perspectives on security developments in this crucial region. These will be of interest to decision-makers, analysts and anyone with a professional interest in the northwest frontier, Pakistan, the Afghanistan conflict or terrorism and insurgency issues. The conference is designed to examine what keynote speaker David Kilcullen might refer to as “conflict ethnography,” the pursuit of the deeper “physical, human, informational and ideological setting” in which the frontier conflict takes place. 

The future of the conflict in northwest Pakistan will also determine the fate of a new government in Pakistan that is already compelled to juggle the interests of its military and its intelligence services in order to remain in power. Unable to reduce the insurgency by military means, Islamabad is ready to open negotiations with the tribal militants once again, having already given major concessions regarding the implementation of Islamic law in the Swat region. Public opinion is clearly divided in Pakistan on the progress of Islamabad’s counter-insurgency and its military cooperation with the United States. The future of the state of Pakistan and its neighbors will be found in the success or failure of the state in reining in the extremists who call the northwest frontier home. Jamestown’s NWFP/FATA conference is therefore a singularly important event for all those interested in the future security of the United States, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

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