Country Report Pakistan
- ID: 2101420
- September 2015
- Region: Pakistan
- 25 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
On September 22nd Pakistan's interior minister, Nisar Ali Khan, reiterated previous statements by Pakistani military and civil officials that the Islamist militant attack on the Badaber air base on September 18th was masterminded in Afghanistan.
The fallout from the attack has set back efforts to change the tenor of the bilateral relationship and bolster security co-operation against Islamist militants. Pakistan has long been frustrated by Afghanistan's failure to interdict militants focused on operations in Pakistan. An agreement in May 2015 to enhance security co-operation promised to tone down the accusatory rhetoric. Instead, frictions have continued to flare over security incidents, with each country blaming the other, confirming that mutual suspicion remains the default attitude.
Although the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, the Pakistani Taliban) claimed responsibility for the Badaber air base attack, in which at least 29 people were killed, Pakistani military officials insist that the incident was "planned, executed and controlled" from Afghan territory. Afghanistan's president, Ashraf Ghani, denied any Afghan involvement on September 21st, saying that the country does not allow its territory to be used for operations against Pakistan. The principle of denying safe havens was at the heart of the May agreement, but has proved difficult to apply. Mr Ghani's security apparatus is too weak to stop militants even on its own soil (or to capture the TTP leader, Mullah Fazlullah, who is known to be based in Afghanistan's eastern region), while Pakistan has been reluctant to oust senior Afghan Taliban leaders living openly in Pakistan.