The governments of China and Russia have used the precarious position of Pakistan and its weakening ties to Washington to make serious inroads in their influence. The government of Pakistan, once a considered a key ally in the U.S. war on terrorism, has had to face allegations that it harbors more than a dozen terrorist groups.
But with China and Russia behind the scenes playing upon the Pakistani worries about their neighbor India, Washington and the Trump administration may soon find themselves on the outs with the government of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan’s relations with three of its four neighbors — Afghanistan, India, and Iran — are at a low point. And instead of trying to rein in extremism, the government appears to be feeding the growing conservative movement with no sign of backing off a controversial blasphemy law that has led to repeated mob violence.
Experts say 13 of the approximately 60 U.S.-designated global terrorist organizations are based in Pakistan, mostly in the tribal region that borders Afghanistan.
Major militant groups include the Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani Network, along with Laskar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Jundullah. And despite denials that Islamic State has a presence in the country, the terror group has claimed responsibility for recent attacks there.
Two U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation last September to designate Pakistan a terror state over its inability to curb homegrown militancy and the threat it poses to its neighbors. Republicans Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher accused Pakistan of harboring global terrorist leaders and supporting terror groups, including the Haqqani Network, which targets Afghan and U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The Pakistanis claim that allegations of harboring terror groups are nothing more than Washington blaming its failures on them. But the Pakistani’s real fears center around India. The two countries have fought three wars, and another is always a threat. Both sides have nuclear arsenals capable of destroying the subcontinent several times over.
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Photo the Kremlin
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