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The Tribal Areas of Pakistan: A Haven For Terrorists?

19 January 2005, 0:00

Half-Day Conference on 'The Tribal Areas of Pakistan: A Haven For Terrorists?' - 19 January 2005 at 1315 (Buffet Lunch from 1215)

The Royal United Services Institute will hold a half-day conference on 19 January on The Tribal Areas of Pakistan: A Haven for Terrorists? The conference will be held at the Institute and open at 1315. A buffet lunch will be served at 1215. It will conclude at approximately 1715. This event has been organised jointly with the Institute for the Study of Indo-Pakistan Relations, University of Leicester.

The war against terrorism in Afghanistan brought the U.S. and its allies into conflict with the Pashtun-dominated Taliban. This, in turn, opened up the question the future relationship of the tribal areas with the central government of Pakistan: the Pashtun tribes that inhabit the area are fiercely independent and are suspected of co-operation with the Taliban and, according to some claims, of harbouring Osama bin Laden. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, since 9/11 regular Pakistani army troops have operated within the region and there have been ‘co-ordinated’ U.S.-Pakistan operations in the border region with Afghanistan, which have resulted in civilian casualties and in turn fuelled an insurgency in South Waziristan. Pakistan’s tribal region has been used by Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters to launch attacks on US-led coalition forces across the border in Afghanistan. The move by Pakistani authorities to flush out extremists has been strongly opposed by pro-Taliban tribesmen and the hardline Islamic parties who govern the North West Frontier Province. In February 2004, Lieutenant-General David Barno, the top American officer in Afghanistan, stated that he hoped that efforts by Pakistan, combined with a change in American counter-insurgency tactics in Afghanistan, would create a ‘hammer-and-anvil’ effect to trap al-Qaeda fighters between US and Pakistani forces. The military cooperation has not been without complications however over the precise demarcation of the ‘Durand Line’ separating Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This conference will invite a mix of those with first hand experience of military operations in the region to provide the current perspective and academics to introduce the issues facing the region and the origins of the problems. The speakers will be:

Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, formerly commander of the Pakistan armed forces in the FATA

Colonel Barry Shapiro, Chairman, Department of Regional Studies, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii, and formerly a serving officer in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border.

Ross Masood, formerly Director-General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad

Dr Bettina Robotka, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

1215-1315 –           Buffet Lunch<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 

1315-1330 -            Introduction 

1330-1520 –           Presentations & discussion from Aurkzai and Masood 

1520-1540 –           Coffee 

1540-1715 –           Final Session with Shapiro and Robotka.

The Conference fee is £23.50 (£20.00 + VAT)

If you would like to take part in this conference, you can register by contacting:

Mamoona Shah
Events Manager
Events Department
RUSI
Telephone: +44 020 7747 2648
Fax: +44 020 7747 2625
E-mail: mamoonas@rusi.org

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