Pakistan remains the “biggest source of instability” for Afghanistan, a London-based think tank said on Tuesday.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said Pakistan had become the “key battleground” for Al-Qaeda-linked fighters who fled the US-led invasion in 2001 that ousted the Taliban from power.
“Pakistan remained the biggest source of instability for Afghanistan,” it said in its annual review report.
The think tank added: “It is clear that Pakistan has become the key battleground in Al-Qaeda’s efforts to establish a base area to replace the one lost in Afghanistan.”
US President Barack Obama announced shortly after his inauguration in January that his administration would tackle Pakistan and Afghanistan together, and appointed seasoned diplomat Richard Holbrooke as his special envoy.
The IISS described the “Talibanisation” of Pakistan’s tribal areas as “the most serious development of recent years” in global efforts to fight terrorism.
And it said that identifying the link with Pakistan had resulted in “genuine intelligence cooperation in Kabul among Afghans, Pakistanis and others on how to address this AfPak security dilemma”.
In April, Pakistan launched a military offensive against the Taliban in the northwest districts of Buner, Lower Dir and Swat after militants advanced to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the capital Islamabad.
The IISS said that if Pakistan succeeds in quelling the unrest, “a more benign environment could emerge in Afghanistan”.