US and Pakistan Vow Cooperation Against Militant Threats

The US and Pakistan have pledged to strengthen cooperation in combating militant groups like the Islamic State and Pakistani Taliban. The countries agreed to expand counterterrorism collaboration, including technical expertise and border security infrastructure, during a recent dialogue in Washington.

Trim Correspondents
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US and Pakistan Vow Cooperation Against Militant Threats

US and Pakistan Vow Cooperation Against Militant Threats

The United States and Pakistan have pledged to strengthen cooperation in combating the growing threats posed by militant groups like the Islamic State's regional affiliate and the Pakistani Taliban. In a joint statement released following a counterterrorism dialogue in Washington last week, officials from both countries identified the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Daesh as the "most pressing challenges" to regional and global security.

Why this matters: The cooperation between the US and Pakistan is crucial in combating the growing threat of militant groups, which can have far-reaching consequences for regional and global security. The success of this partnership can also serve as amodel for other countries to address transnational terrorism threats.

The Pakistan-US Counterterrorism Dialogue, held on May 10, was co-chaired by Ambassador Syed Haider Shah, Pakistan's Additional Foreign Secretary for the UN and OIC, and Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, the US State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism. The meeting focused on the evolving terrorist landscape in the region, with discussions centering on areas of mutual interest and concern.

The dialogue resulted in several key commitments, including expanding counterterrorism collaboration through exchanges of technical expertise, investigative and prosecutorial assistance, and the provision of border security infrastructure and training. The US has already trained over 300 Pakistani police and frontline responders since the last counterterrorism dialogue in March 2023.

Both governments also resolved to increase communication and continue collaboration to detect and deter violent extremism through whole-of-government approaches. The joint statement emphasized that "a partnership to counter Daesh Khorasan, TTP, and other terrorist organizations will advance security in the region and serve as a model of bilateral and regional cooperation to address transnational terrorism threats."

The renewed commitment to counterterrorism cooperation comes amid a surge in militant attacks in Pakistan's western regions bordering Afghanistan, where the TTP and Daesh are said to have sanctuaries. According to a recent report by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Pakistan witnessed at least 432 violence-linked fatalities and 370 injuries among civilians, security personnel, and militants in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

The TTP, an ally of the Afghan Taliban which seized power in Afghanistan in 2021, has been a particular concern for Pakistan. Islamabad has accused Kabul of not doing enough to tackle militant groups targeting Pakistan from across the border. In March, Pakistan's military claimed that a suicide bombing which killed five Chinese engineers and a Pakistani driver was planned in Afghanistan, with the bomber being an Afghan national - an allegation denied by Kabul.

As Pakistan and the US work to bolster their counterterrorism partnership, securing access to Afghanistan's airspace remains a key priority. With extremist groups like Daesh and TTP continuing to pose significant threats, enhanced bilateral cooperation and capacity building will be crucial in detecting and deterring violent extremism across the region. The joint commitment by Washington and Islamabad represents an important step in advancing both regional and global security in the face of transnational terrorism.

Key Takeaways

  • US and Pakistan pledge to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation against IS and TTP.
  • Joint statement identifies TTP and Daesh as "most pressing challenges" to regional and global security.
  • Partnership aims to expand technical expertise, investigative assistance, and border security training.
  • US has already trained over 300 Pakistani police and responders since March 2023.
  • Cooperation seeks to detect and deter violent extremism, advancing regional and global security.