Anxiousness in power corridors of the US is rising. The humiliating exit from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to Afghan Taliban – a movement that was once outlawed by the West – has opened floodgates of worry, and Washington is now ‘concerned’ about nukes in Pakistan falling into hands of the militants. In a recent report released by an American think-tank titled ‘The agonising problem of Pakistan’s nukes,’ it has been stated that “the fear now includes the possibility that jihadis in Pakistan, freshly inspired by the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, might try to seize power at home.” The Brookings report also argues that the US fears that nukes in Pakistan may fall into the wrong hands, which will create an unrest in the entire region. However, these concerns by the US seem out of place as history is proof that the Pakistan Army and its highly professional intelligence agencies are equipped to effectively counter terrorism in the country. The success of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in 2014 and many other similar operations have resulted in curtailing terror activities in the country. The economic and political revival in Pakistan today with its third consecutive democratic terms nearing an end, only add weightage to this claim.
In fact, as a US ally in the war on terror, the Pakistan Army has also successfully helped the US forces in its adventures against the Soviet Union and then Afghanistan. The report also puts these concerns at rest as it mentions “if history is a reliable guide, Pakistan’s professional military would almost certainly respond, and in time probably succeed.” It must be also noted that the Afghan Taliban came into power, the military leadership has assured that Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan are safe and the armed forces are “prepared to meet any situation.” Thus, the baseless concerns of the US presidents as the report entails hold no ground. Having said that Islamabad nonetheless needs to ramp up its efforts against the recent uptick in terror attacks. Talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are underway and the prime minister had also shown interest in reaching out to aggrieve people in Balochistan. The civil and military leadership of the country should follow through these in a pragmatic manner, while also revisit the National Action Plan. Pakistan has already paid a heavy price in its war on terror and it no longer can afford to do so.