The US is still accepting a role for Pakistan to play to root out extremism in the region. What has been a cause of concern for western countries in general and the US in particular is the spread of religious extremism and militancy in the tribal areas in Pakistan and across the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. These areas have been a place of attractions for the militants and extremists who continue to gravitate towards these lawless areas from Arab countries and other Islamic countries.
Recently, the US has grown more critical of Pakistan’s effort to crack down on these militants that are both home-grown and drawn in from other countries and societies where they do not find the setting to do the Jihad against western societies and over the last ten years they have continued to infiltrate into Afghanistan to carry out terrorist attacks against Afghan government and international forces operating to stabilize the country.
The criticism further sharpened after the US embassy in Kabul was assaulted in a coordinated and organized fashion allegedly by Haqqani network, which is said to be linked with and receive support from Pakistani intelligence service.
Now that Arab countries are swept by the Arab Spring and began to democratize, the extremists may be drawn in more influxes into these areas if there is no concerted action taken by the regional countries. This could be further cause of worry for the policy-makers in the western administrations.
The US administration has recently shown sort of willingness to pursue a policy of carrot and stick towards Pakistan by both criticizing its so-far role and encouraging it to play its role in putting an end to the conflict in Afghanistan by stopping to support those who blow things up in its neighbors.
On Friday, October 21, 2011, State Secretary, Hillary Clinton, said that insurgents on both sides of the Durand Line should be targeted in order to rid the region of terrorism. Talking to a news conference in Islamabad after meetings with senior Pakistani government officials, Clinton said, “Pakistan has a critical role to play in supporting Afghan reconciliation and ending the conflict.
We look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny Afghan insurgents safe havens and to encourage the Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith.” President Hamid Karzai has also reiterated that it is time to negotiate with Pakistan instead to talking to Taliban who do not have the authority for that. It is not clear how Pakistan will play this time.