War on terror incurs substantial losses in Pakistan

War on terror incurs substantial losses in Pakistan
# 12 September 2012 20:35 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The U.S.-led war on terror in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the American soil has brought more suffering to Pakistanis than the Americans 11 years since the war erupted, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Agonies for the people of Pakistan in fact started when President Pervez Musharraf joined the U.S.-led coalition against the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan in late 2001.

The decision proved to be disastrous for Pakistan as Taliban militants unleashed an all-out war on the security forces, political leaders, tribal elders and the communities which they thought are supporting the army.

Officials say the terrorist attacks have killed around 40,000 people over the past 11 years. Nearly 5,000 security men were among those killed in Taliban attacks and military operations in the northwest tribal regions and the SWAT valley in 2008-2010 to clear out militants’ safe heaven.

Official statistics say that the country has also suffered huge economic losses of around 70 billion U.S. dollars.

Taliban militants, who routinely claim responsibility for attacks, say they are showing angry reaction to the military operations and to what they call pro-U.S. policies of the Pakistani government. But civilians suffered the most just for nothing.

A recent survey by Gallup Pakistan revealed that majority in Pakistan consider the U.S. as the biggest enemy of Pakistan, which is a clear indication that Pakistanis do not trust the United States.

When Musharraf joined the U.S.-led ally, he had promised that his decision would secure Pakistan, improve its economy and protect the country’s nuclear program. But the promise turned out to be hollow.

Insecurity has gripped the whole country as people now fear attacks at any time and anywhere. Mosques and other places of worships, which are the safest and sacred places for Muslims and followers of other religions, are also targeted when they are packed with worshippers. Taliban said they are punishing whole communities even in mosques and playgrounds because of their support for the government.

Taliban threats of more attacks have also badly affected business across Pakistan, especially in main cities.

Taliban attacks have scared foreign investors away from Pakistan, which needs more investment now. Almost all Western and European airlines have stopped flights to Pakistan and international matches between Pakistan and other countries were held abroad.

Pakistan, which has rarely seen suicide attacks until 2003, now faces ferocious Taliban suicide bombings frequently in cities against security forces.

Pakistan has seen many deadly attacks on military bases including the brazen attack on the major air base at Kamra in August and the air base of the Pakistani Navy in Karachi in May last year, which killed 10 navy officers in a 16-hour battle. Taliban, who had claimed responsibility, said they were avenging the killing of Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaida. Two P-3C Orions maritime patrol aircraft were destroyed.

In October 2009, suspected Taliban militants disguised as soldiers attacked the army headquarters in Rawalpindi and took 42 people hostage in the building. 9 gunmen, 11 soldiers and 3 hostages were killed during a 24-hour gunbattle inside the heavily fortified headquarters.

With the American troops due to quit Afghanistan by the end of 2014, time is ripe for Pakistan to part with the U.S.-led alliance and to pursue an independent foreign policy free of any foreign dictation and relationship must be based on equality. This policy will put an end to terrorism and ensure sovereignty of Pakistan, analysts said.