Terror attacks in Pakistan plummeted by more than 85% over the past decade. It’s a welcome statistic for the country, but one that risks being overshadowed by international concern over its efforts to curb terror funding and lingering militant activity that could test any future peace agreement in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The tally, put together by Pakistani think tanks, found terror attacks dropped from nearly 2,000 in 2009 to fewer than 250 in 2019, a steady decline that underscores the long-haul nature of fighting terror.
But a Paris-based international watchdog said in October that Pakistan was not doing enough to stop terror financing. The group meets next month to decide whether the country should be downgraded from a gray status to black, alongside Iran and North Korea, a step that could pose a challenge to Pakistan’s economy.
Pakistan’s militant groups are often interlinked with those across the border in Afghanistan, so its progress at reining in terror is critical, particularly as Washington seeks to secure a deal with the Afghan Taliban to bring an end to the 18-year war, America’s longest military engagement.
The sharp decrease in terrorist violence, which we began to see in 2014, is nothing short of remarkable, said Michael Kugelman, Asia Program Deputy Director at the Washington-based Wilson Center.
But, he cautioned, Pakistan is certainly not out of the woods yet. Last year, the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, the watchdog that monitors terror financing, said Pakistan had fully implemented only one item from a list of 40 measures to curb terror financing and money laundering. The other 39 measures were either partially implemented or in some cases overlooked entirely.