Journal : Jiefang Daily Date : Author : NA Page No. : 4
URL : http://newspaper.jfdaily.com/jfrb/html/2016-03/29/content_182917.htm

Pakistan experienced a “Black Sunday” in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province. On the evening of March 27, the city suffered a suicide bomb attack in a public park killing at least 70 people, including 29 children, and leaving 340 injured, as of the evening of March 28. This was Pakistan’s deadliest attack since December 2014. Thus far there has not been any news of any Chinese nationals hurt. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar,which split off from the Pakistan Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the bombing and vowed that there would be more attacks on schools, government and the military.

Links to the Brussels terrorist attack?

Just last week a series of terrorist attacks by the Islamic State took place in the Belgian capital Brussels. Two attacks within a week.Previously there were reports that the Pakistani Taliban had shown interest in IS. Could the Pakistan park attack and the Brussels terrorist attack be linked? Is there an IS shadow behind this attack too?

Li Wei, counter-terrorism expert and the Director of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations Research Center for Counter-Terrorism, said that, judging from the current evidence, there is no direct connection between the two attacks. From the point of view of the Pakistan-Taliban, they are able to create social panic and oppose the government’s action through the series of attacks. Moreover, Pakistan Taliban’s aim is to establish a theocratic State, thus the religious factor is a major element in its attacks.According to CNN reports, the Pakistan-Taliban’s faction which claimed the responsibility of attack also said that it was targeting Christians.

Zhao Gancheng, South Asia expert and the Director of the Asia-Pacific Center Shanghai Institute for International Studies, also raised the same point. He told reporters that over the past two years the Pakistan government launched an offensive to eradicate the Pakistan-Taliban in the Northwest frontier mountain area, resulting in increased retaliation by Pakistan-Taliban. Before the Lahore park attack, there was an attack on a university in the north-west border in in January that killed at least 21 people. However, the target area has now shifted from the northwest border area to the center of power and wealth. Attacking Lahore, which is not only the capital of the largest and richest province of Pakistan, but also Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political power base,is a very strong provocation, according to a BBC report.

However, Li Wei believes that while on the surface it seems that Pakistan-Taliban is retaliating against the government’s crackdown, behind all of this is a deeper political intention to use  terrorist attacks to force the government to shift from secularism towards a theocratic country.

Does the Pakistan-Taliban have links with IS?

As for the relationship between Pakistan-Taliban and IS, based on the information currently at hand, it seems a little complicated and bewildering.

Early in 2014, a small armed group originally a part of the Pakistani Taliban declared its allegiance to IS leader Baghdadi, with plans to send troop reinforcements to Syria and Iraq. However,  in 2015 the Pakistan-Taliban reiterated their allegiance to the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Meanwhile the Islamic State was also actively seeking to expand their influence in South Asia and reached out to Pakistan at the same time. Some IS members distributed pamphlets in the streets of Peshawar city in the northwest part of Pakistan.

Li Wei believes that despite no declaration of allegiance to IS by the Pakistan-Taliban, it does not rule out IS influence on some of its militants. However, as a whole there is no indication yet that the Pakistan Taliban has officially teamed up or formed an alliance with IS.

Previously the Pakistani government had also stated there is no evidence that IS forces have emerged in Pakistan. Neither has the IS formally claimed any allegiance of the Pakistan-Taliban nor have they ever claimed any responsibility for  Pakistan’s domestic attacks.

Why is it caught up in an infinite loop?

After Sharif came to power in 2013 he had tried to address the security problems through peace talks. In the first half of 2014, during Pakistani government’s peace talks with the Taliban, violent activities did indeed reduce and the two sides even achieved a short-term ceasefire. But it did not last long as negotiations gradually reached an impasse. The Karachi airport attack in June that year resulted in  a complete breakdown of the peace talks. In the same month, the government launched the offensive code-named “sword action”,aimed at completely wiping out the Pakistan-Taliban.

However, this did not extinguish the  flames of terrorism. The Pakistan-Taliban launched the deadliest terrorist attack ever in Pakistan’s history at the end of 2014, attacking a military children school in Peshawar in the north-western part of Pakistan. At least 130 people were killed and 120 people were injured in the attack.

Later, the Sharif government adopted a “zero tolerance” stance against terrorists and struck a series of tough anti-terrorist blows.But just when the Pakistan military was celebrating the success of their 15 month old “sword action” offensive, the Pakistan-Taliban again showed its presence and power in the form of a surprise attack at Pakistan’s Badaber Air Force Base on last September 18 killing at least 26 soldiers and four civilians.

Why does the security situation in Pakistan always fall into an infinite loop:”terrorist attack—cleaning up—another retaliatory terrorist attack—repeat clean up…” ?

“As domestic and foreign factors are intertwined, the security situation in Pakistan is very complex. The anti-terrorism situation is also not very optimistic”, Zhao Gancheng points out. One aspect is that it is very difficult to eradicate Pakistan’s national religious extremism, national separatism and political extremism in a short period of time. The Government of Pakistan also supports the anti-terrorism efforts by United States while Pakistan-Taliban is vehemently anti-American. If government military operations are characterized as anti-terrorism, then the Pakistani security forces are (perceived as) fighting for the United States too which provokes the Pakistan-Taliban and results in a stronger retaliation.The other aspect is that the Pakistani Taliban is in a partnership with the Afghan Taliban—their “foundation” is intertwined. This “foundation”provides funding assistance and arms to Pakistan-Taliban and ro some extent that also leads to attempts to seize Pakistan’s internal authority. Therefore, in maintaining the security and social stability, the Pakistan Government’s hands and feet are tied by a multi-faceted problem.

Li Wei pointed out that the Pakistan-Taliban’s loose structure and internal differentiation increases the government’s  difficulty in fighting and conducting negotiations.Moreover, there are serious internal power struggle and factional conflicts in Pakistan-Taliban.Some “doves” hope to negotiate with the government but some “hawks”would rather fight. Ultimately it is  very difficult to advance the peace talks.

 

巴基斯坦恐袭与反恐 为何总是陷入死循环

 

巴基斯坦遭遇“黑色星期日”。巴基斯坦旁遮普省首府拉合尔的一个公园27日晚遭遇自杀式炸弹袭击,截至28日晚,这次袭击已造成包括29名儿童在内的至少70人死亡、大约340人受伤。这也是巴基斯坦2014年12月以来死伤最惨重的袭击。目前无中国人伤亡消息。巴基斯坦塔利班分支“自由者大会”宣称实施这次袭击的同时,声称将发动更多针对学校、政府和军方的袭击。

与布鲁塞尔恐袭联动?

就在上周,比利时首都布鲁塞尔发生连环恐怖袭击,极端组织“伊斯兰国”(IS)宣称负责。两起袭击相距不到一周时间,巴塔早先也传出向IS示好,公园血案与布鲁塞尔恐袭是否有联动关系?背后也有IS的影子吗?
反恐问题专家、中国现代国际关系研究院反恐研究中心主任李伟表示,从目前迹象看,布鲁塞尔恐袭与这次巴基斯坦恐袭并无直接呼应关系。从巴塔制造的一系列袭击事件来看,通过恐袭方式打击政府、制造社会恐慌是其一贯手段。而且,巴塔的目标是建立政教合一的国家,宗教化因素在巴塔的袭击中也占据很大成分。据美国有线电视新闻网(CNN)称,巴塔分支在宣称负责时,也表示这次袭击目标是基督教徒。
南亚问题专家、上海国际问题研究院亚太中心主任赵干城也持相同观点。他告诉记者,近年来,巴基斯坦政府对巴塔聚集的西北边境及山区加大清剿力度,这导致巴塔的报复力度在加强。在拉合尔公园血案之前,巴塔1月份袭击了西北部一所大学,造成至少21人死亡。而这次袭击在地点选择上从西北边缘地区向权力财富集聚地转移。据英国广播公司(BBC)报道,事发地拉合尔是巴基斯坦最大和最富有的省份旁遮普省的首府,而旁遮普省也是巴基斯坦总理谢里夫的权力基地,挑衅意味十分强烈。
不过,李伟表示,表面看来巴塔是在报复政府的清剿行动,但其背后有深层的政治意图,就是借助恐怖袭击迫使政府从世俗化向宗教化转向,建立其心目中的政教合一国家。

巴塔与IS有染吗?

至于巴塔与IS的关系,从目前获得的信息看似乎有点扑朔迷离。
早在2014年,一些原从属于巴基斯坦塔利班的小型武装团体宣布效忠IS及其头目巴格达迪,还打算向叙利亚和伊拉克派兵增援。但是,2015年,巴塔又向阿富汗塔利班头目奥马尔表示效忠。
与此同时,IS也积极谋求向南亚扩张势力,把手伸向巴基斯坦。一些“伊斯兰国”成员已经在巴基斯坦西北部城市白沙瓦街头散播宣传册。
李伟认为,尽管巴塔曾表示效忠IS,也不排除其部分武装人员受IS影响,但是,作为一个极端武装势力的整体,暂无迹象显示巴塔与“伊斯兰国”已正式联手或结盟。
此前,巴基斯坦政府也表示,尚无证据证明IS  势力已经出现在巴基斯坦境内。IS迄今也没有正式接受巴塔部分武装的效忠,也没有宣称制造巴国内的相关袭击事件。

为何陷入死循环?

谢里夫2013年上台后,曾试图通过和谈来换安全。2014年上半年,在巴政府与塔利班和谈期间,暴恐活动确实有所退潮,双方甚至还实现短期停火。但好景不长,谈判逐渐陷入僵局,当年6月发生的卡拉奇机场袭击事件让和谈彻底破裂。同月,政府对巴塔发起代号为“利剑行动”的全面清剿。
然而,巴塔的恐怖火焰并未就此熄灭。2014年年底,巴塔制造了巴基斯坦历史上伤亡最惨重的一起恐袭——巴西北部白沙瓦一所军人子弟学校遭袭,至少130人丧生、120人受伤。
事后,谢里夫政府以对恐怖分子“零容忍”的强硬姿态出台了一系列反恐组合拳。但去年9月18日,就在巴军方夸耀持续15个月的“利剑行动”取得成功之际,巴塔又一次显示它的存在和能量——突袭巴基斯坦白沙瓦伯德埃波空军基地,导致26名军人和至少4名平民丧生。
为什么巴基斯坦的安全局势总是陷入“恐袭—清剿—再恐袭—再清剿”的死循环?
“由于国内国外因素交织,巴基斯坦安全局势非常复杂,反恐形势也不容乐观。”赵干城说。一方面,巴国内宗教极端势力、民族分裂势力以及政治极端势力短期内很难根除。巴基斯坦政府又支持美国反恐,而巴塔强烈反美,如果政府把军事行动定性为反恐,那么巴安全部队就是在为美国而战,这会激起巴塔更猛烈的报复。另一方面,巴基斯坦塔利班既与阿富汗塔利班有合作关系,又与“基地”颇多瓜葛。“基地”可能为巴塔提供资金、武器援助,甚至企图夺取巴塔内部的控制权。因此,巴基斯坦政府在安保维稳中被多重阻力缚住手脚。
李伟指出,巴塔的松散结构和内部分化增加了政府打击和谈判的难度。而且巴塔内部也存在严重的权力斗争和派系冲突,以和政府谈判为例,有的是“主和派”,希望与政府进行谈判; 但有的是“主战派”,要对抗到底,因此和谈也很难推进。

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