A Critical Study of Pakistan’s Counterinsurgency Strategy in the Tribal Areas (2001-2014)

  • Alamgir Khan

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    After the United States (US) invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the military regime in Pakistan faced a religiously motivated insurgency in the tribal areas. However, the respective Pakistani governments failed to make an effective counterinsurgency strategy to counter it. This project is devoted to ‘The Study of Pakistan’s Counterinsurgency Strategy in the Tribal Areas (2001-2014)’ which focuses on the following key questions; Why did insurgency begin in the tribal areas? Why did the insurgency expand? Why did it escalate? Most importantly, why did Pakistan’s counterinsurgency strategy fail to contain it? The theoretical literature on the onset of civil war and insurgencies suggests that relative deprivation and weak state capacity are key factors responsible for the onset of insurgencies. Similarly, the empirical literature on insurgency considers the country’s foreign policy during the Soviet-Afghan war and foreign presence in Afghanistan as an explanatory factor for the insurgency in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Likewise, the literature on the expansion of insurgency suggests that the lack of will and lack of capacity of the security forces were key factors responsible for the expansion of insurgency in tribal areas. Also, the literature on the escalation of insurgencies argues that external support for insurgents and internal coercive measures contribute to the escalation of insurgencies. The novelty of this study is that it advances different explanations for each of these areas in the light of the three-stages framework developed for this thesis. The framework stresses that there is not one single explanation for the origin, expansion and escalation of insurgency in the tribal areas; therefore, advancing these different explanations for insurgency contributes to the existing knowledge. After explaining the nature of insurgency in the tribal areas, the study uses classical and global counterinsurgency theories which will enhance our understanding of how to counter religiously motivated insurgency.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsUniversity of Swabi
    SupervisorCameron Ross (Supervisor) & Abdullah Yusuf (Supervisor)

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