Even-Handed Confrontation in War on Terror

  • 21 July 2008

Terrorist forces are known for their tactics of changing their battlefront frequently because of militaristic and logistical reasons. In recent years, the Middle East has witnessed dramatic shifts in the tactics of terrorist forces, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several recent reports reveal that Al-Qaeda forces, which had entered Iraq in the aftermath of the invasion of that country in 2003, have now started leaving for Afghanistan for a variety of reasons including the severity of security clampdown against them in Iraq and the growing aversion of Iraqi people toward their activities. The terrorist elements also find the Afghan situation suitable for their activities and operations.

In order to counter this strategy employed by terrorists, it would be important to devise a more even-handed approach in the war on terrorism, one that does not concentrate on a single battleground at the expense of other. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Al-Qaeda elements headed to Iraq and the country became the central battlefront in the war against terrorism. The strong crackdown against terrorist elements in Iraq by the international coalition and Iraqi forces led to the spawning of new centres of terrorism, and Afghanistan re-emerged at the main battle front in this war. 

Recently, terrorist forces have increased their operations on the Afghanistan front and the losses for coalition forces in the country have increased. There are reports that US is planning to increase its troop presence in the country to take on the new challenge in that country.  Clearly, this suggests the defeat for 'Al-Qaeda in Iraq" and the escape of its members abroad.

Taking into consideration the importance of the war on terror and the symbolic significance of the Afghan front in this war, it is necessary that the recent spike in violence in Afghanistan is countered effectively and a serious military campaign conducted to end the still unfinished business in that country. The change in tactics of terrorist forces clearly shows that they are adept at mixing attack with retreat, surprise raids and ambush and employing deception which makes their actions unpredictable. The proof of this lies in their successful operations in Iraq.

Iraq is still faces the threat of terrorism and if security campaigns have been able to curtail it for now, it would be important to build on the present advantage and gains and not lose it by shifting the entire focus on Afghanistan, without undermining the importance of tackling the crisis afflicting the latter front.