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Al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan and Beyond

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict and Terrorism Volume: 31 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 775-807
Rohan Gunaratna; Anders Nielsen
Date Published
September 2008
33 pages
The purpose of this article is to map the evolution of al Qaeda and its associated groups since their relocation to the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) in Pakistan.
After the United States led coalition forces attacked al Qaeda and Taliban infrastructure in Afghanistan beginning in October 2001, the epicenter of global terrorism moved from Afghanistan to tribal Pakistan. Known as the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) in Pakistan, this region has emerged as the premier hunting ground for the al Qaeda leadership. With the co-option of new groups in FATA and its adjacent North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), the al Qaeda threat has proliferated. The threat posed by the Afghan Taliban has been compounded with the addition of a new range of actors notably the Pakistani Taliban. Working together with multiple threat groups, both foreign and Pakistani, al Qaeda directs its global jihad campaign from FATA. Unless there is successful intervention on the Afghan-Pakistan border, the threat to Afghanistan and mainland Pakistan will continue. The article argues that after al Qaeda was dislodged from its traditional base of Afghanistan in early 2002, this group has been able to reconstitute itself and fight back largely because it found a safe haven in Pakistan’s FATA. This article explores how groups seeking to create an Islamic state have been able to find refuge and subsequently establish sanctuaries in the FATA and NWFP regions of Pakistan. 1 figure and 172 notes