Counter-terrorism alliance


WEB DESK: Given the wide sweep and infinite savagery that international terrorism has acquired, particularly since the arrival of Daesh on the scene, giving it an equal fight has become increasingly problematic with the civilian law enforcement agencies.

Effectively countering the terrorists has therefore now quintessentially become a military affair. The concerned governments do employ political and diplomatic tools and try engaging terrorist entities to amicably resolve the differences, but generally with very little success. On the other hand, to remain prepared for inter-state conflicts, of course, remains the military commanders’ top priority. But fighting terrorist entities is no less critical for the armed forces.

They are being increasingly tasked to neutralise terrorists’ bases by targeting their safe havens, disrupting their supply lines and destructing their ammunition stores. Military exercises to hone capability to fight terrorist outfits are therefore now a regular feature. One such exercise was held at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) base at Korala in the Xining region of China. The exercise depicted effective neutralisation of a terrorists’ base in the mountainous region employing modern equipment and gadgets.

Among the witnesses was Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and chief commanders of China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan – representing the four countries who share a clear concern about the rise of Daesh in the region, which may attract the runaways from the erstwhile extremists movements and outfits given the space the Afghan Taliban may concede in the wake of expected rejuvenation of Quadrilateral Co-ordination Group. A delegation of Afghan Taliban was in China last month, with a message that they want to sit on the table with others within the framework of the Group.

The highlight, and no less consequential, for the PLA military exercise was the meeting of minds of the four chief commanders. They are said to have stitched up a counter-terrorism mechanism under the rubric of Quadrilateral Cooperation and Co-ordination Mechanism (QCCM). It is basically a Chinese initiative, but actively contributed by General Raheel Sharif who in this connection has already visited Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Under this arrangement the four countries would cooperate in a number of areas, including evaluation of counter-terrorism situation, clue verification, intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism capacity building and personnel training. They also have joint anti-terror exercises. It would be military-to-military cooperation mechanism, and not against any other country or international body. How will it work one should pin hope on its viability given the insularity the generalship generally enjoys. Unlike the political leaders the military commanders are likely to be far less buffeted by the outside pressures.

And, also, they are in a better position to comprehend the complexity of the threat the region is confronted with, especially when entities like East Turkistan Independence Movement (ETIM) enjoy patronage in some of the capitals in the West. India would not achieve much by activating its sleeper cells in Afghanistan with a view to sabotaging the QCCM.

Source: Business Recorder