Stephen Tankel

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Supporters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an arm of the banned Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, at a rally in Islamabad in July. Jamaat-ud-Dawa recently sought to register a political party, but was rebuffed. Credit Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

Pakistan is home to many Islamist terrorist groups. Some enjoy a permissive environment despite technically being banned by the state. This has enabled them to acquire political power. Politicians sometimes court terrorist leaders to turn out voters.

While researching counterterrorism a few summers ago, I met with a high-ranking Pakistani official to talk about his decision to attend a campaign rally with the leader of a proscribed terrorist organization. He admitted that getting the terrorist leader to turn out voters for a politician was his motivation. He also suggested that encouraging such men get into politics was better than seeing them remain involved in terrorism.…  Seguir leyendo »

The National 9/11 Flag is unfurled during a ceremony on May 15, 2014, marking the opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. (Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — 16 years ago on Monday — President George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism that he pledged would not end until every terrorist group of global reach was defeated. Bush drew a line in the sand, telling every nation, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”. The Bush administration was more flexible than this rhetoric suggested, but it still evinced a strong willingness to act unilaterally.

President Barack Obama sought to make U.S. counterterrorism efforts more sustainable, and thereby enable the United States to focus more on other challenges.…  Seguir leyendo »