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Since 2001, Pakistan has undertaken a number of operations against militant groups, including al Qa'ida, that directly affect U.S. national security. Despite some successes, militant groups continue to present a significant threat to Pakistan, the United States, and a range of other countries. Numerous militant networks — including al Qa'ida and other foreign fighters — exist in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and North West Frontier Province. Pakistan will not be able to deal with the militant threat over the long run unless it does a more effective job of addressing the root causes of the crisis and makes security of the civilian population, rather than destroying the enemy, its top counterinsurgency priority. In addition, Pakistan needs to abandon militancy as a tool of its foreign and domestic policy; it sends a confusing message internally and has a large potential to backfire.

This monograph results from the RAND Corporation's Investment in People and Ideas program. Support for this program is provided, in part, by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers.

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