Taming the Frontier: A Myth of Impossibility   [open pdf - 786KB]

"Since the establishment of the Durand Line in 1893 as the international border between Afghanistan and British India, the frontier areas on the eastern side of the border have not been integrated into the social fabric or political framework of the government. Conventional wisdom views integrating the tribes of the FATA as extremely difficult, if not impossible. The real reason is that neither the British nor subsequent Pakistani administrations committed the appropriate resources or attention to accomplish the task due to a lack of political will. Geopolitical influences and Islamist militants drove the resistance that deemed the effort to integrate the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, an area void of significant natural resources, not worth the cost. The terrorist organizations that Pakistan supported both covertly and overtly in the frontier areas are now uncontrollable and the very instruments intended to promote the national interests of a nuclear armed yet power deficient state pose an existential threat to the government they were intended to serve. Contemporary rhetoric now supports complete integration of the FATA into the writ of the Pakistani government. The good news for those policy makers who see this as a daunting task is that no government has really tried."

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