America, the greatest purveyor of violence, as Martin Luther King Jr once called it, has once again blamed Pakistan for not taking significant action against militant outfits. A US based report, the “Country Report on Terrorism 2016”, suggests that terrorists are using “Pakistan-based safe havens” as launching pads to carry out their attacks on the US forces. It mentioned the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-i-Tayyiba and Jaish-i-Muhammad as groups located in Pakistan, but focused on conducting attacks outside the country.

However, the data that the report relies upon also shows a significant reduction in terrorism in Pakistan in 2016. It is a testimony to Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism. Nonetheless, the overall tone of the report is not in favour of Pakistan, and neither is the debate happening in Washington over the future of American support to Pakistan.

US criticism of Pakistan is misplaced. Pakistani forces are in a constant fight against Taliban since 2008. Should we blame Pakistan for taking so long to combat terrorism on its soil? No. For the issue of militancy cannot be solved just through military operations. It takes decades for a country to overcome militancy. The US knows this from their stay in Iraq and Afghanistan; why demand different standards from Pakistan that they have never been able to meet themselves? America is failing in Afghanistan and the suggested increase in American troops may not ensure US victory in Afghanistan. Under International law, American presence on Afghan soil amounts to the illegal occupation of Afghanistan, and thus its people have the right to resist the American occupation, and they are. Even at the height of the American occupation of Afghanistan, the law and order situation was below par. In comparison, most of Pakistan is reasonably peaceful and Pakistan is far from being a failed state like Afghanistan. Obviously, we did something right to remain stable.

America can’t really dictate terms to the people on the ground. We are the ones who have to deal with any backlash and fallout, and we have to follow what our military and intelligence sees fit to do, rather than what is ideal for the US. Has America forgotten Vietnam, and how hard it was to win the war against a guerrilla enemy? It is a lose-lose situation for us; we either get attacked by terrorists or get berated by the US. The Americans sitting so far away from this conflict have a very rudimentary understating of how to deal with terrorism – case in point: Afghanistan, where they are losing the battle ever since it started.

We’ve made progress, and the US has admitted to this itself. Yet, there is a lack of patience and trust. Their own wars have taken them decades to fight, from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, and they want Pakistan, a young struggling developing country to fix things in a day.