Fighting Shadows

By Dr. Ahmed Saeed Minhas | March 2020

Book Title : Fighting Shadows
Author    : Muhammad Samrez Salik
Publisher  : National Defence University
Pages    : 226
Price    : Rs. 1500
ISBN     : 0000000587556

Fighting Shadows’ describes how Pakistan became embroiled in the global war on terror, what price it paid during the course of fighting it and what the Pakistan Army did for rehabilitation of the war-torn western border areas.

Samrez Salik has created the context with phrases like turbulence and resilience. He attributes ‘turbulence’ to the political, domestic and international environment to which Pakistan was subjected since its inception and uses ‘resilience’ in terms of the country’s response to challenges with a resolve to come out of those turbulent periods successfully.

In the first chapter, ‘A Future Foretold’, he prepares the stage for readers to understand the kind of strategic environment in which Pakistan was when 9/11 took place. He covers the background in terms of Pakistan’s geo-strategic location that compelled it to fight the hot part of the Cold War in the shape of the Afghan Jihad. Pakistan faced the roaring bear, the ‘USSR’, that eyed the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Though it sided with the US but Pakistan was abandoned by America as soon as the USSR started being fragmented. The Americans just left the region without caring for rehabilitating it and this had lasting implications for Afghanistan which couldn’t rise up from the destruction of the American-Soviet proxy war and is today a country hat has been relegated to the dustbin by the rest of the world.

The Afghan economy fell into the hands of various war factions that resulted in a kind of civil war. The fragmented political and domestic Afghani social fiber became a safe haven for terrorists, including Al-Qaeda elements, that paved the way for destabilization in the region. Pakistan had traditional links with Afghanistan and a long porous border which gave rise to many social evils such as drugs and a weapons culture.

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