Pakistan, Lebanon Among ‘Terrorist Safe Havens’


By Patrick Goodenough |

(CNSNews.com) – Countries identified as “terrorist safe havens” in the annual State Department terrorism report released Wednesday include major recipients of U.S. foreign assistance, including military aid.

Pakistan and Lebanon stand out, since in both cases the report indicates that their governments’ approaches towards terrorism are part of the problem.

Although several other key U.S. aid recipients, notably Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan, are also listed as “safe havens,” in those cases government efforts battling terrorists are noted. Other “safe havens” include countries where large areas are ungoverned, such as Libya and Yemen.

The State Department’s 2016 evaluation does not reflect well on Pakistan in particular, as the report reinforces long-held concerns that while Islamabad combats some terrorist groups it coddles others, allowing their leaders to address supporters and fundraise openly.

Pakistan has long been among the biggest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance. In the FY 2017 budget request it was fifth-biggest recipient, behind Israel, Egypt, Afghanistan and Jordan.

Since 2001 U.S. taxpayers have contributed more than $33 billion to Pakistan, either in direct aid or as reimbursements for counterterrorism efforts.

An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act authored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and passed unanimously last week, requires the administration to certify that Pakistan is not providing military, financial, or logistical support to any terrorists operating in Pakistan or Afghanistan – a step Poe said “forces Pakistan to make a long overdue choice: either go after terrorists or lose millions of dollars of American aid.”

The term “terrorist safe haven” in the report applies to “ungoverned, under-governed, or illgoverned physical areas where terrorists are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit, and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both.”

The report states that “numerous terrorist groups” continued to operate from Pakistani territory in 2016, including the Haqqani Network (HQN), Lashkar e-Toiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

All three are U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).

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