Sameer Lalwani in Foreign Policy:
The recent revelations that the San Bernardino shooters had extremist ties to Pakistan might appear to confirm the narrative that Pakistan is consumed by a downward spiral of extremist violence. But over the past year, it has quietly made some important, costly, and under-appreciated strides in its counter-militancy efforts. Individually, none are groundbreaking, but together they point in a more promising direction for Pakistani society, regional stability, and the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
First, the Pakistani army has pursued more comprehensive military operations in tribal areas than initially expected. Although it has not directly targeted the Haqqani Network as the United States hoped, Pakistan has actively targeted a wide array of militant groups, not just the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).
Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the leader of the TTP and a longtime government tactical ally based in North Waziristan, may have only been displaced to Afghanistan during the early phases of the military’s operation, but the Pakistani army has made his life difficult. It reportedly targeted him, sidelined him operationally from his organization, and then eliminated some of his remaining commanders in airstrikes last fall.