How has the war on terror affected Pakistan’s economy, military resources, loss of lives, hatred towards the west, and, especially, the peace and security of the country?


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  • War on terror changed the whole socioeconomic and geopolitical dynamics of the globe
  • Pakistan suffered a lot in terms of its economy, military, human lives and peace.

2-Understanding the term “war on terror.”

3-Effects of war on terror on Pakistan

  • ✓Effects on the economy
    • Huge loss of economic  resources
      • Case in point: Pakistan has borne the cost of $150 billion since 2001, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI)
    • Decline in tourism
      • Case in point: Taliban control over Swat
    • The burden of Afghan refugees
      • Case in point: 1.4 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • ✓Effects on military resources
    • Loss of lives of soldiers and security personne
      • Case in point: 9000 Pakistani soldiers have died since 2001, Inter-Services Public Relations Pakistan (ISPR)
    • Destruction of air bases due to drone attacks
      • Case in point: US attack on Salala air base
    • Increase in the defence budget
      • Case in point: Pakistan has spent more than $100 billion on its defence since 2001, National Defence University (NDU)
  • ✓Effects on civilians’ lives
    • Death of civilians due to drone attacks
      • Case in point: approximately 3000 have died in 406 drone attacks, Watson Institute of International Relations
    • Death of people due to terrorist attacks
      • Case in point: Pakistan has lost 83,000 people in terrorist attacks, Inter-Services Public Relations Pakistan (ISPR)
    • Displacement of people
      • Case in point: 3 million people have been displaced due to military operations, ISSI
  • ✓Effects on people’s sentiments towards west
    • Rise of Anti-American sentiments among Pakistanis
      • Case in point: 2018 poll suggested that approximately 60 per cent of Pakistani view the US as a hostile nation and worthy of hatred, PEW Research Centre
    • Resentment of local tribal people
      • Case in point: 75 per cent of tribal consider foreigners as enemies, Stimson organisation
    • Attacks on foreigners
      • Case in point: terrorists attacked ten foreigners in 2013
  • ✓Effects on peace and security
    • Increase in the number of terrorist attacks
      • Case in point: approximately 16,000 incidents of terrorism have occurred since 2001, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal
    • Threats to foreign-funded projects
      • Case in point: terrorist attacks on workers of CPEC
    • Downward trend on Global Peace Index
      • Case in point: Pakistan ranks 147 out of 190 nations in the Global Peace Index

4-Critical analysis


Answer to the Question


Years-long war on terror has abruptly changed the whole socioeconomic and geopolitical dynamics of the globe. The agenda behind the war on terror has been the eradication of all the elements responsible for terrorism from the world. Unfortunately, Pakistan, due to the decisions of its ruling elites, became a front-line state and has suffered a lot in terms of its economy, military, human lives and peace. The country has borne the main brunt of the ramifications of its decisions as the Taliban has declared it an enemy of Islam and attacked it in various ways. Pakistan provided different types of support to the US, such as logistical support, air bases and intelligence sharing. It has also borne the missile attacks launched by the US.    Consequently, this bleak situation has given rise to many problems in Pakistan, such as an increase in the defence budget, resentment of local people and a huge loss of economic resources. It has also destabilised the peace and security environment of the country as thousands of terrorist attack has been launched since 2001.   This article endeavoured to explain the impacts of the war on terror on Pakistani society.

Understanding the term “War on Terror.”

The term war on terror is used to describe the global counter-terrorism military campaign launched by the United States. After the incidents of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, the US decided to take action against Islamiat militant organisations, such as Al Qaida, Islamic State, and their international supporters. Nato and Non-Nato members took part in this campaign. The war officially ended with the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

Effects of “War on Terror” on Pakistan

  • ✓ Effects on the economy

Pakistan’s already staggering economy faces a setback as a result of the destruction caused by the war on terror. Undoubtedly, the country received a huge amount of money in the form of aid and loans from the US to support its stance. However, this amount was not more than a drop in a bucket. According to ISSI, Pakistan has borne the cost of $150 billion while the US only provided $20 billion in aid. The country’s economic growth in 2009 was 2 per cent because of its internal issues, such as operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), displacement of locals and destruction of infrastructure. Terrorist elements have also obstructed economic activity, resulting in economic declivity. According to Pakistan’s ministry of finance, the war on terror has caused a decline in production, revenue and foreign direct investment; as a result, Pakistan is not able to pay its instalments to International Monetary Fund (IMF). The tourism potential of the country has also been impacted due to this war as the most attractive tourist destinations, like Swat, are prone to extremist elements.

The country is still trying to recover its tourism potential but despite efforts,

Pakistan is still not able to earn revenue from tourism to its full potential. Moreover, Pakistan is catering to 1.4 million Afghan refugees, which is burdening its economy. In conclusion, it is clearly evident that the war on terror has annihilated Pakistan’s economy.

  • ✓ Effects on military resources

The war on terror has gravely impacted the military resources of Pakistan as they were directly involved in this war. Pakistan allowed the US to use its air bases and logistics. However, the latter always misused the favour given by the former. In 2011, the US launched an attack on the Salala air base in which 24 soldiers were killed. Moreover, several drone attacks were carried out on tribal people, which generated hatred for the Pakistan army. Several attacks on security personnel were launched by the terrorists. As mentioned by Inter-Services Public Relations Pakistan, around 9000 soldiers and security personnel have been killed since 2001. Additionally, Pakistan s defence budget skyrocketed after its involvement in the war on terror. Most of the resources were shifted to defence for countering terrorism. As described by the professor at National Defence University, since its involvement in the war on terror, Pakistan has spent more than $100 billion on defence. Moreover, to satisfy the demands of the US, several operations, like Zarb e Azb, were launched, which consumed a lot of military resources. In a nutshell, the war on terror has consumed a huge amount of Pakistan’s military resources by forcing the counter to be spent on the eradication of its self-created evil.

  • ✓ Effect on civilians’ lives

The global war on terror has spread like a contagion into the well-settled areas of the northern part of Pakistan. Mostly, search operations for finding terrorists were carried out in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Thousands of homes, schools and madrassas were smashed into pieces in the name of so-called operations. In order to kill terrorists, the US began its drone strikes in 2004. Consequently, thousands of people died in these attacks., most of them were innocent civilians. As reported by the Watson Institute of International Relations, approximately 3000 have died in 406 drone attacks. Besides, the cruel wave of terrorism has also swallowed a huge number of innocent lives.

As stated by Inter-Services Public Relations Pakistan, Pakistan has lost 83,000 people in different incidents of terrorism. Moreover, due to the military operations carried out in northern parts of Pakistan, millions of people were forced to leave their homes. According to ISSI, 3 million people have been displaced due to military operations. Hence, Pakistan paid a heavy price for its involvement in the war by sacrificing thousands of innocent lives of its citizens and impacting their social lives dreadfully.

✓Effect on people’s sentiments towards west

The United States, being an aggressive hegemony, have always taken unilateral actions regardless of the consequences for other people. Since 2001, the same has happened in Pakistan; it continued to invade the territorial integrity of the country. Also, Pakistanis consider the US a selfish nation which has always been using Pakistan for its own benefit. According to the PEW research centre, 60 per cent of Pakistani view the US as a hostile nation and worthy of hatred. In addition, resentment of local tribal people is also on the rise as they consider the US responsible for the loss of their homes, land and loved ones. According to the report published by the Stimson organisation, 75 per cent of tribal consider foreigners as enemies. Consequently, people began treating foreigners as a threat to their lives and society and started launching attacks on them. In 2013, ten foreigners were killed while they were resting on Nanga Parbat. Thus, the war on terror has played a main role in generating anti-American sentiments among the people of Pakistan.

  • ✓ Effect on peace and security

Pakistan has faced security problems since its inception, but after 2001, the new threat of terrorism has become more harmful to its peace and security environment. Since its involvement in the war on terror, Pakistan has continued to become a target of malicious activities, including foreign-sponsored terrorism, disruptions caused by internal terrorist organisations, suicide bombings, and efforts to sabotage foreign projects. Several terrorist attacks on Chinese people have been carried out to sabotage CPEC. In 2022, three Chinese nationals were killed in a suicide bombing attack on their vehicle. Moreover, the number of attacks on local public and security personnel also skyrocketed after the involvement in the war on terror. As stated by South Asia Terrorism Portal, near about 16000 terrorist attacks have been carried out in Pakistan since 2001. Moreover, there is a continued threat of war as India always blames Pakistan for the attacks carried out on its soil. For example, after the Palawan incident, two nuclear powers were on the brink of war. Pakistan is also facing a downward trend in the global peace index. Currently, Pakistan ranks 147 out of 190 nations on the Global peace index, which is a bleak situation.   Thus, dreadful impacts inflicted by the war on terror have severely damaged the security environment of the country.

Critical Analysis

In a sagacious diagnosis, it is very evident that Pakistan has paid a very high price in response to the favour given to the US. The country played a key role in facilitating US intervention in Afghanistan by providing all types of logistics, military and intelligence support. All this inflicted a high cost on Pakistan’s economy, military, society, and peace, making it one of the most affected countries in the world. Despite the damages it has faced, the US continued to blame Pakistan for providing a safe harbour to terrorists. Moreover, Pakistan has not only become the target of terrorist attacks but also has borne hundreds of drone attacks inside its territory. It is not wrong to say that situation in Pakistan could be much better if it was not involved in the war on terror.


In a nutshell, after the incidents of 2001, Pakistan was left with no option, and it was forced to become a front-line state in the war on terror. It has paid a steep price in terms of its economy, infrastructure, military and human lives, which is incalculable. Terrorist activities have done much damage to the country in almost all vital sectors. It has deteriorated overall economic growth by obstructing economic activities. The US and its NATO allies provided a very small amount of support funds and burdened the already stressed economic resources. The war is now over, and Pakistan, having passed through the most difficult stage, is emerging as a strong state by making efforts to minimise past damages.   

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