Nearly nine out of 10 people in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) oppose the US pursuing the Taliban and al-Qaeda in their region, according to a survey of more that 1,000 people from 142 villages in all seven tribal agencies that make up the region.
Carried out for the New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow, the interviews were conducted by Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP), a Pakistan-based NGO that works in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
They also reveal that nearly 70 per cent of FATA residents want the Pakistani military alone to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda. While only one in ten think suicide attacks are often or sometimes justified against the Pakistani military and police, almost 60 per cent believe they are justified against the US military.
More that three-quarters of FATA residents also oppose drone strikes, with only 16 per cent believing that they accurately target militants, while 48 per cent think they largely kill civilians and another 33 per cent feel they kill both militants and civilians.
However, despite the strong opposition to the US, more than three-quarters of FATA residents oppose the presence inside their region of al-Qaeda and over two-thirds oppose the presence of the Pakistan Taliban. Sixty per cent oppose the presence of the Afghan Taliban. If al-Qaeda or the Pakistan Taliban were on the ballot in an election, less that one per cent of FATA residents said they would vote for them. Only 12 per cent would support justice being delivered by the Taliban.
The antipathy of FATA residents towards US policy in the region is not a sign of opposition to the US in general. Most people would support America if it changed its regional policies.
FATA residents strongly support the Pakistan Army, with nearly 70 per cent backing the Army's campaign against militants. The most popular person, by a significant margin, is General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Pakistan Army's Chief of Staff. And while they are opposed to the US drone missile strikes, opposition falls dramatically if those attacks were to be carried out by the Pakistan Army instead.
For more information and a regional breakdown of the survey, check out the website.
Taliban announce 2017 Spring Offensive
13 hours ago