A strategic assessment of progress against the terrorist threat
Office of the coordinator for counterterrorism
US Department of state
U.S law requires the secretary of state to annually provide congress with a full and complete report on terrorism. The following article is taken from the U.S Department of State’s Country Report on Terrorism 2006, which was released in April 2007
Five years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the international community’s conflict with transnational terrorists continues. Cooperative international efforts have produces genuine security improvements-particularly in securing borders and transportation, enhancing document security, disrupting terrorist financing, and restricting the movement of terrorist.
The international community has also achieved significant success in dismantling terrorist organizations and disrupting their leadership. This has contributed to reduced terrorist operational capabilities and the detention or death of numerous key terrorist leaders.
Working with allies and partners across the world, through coordination and information sharing, we have created a less permissive environment for terrorists, keeping leaders on the move or in hiding and degrading their ability to plan and mount attacks.
Canada, Australia, The United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many other partners played major roles in this success, recognizing that international terrorism represents a threat to the whole international community.
Through the regional Strategic Initiative, the State Department is working with ambassadors and interagency representative in key terrorist theaters of operation to assess the threat and devise collaborative strategies, action plans, and policy recommendations. We have made progress in organizing regional responses to terrorists who operate in ungoverned spaces or across national borders.
This initiative has produced better intra-governmental coordination among U.S government agencies, greater cooperation with and between regional partners, and improved strategic planning and prioritization, allowing us to use all tools of statecraft to establish long-term measures to marginalize terrorists.
Despite this undeniable progress, major challenges remain. Several states continue to sponsor terrorism. Iran remains the most significant state sponsor of terrorism and continues to threaten its neighbors and destabilize Iraq by providing weapons, training, advice, and funding to select Iraqi Shia militants. Syria, both directly and in coordination with Hezbollah, has attempted to undermine the elected government of Lebanon and roll back progress toward democratization in the Middle East. Syria also supports some Iraqi Baathists and militants and has continued to allow foreign fighters and terrorist to transit through its borders into Iraq.
International intervention in Iraq has brought measurable benefits. It has removed and abusive totalitarian regime with a history of sponsoring and supporting regional terrorism and has allowed a new democratic political process to emerge. It also, however, has been used by terrorists as a rallying cry for radicalization and extremist activity that has contributes to instability in neighboring countries.
Afghanistan remains threatened by Taliban insurgents and religious extremists, some of whom are linked to al-Qaeda to sponsors outside the country. In Afghanistan, public support for the government remains high, national institutions are getting stronger, and the majority of Afghans believe they are better off than under the Taliban.
But to defeat the resurgent threat, the international community must deliver promised assistance and work with Afghans to build counterinsurgency capabilities, ensure legitimate and effective governance, and counter the surge in narcotics cultication.