Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in South Asia

Government Support for Militant Groups in South Asia

Authored by: Tricia Bacon

Routledge Handbook of the International Relations of South Asia

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032159881
eBook ISBN: 9781003246626
Adobe ISBN:


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The presence of two state sponsors in South Asia has contributed to the terrorist threat, exacerbated conflicts, and even brought countries to the brink of war. The Pakistani government and the Afghan Taliban regime have both supported an array of militant groups since their respective inceptions. Principal-agent theory, part of the rational choice approach in international relations, has been the dominant theory to explain the motives, benefits, and costs of state sponsorship of militant groups. The theory persuasively explains the Pakistani government's behavior, but it falls short in fully illuminating the Taliban's calculus. Despite incurring substantial costs, neither government is likely to abandon its relationships with militant organizations in the future.

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