Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Retired Lt.-Gen. Agha Farooq, has advised Nigeria to adopt non-kinetic warfare strategy in order to consolidate on the military’s gains in the counter-insurgency operations in the northeast.
He gave the advice in Abuja on Monday in a lecture he delivered at the National Defence College, titled “Non-Kinetic Warfare and National Security.”
He explained that the concept of non-kinetic warfare emphasised on exploiting fault lines and inefficiencies in the society with the aim of winning a war without necessarily fighting.
The high commissioner said effective counter-terrorism operation was one that was based on 80 per cent political decisions, with only 20 per cent military actions.
He said Nigeria had the necessary resources and national power to fully exploit non-kinetic opportunities to end the menace of insurgency within and around its borders.
He added that “counter-insurgency is difficult even for the best military; it requires remarkable military skills which must be backed by strong political decisions.
“The advice I can give to Nigeria is to adopt this non-kinetic warfare strategy; Nigeria has some elements of national power and every other ingredient to become a better society in adopting this approach.
“We don’t believe in branding, we don’t believe in carpet washing in the name of terrorism and taking away human lives, Nigeria must focus on the other approach that takes care of the needs of society.”
Farooq said Nigeria must avoid the mistakes of Pakistan in its counter-insurgency operations by looking more at the root causes of terrorism and insurgency rather than utilising only military force.
He said unlike Nigeria, Pakistan had to learn the lessons of countering insurgency the hard way by making harsh policies and taking wrong decisions at a particular phase of its operations.
He, however, acknowledged the fact that military action was indispensable in flushing out violent elements among the population.
The high commissioner said Pakistan and Nigeria had a lot of experiences to share in both countries’ efforts to stamp out insurgency from their domains.
He said Nigeria had the better chances of ending its insurgency because of the peculiarity of attacks and the level of external influence and threats.
He noted that “terrorism is a disease, a cancer and a way by some individuals to achieve their objectives.
“It is an embarrassment strategy and anybody can adopt this strategy to embarrass a nation he or she is in conflict with.
“Today, Pakistan has sufficiently addressed its challenge by first addressing the root causes of terrorism and secondly by engaging different segments of its population that does not believe in terrorism.”
On his part, the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, said the non-kinetci approach to conflict resolution was most desirable.
Alade said the concept could be passed on to all sections of the nation’s Armed Forces in order to elicit the cooperation and understanding of the larger segment of society in the fight against terrorism.
He said “the concept of non-kinetic warfare trickles down to what I call winning the hearts and minds of the people.
“Once we are able to take care of the population, terrorism will be defeated automatically.
“At the tactical level, we are talking about training our men. For a soldier to win a war, that soldier must be a fighter, a politician and a social worker.
“So, through training, most of our soldiers and junior commanders will imbibe this strategy and culture of non-kinetic warfare.”
Alade thanked Pakistan for the cordial military relations that had resulted in the training of several military officers in Pakistani military institutions.
He said Nigeria remained the country with the highest number of military officers trained in Pakistan.
The lecture is part of the academic programme for course 24 participants of the National Defence College, Abuja.