War on Terrorism: Nepalese Perspectives
A Director's Forum with His Excellency Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal
In this Director’s Forum, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba described his government’s efforts to democratize Nepal while fighting against an insurgency group, the Maoists, who are determined to dismantle multiparty democracy and constitutional monarchy. Since 1996, the Maoists, often described as terrorists, have been staging attacks on civilians, infrastructure, and democratic and development institutions with the goal of establishing a totalitarian communist republic. The prime minister said that despite good faith attempts by his government to negotiate, the Maoists have escalated their attacks, targeting the district administrative headquarters of the country including district police offices and army barracks. As a result, this past summer, the prime minister declared a state of emergency and mobilized security forces against the Maoists.
Since 1996 when the Maoists took up arms, Nepal has been fighting terrorism. As a result of this struggle, the prime minister said that Nepal was especially sympathetic with Americans after 9/11. The prime minister called for international support and cooperation in his fight for democracy in Nepal in addition to pledging his support in the international coalition. "We all know that destabilization of a country by a terrorist group with heinous purposes can have adverse effects around the world."
"I would like to assure you that we are determined to root out terrorism from Nepal ourselves and we have taken many initiatives, both security related and developmental." Nepal is facing increased financial strains however due to a sharp rise in security expenses and a decrease in internal revenue collection due to disruption of economic activities including the nearly crippled tourism industry. The prime minister noted that while peace and security are his short-term objectives for Nepal, he is committed to several long-term reforms as well including: socio-economic transformation and strengthening of good governance with decentralization of authority. The prime minister also mentioned some of his recent reforms: land reform, the formation of a national women’s commission, and anti-corruption laws.