Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — PAK-US-AFGHAN TIES

US mulling dropping Pakistan as an ally: UK publication

report i n the Express Tribune, Sept 16, 2017
The Trump administration is considering dropping Pakistan as an ally as it examines tough measures to quell more than 20 terrorist groups it says are based in the country, a UK publication had reported.

Financial Times reported that officials familiar with the Pakistan prong of Washington’s new “AfPak” strategy — which involves an open-ended commitment in Afghanistan and praise for India — say it has yet to be fleshed out. But they have plenty of levers.

President Donald Trump last month promised to get tough on Pakistan, accusing it of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting”.

The administration has already put $255 million in military aid on hold after Trump announced the policy shift. It is eyeing an escalating series of threats, which include cutting some civilian aid, conducting unilateral drone strikes on Pakistani soil and imposing travel bans on officers of the ISI, the country’s intelligence agency.

It could also revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally or designate it a state sponsor of terrorism. The latter options would limit weapons sales and probably affect billions of dollars in IMF and World Bank loans, along with access to global finance.

Relations are expected to take a further blow from US efforts to forge closer ties with rival India.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said this week it was “unfair” to blame his country for troubles in Afghanistan, adding that the US should have greater respect for its efforts to combat militancy. Ryan Crocker, former US ambassador to Pakistan in the wake of 9/11, says Pakistan resents the wild oscillations in support from the US.

“They went from our most allied of allies to our most sanctioned of sanctioned,” he said, recalling that the US worked with Pakistan to defeat Soviet Russia during the 1980s Afghanistan invasion but, once it had won, cut aid and imposed sanctions over its emergent nuclear programme. “Their narrative about us is here today, gone tomorrow and it has deeply affected their strategic thinking.” https://tribune.com.pk/story/1508324/us-mulling-dropping-pakistan-ally-uk-publication/

September 18, 2017   No Comments

Torkham border crossing closed after twin blasts

by Ibrahim Shinwari in Dawn, September 16th, 2017
LANDI KOTAL: Six security personnel and three civilians were injured in two grenade attacks near the Pak-Afghan border crossing at Torkham on Friday.

The border crossing was immediately closed to traffic and pedestrian movement following the twin blasts, which were carried out from the Afghan side of the border, said officials.

Khyber Agency Political Agent Khalid Mehmud told Dawn that footage of closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) installed at Torkham confirmed that two grenades were hurled by unidentified men from across the Afghan border.

“One of the grenades exploded at the Frontier Corps (FC) centre close to the border’s zero-point, while the other landed on the main road nearby,” he said, adding that six FC men and three civilians, including a child, were injured.

Mr Mehmud said the injuries were not of serious nature and four of the victims were discharged from the hospital after medical assistance.

The injured FC personnel were identified as Lance Naik Amanullah and sepoys Salman Ali, Lateef, Abdul Jalal, Zia and Faheemullah.

Names of the injured civilians could not be known, but it was learned that an Afghan national on the other side of the border was also injured in the attacks.

The Torkham border security officials imposed a curfew at the border and surrounding areas while restricting movement of Afghans to Peshawar and other cities.

Political Agent Mehmud, Commandant of Khyber Rifles Col Farrukh Humayun and other security and administrative officials reached Torkham to oversee security arrangements at the border.

Following the twin grenade blasts, officials of both countries held a brief meeting in which they agreed to take tough security measures to prevent cross-border attacks in future.

The Afghan officials were informed about the possible involvement of Afghan nationals in the attacks as was revealed in the CCTV footage.

Officials said a decision regarding reopening of the border would be taken on Saturday (today) after consultations with higher authorities in Islamabad. https://www.dawn.com/news/1358050/torkham-border-crossing-closed-after-twin-blasts

September 16, 2017   No Comments

US conduct first airstrike in Pakistan after new strategy declaration

By Khaama Press – Sat Sep 16 2017, 11:07 am
At least three Afghan Taliban members were killed in an airstrike in the tribal regions of Pakistan in what appears to be the first US drone strike after the announcement of the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

According to the local officials, the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Kurram Agency in the tribal regions of the country.

The officials further added that an unmanned aerial vehicle fired missiles on a gathering of the Taliban insurgents.

According to the officials, at least three of the militants were killed and two others were wounded in the attack.

The identities of those killed in the airstrike have not been ascertained so far with the Taliban group yet to comment regarding the raid.

This comes as the Afghan and US officials have long been criticizing Islamabad for remaining reckless to act against the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network sanctuaries as they claim that the leadership councils of the two groups are based in the key cities of Pakistan from where they plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan, including some of the deadly attacks on US forces.

While announcing the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia last month, the US President Donald Trump strongly criticized Pakistan regarding the terror sanctuaries, saying “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen.” www.khaama.com/us-conduct-first-airstrike-in-pakistan-after-new-strategy-declaration-03449

September 16, 2017   No Comments

Facilitating peace process in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s national interest

by Raza Rumi in Daily Times, September 10th 2017
The writer is editor, Daily Times.
During his election campaign, President Trump had vowed to end the foreign wars and redirect the resources towards domestic needs such as infrastructure development. He seems to have reversed his position by announcing that more troops will be sent to win the war. In his speech, Trump was tough on Pakistan accusing it of providing havens to ‘terrorists’ who kill US soldiers. He also asked India, a rising South Asian power, for assistance in resolving the Afghanistan imbroglio. In essence, President Trump has introduced another layer of uncertainty in the Afghan conflict.

Fifteen years after Operation Enduring Freedom commenced, the Taliban in Afghanistan remain a formidable force and no solution of Afghanistan’s future can discount their role. The Afghan government — propped up by the US as part of its state building project — does not have control over nearly half the territory of the country. The Cost of Wars Project at Brown University has estimated that the US has spent nearly $5 trillion wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001. Afghanistan alone has consumed $2 trillion. And this is a conservative estimate, as it does not include the cost of money borrowed or what will be spent on the veterans. Thousands of American soldiers have also died in this conflict.

Aside from the rhetoric of enduring freedom and exporting democracy, the real issue here is how the war machine influences US foreign policy. No other country spends more on defense than the US; and the mainstream media has been a cheerleader if not a participant in these war ambitions.

Trump’s ‘strategy’ is hardly a new strategy. President Obama also employed his infamous surge in 2009, which did not yield any tangible results. It is easier to blame Pakistan for sabotaging the US goals than to admit that from the very start the notion of occupying, restructuring and democratising a complex country was not the best of ideas.

Pakistan has been a frontline ally of the United States since the 1950s. From Cold War to the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s to the war on terror, Pakistan has executed American foreign policy and security goals in exchange for billions of dollars in military and civilian assistance. In the case of Afghanistan, Pakistan’s security goals are not in sync with that of the US. The key reason for this is the rivalry with India. Pakistan fears that India may gain influence in Afghanistan and therefore it might be encircled by a hostile power on its eastern and western borders. For years, Pakistan has been tolerant, if not outright supportive, of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network. And this is the key cause for current fissures in Pak-US relations.

President Trump’s speech was not received well in Pakistan. Civilian and military leaders decided to commence an inter-agency review of Pakistan-US relationship, the Afghan war and Pakistan’s engagement with the Kabul government. The visit of Assistant Secretary of State was postponed at Pakistan’s request. An emergency Envoys Conference was convened by Foreign Office. Its recommendations have been sent to National Security Committee to formulate a new foreign and security policy.

A key reason for Pakistan’s defiance is the deepening of the country’s ties with China investing at least $55 billion in Pakistan as part of its One Belt One Road project. China and India — both growing economies with huge defense capabilities — are rivals for power in Asia. Many observers view the US strategic alliance with India as a counterweight to Chinese influence. Trump’s invitation for India to play a role in Afghanistan has irked Pakistan’s military. In fact, pitting the nuclear neighbours against each other spells escalation of conflict in South Asia.

The truth is that diplomatic engagement is needed at a time when there is no Special Representative of USG for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hundreds of positions in State Department are lying vacant. Trump’s strategy is largely militaristic. While the US has officially stated that it wants to support a process of reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban militia, it is unclear how this will happen given the increased war rhetoric.The silver lining is that American media have highlighted the pitfalls of Trump’s approach. This is not the time to send more soldiers but to wrap up a protracted war through diplomatic and political means.

Pakistan’s policy response should not be emotional as a hurt [soon to be former] ally. The US remains a key destination for our exports, a considerable source of remittances and there are hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who live in America. Repairing Pak-US relations therefore should be a priority. Three important considerations need to inform our policy direction. First, expanding our allies in Afghanistan and strengthening diplomatic engagement with the US and Afghanistan. Why must jihadist militias be our only hope for influence? After the recent BRICS declaration this becomes even more urgent. Secondly, we should accept that India will have a relationship with any future Afghan government and that it is no longer possible to have a Taliban style government loyal to Pakistan’s India-centric vision. The India-Pakistan proxy war in Afghanistan must end. Thirdly, it is time for Pakistan’s civil society and parliament to explore how can we reimagine ourselves as world’s trade hub rather than a revisionist state stuck in twentieth century regional conflicts. In this day and age, economic growth and prosperity define national power rather than the readiness for war. For this very reason, facilitating a peace process — as promised by the former Army Chief — is in Pakistan’s national interest.http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/10-Sep-17/facilitating-peace-process-in-afghanistan-is-in-pakistans-national-interest

September 10, 2017   No Comments

Dossier Dance: edit in The Nation, September 10, 2017

According to reports, Pakistan is set to present its case to the United States counting the country’s sacrifices in the ongoing war against terror.Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif will carry a record with him when he meets his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in the coming days.We have done the dossier dance many times before.It does not work at the UN, it will not work with the US administration.The foreign policy machine needs a total overhaul- one that makes sure that Pakistan can develop a strong lobby in the US to influence legislators, and one that makes sure that our denials of sheltering the Haqqani network and actually having “safe havens” for militants are back by hard truthIf the US is too aggressive, the Pakistani leadership is also in denial about the presence of crooked characters on our soil.
If the US has picked the wrong partner in India, we are not in good company either with the Haqqanis.

It is constantly claimed that we needed to project our achievements.However, a state official with a dossier in this arm will not project anything.Diplomacy is far more that official visits.We need to constantly have eyes on what goes on at Capitol Hill, which Senator or Representative can be approached and how Indian propaganda can be countered.

Two diplomatic disasters in 2016, the US refusal to subsidise an F-16 deal and the Obama administration’s campaign to induct India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had forced Pakistan to look for a paid lobbyist in the US capital since 2013.US Justice Department records show that the last law firm to lobby for Pakistan in Washington was Locke Lord Strategies.Pakistan failed to renew its contract with the firm in July 2013, about a month after PML-N replaced PPP in the government in Islamabad.This fact itself is appalling and shows how unstrategic and lethargic our Foreign Affairs team is.Further, reports suggest that the law firm was ineffective in lobbying the US media for Pakistan as it was in lobbying Congress.We need not just a professional lobbyist, but actual Pakistani’s settled in the US to speak for us and make contact with US lawmakers.

In comparison, the India lobby is large, well funded, and organised.The Indian lobby is backed by private financial resources.The United States India Political Action Committee is a political action committee based in Washingdon DC.Since 2002 it has been working closely with Indian-American organisations to promote the India perspective on legal immigration, counter-terrorism, religious freedom, and trade.This is just important one Indian organisations in the US among many that have actually impacted US legislation.
We only seem to have an embassy, and now Mr Khawaja Asif off to the US with a list. http://nation.com.pk/editorials/10-Sep-2017/dossier-dance

September 10, 2017   No Comments

Pakistan must change its approach to terrorism, says US

by Anwar Iqbal in Dawn, September 7th, 2017
WASHINGTON: While encouraging members of the BRICS alliance to continue playing a constructive role in stabilising the world, the United States reminded Pakistan on Wednesday that it “must change its approach” to terrorism.

At a recent meeting leaders of members of the alliance — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — called for an immediate end to violence in Afghanistan.

For the first time, BRICS termed militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan a regional security concern and called for their patrons to be held to account.

“We encourage the BRICS Forum to contribute constructively to global governance and stability,” said a spokesperson for the US State Department when asked to comment on the BRICS statement.

The US official also welcomed BRICS’ condemnation of North Korea’s recent nuclear test and then reminded Pakistan of the need to fight all militant groups operating in the South Asian region, including those that Washington claims are based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“As the (Trump) administration has said, Pakistan must change its approach. We look to the Pakistani government to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region,” the State Department added.

The groups mentioned in the BRICS statement included the Afghan Tali­ban, militant Islamic State group, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Teh­reek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizbut Tahrir.

Some of them are based in Afghanistan and use their bases for launching attacks into Pakistan. On Dec 16, 2014, one of them — TTP — raided a school in Peshawar and killed 141 people, including 132 children.
www.dawn.com/news/1356118/pakistan-must-change-its-approach-to-terrorism-says-us

September 7, 2017   No Comments

Pakistani insurgent among 4 Taliban blown up by own explosives in Kunduz

By KHAAMA PRESS – Thu Aug 31 2017, 8:04 pm
At least four insurgent including a Pakistani national were killed after an Improvised Explosive Device went off prematurely in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.
The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan National Army in the North said the incident has taken place in the vicinity of Imam Sahib district.
The Shaheen Corps officials said the militants were attempting to prepare the Improvised Explosive Device to be placed on a roadside when it went off.
The officials further added that a Pakistani national who was involved in the engineering works of the roadside bombs was also among those killed.
The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.
The anti-government armed militant groups frequently use explosives materials for the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and security personnel.
However, in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted besides such bombings incur casualties to the security personnel and in some cases the Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in its latest reported highlighted that 40 per cent of all civilian casualties during the six-month period were killed or injured by anti-government forces using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as suicide bombs and pressure-plate devices, which were responsible for the deaths of 596 civilians and injured 1,483.http://www.khaama.com/pakistani-insurgent-among-4-taliban-blown-up-by-own-explosives-in-kunduz-03360

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Stumbling ahead without a clear policy: edit in Pakistan Today, Aug 31, 2017

On Wednesday, the issue of Pak-US relations was taken up by the National Assembly, Senate and the National Security Committee of the Cabinet. As was being feared, the NA and Senate resolutions were not identical.

It appears from the proceedings of the NA that the government had done little thinking over what to do besides rejecting Trump’s new Afghan policy and allegations against Pakistan. The recommendation to cancel the provision of ground and air lines of communication to the US through Pakistan without any serious provocation was frivolous. The advice of the Leader of the Opposition to hold a Joint Session of parliament was ignored. Also his suggestion that the government share with the Parliament whatever evidence the US administration had provided to justify Trump’s tirade. A resolution was moved hurriedly, as if under orders, without ensuring adequate presence of the MNAs. The resolution was passed “unanimously” in the presence of only 52 members from a house of 342.

The Senate passed a more balanced resolution. While rejecting Trump’s “one-sided” remarks, it called for the preparation of a national policy paper while keeping all stakeholders in mind to “serve as a [reference] document for US policymakers.” it recommended Pakistan to form a South Asia strategy that should be comprehensive. No territory should be used against a neighbouring state and there should be a focus on border management and security along the border. The resolution emphasised that Pakistan’s viewpoint should not only be conveyed to friendly countries but also to the allies of the United States.

Thousands of Pakistani students go for higher education to American universities. Pakistan needs American support while interacting with multilateral lenders like IMF and World Bank. Pakistan and America have military exchange programmes while the later also supplies Pakistan a part of its defence requirements. Pakistan has all along sought Washington’s help in resolving the Kashmir issue with India. All these positive factors need to be kept in mind while reacting to Trump’s senseless outburst.
https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/08/31/stumbling-ahead-without-a-clear-policy/

September 1, 2017   No Comments

US attaches new conditions to pledged military aid to Pakistan

by Anwar Iqbal in Dawn, September 01, 2017
WASHINGTON: The Trump administration has held back previously promised military aid of $255 million to Pakistan by attaching new conditions which, the State Department says, will allow it to review the level of its cooperation with Islamabad before making new commitments.

“The Department notified Congress on August 30 of our intent to obligate $255 million in FY 2016 Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan. At the same time, the Department is placing a pause on spending those funds and on allocating them to any specific FMF sales contracts,” said the State Department in a statement sent to Dawn.

The FMF provides grants and loans to help countries purchase US weapons and defence equipment and for acquiring defence services and military training in the United States.

“Consistent with our new South Asia strategy, this decision allows us the flexibility to continue reviewing our level of cooperation with Pakistan prior to committing new security assistance resources to projects in Pakistan,” the State Department said.

In its notification to the US Congress on Wednesday, the administration said it was putting the entire amount into an escrow account that Pakistan could access only if it did more to eradicate alleged terrorist safe havens in the tribal areas and stopped cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

The previous US administration had committed the money in 2015, promising to release it to Pakistan in 2016. The Trump administration did not refuse to release the funds but attached new conditions to further delay the release.

The $255 million in military assistance was the largest portion of an estimated $1.1 billion of US aid Congress had authorised in 2016.

Although figures released to the US media estimate the volume of annual US assistance to Pakistan at $1.1bn, hundreds of millions of dollars are withheld every year under different restrictions imposed since 2011, when relations between the two countries began to deteriorate after Osama bin Laden’s discovery in Abbottabad.

“The duelling messages sent to Pakistan — promising aid but attaching strings if the country’s counterterror efforts fall short — are part of an increasingly confrontational turn in an alliance that has long been strained,” commented The New York Times.

In its statement, the State Department said that while the US valued its cooperation with Pakistan and wanted to see it continue, it also wanted Islamabad to do more to eradicate terrorism.

“The President has been clear that we are looking to the Pakistani government to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region. It is vital to US interests that Pakistan prevent terrorist sanctuaries,” the message said. “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in the region.”

The statement also referred to the remarks US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made last week, saying: “We are ready to work with [the Pakistanis] to help them protect themselves against these terrorist organisations.”

The US claims to have provided Pakistan more than $33bn in aid since 2002. But Laurel Miller, Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan till June, told PBS News last week that the actual amount was much less.

“Over an extended period, the US has provided substantial support (to) Pakistan, primarily security related, but that’s been dwindling quite considerably over past years and is expected to dwindle further,” she said.

“And as a consequence, it’s not really a major point of leverage with the Pakistanis anymore. The US is not providing billions of dollars any longer to Pakistan.”

But President Trump said he would use US assistance to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad to change its policies.

The New York Times, however, reported that the US did not want to stop all its assistance to Pakistan.

“Rather than lose such a carrot, Trump administration officials said they wanted to use the money as incentive for Pakistan to change its behaviour,” the newspaper said.

But diplomatic observers in Washington pointed out that the Obama administration too tried to use the sale of eight new F-16 fighter jets to change Pakistan’s policies, as did Congress, but it did not work. www.dawn.com/news/1355318/us-attaches-new-conditions-to-pledged-military-aid

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Is Pakistan Willing to Lose America?: op-ed in The New York Times, Aug 29, 2017

by MOSHARRAF ZAIDI
(The writer, a policy analyst and columnist, worked for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2011 and 2013).
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — For the past 16 years, whenever the United States has been faced with the reality of a failing war in Afghanistan, it has blamed Pakistan. Efforts to bring freedom to the valleys of Afghanistan, this narrative claims, have been thwarted by a double-dealing “ally” that takes American aid while supporting its enemies.

The narrative inadvertently casts American presidents, generals, diplomats, spies and others who have been part of the war effort as credulous dupes and casts poor light on the American military, stuck in a quagmire despite having the world’s most advanced weapons and largest financial resources. It also assumes that Pakistan has a clear interest in harming both the United States and Afghanistan.

Those assumptions are wrong.

Pakistan joined President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism reluctantly but proved itself an effective ally in the fight against Al Qaeda and helped decimate its ranks. That contribution was sullied by Pakistan’s failure to locate Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States established a partnership with Pakistan over a decade and a half — handing out substantial amounts of aid, sophisticated weapons and the status of major non-NATO ally. Pakistan continues to require American military hardware, and middle-class Pakistani children continue to dream of attending American universities and of working on Wall Street. The United States is the biggest market for Pakistani exports, and Pakistani-Americans form its seventh-largest diaspora group.

China’s rising global status, and its explicit push for regional influence, has reduced Pakistan’s dependence on the United States, but the rumors of the demise of America’s importance in Pakistan are greatly exaggerated.

Despite these factors, neither the United States nor Pakistan has gained all that it would like from the relationship. Pakistan has not been able to convince the United States of the validity of its primary interest in Afghanistan — preventing it from becoming a “proxy for India” and stemming fears of “encirclement” in Pakistan despite India’s proclamations of merely offering economic assistance to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s leaders have recently taken to brazenly welcoming an ever-increasing Indian footprint in Kabul and beyond. Pakistani hawks used to be merely suspicious of collusion between the most anti-Pakistan Afghans and the Indian establishment. In the past two years, that suspicion has turned into conviction.

For its part, the United States has failed to convince Pakistan of the urgency of its primary interest in Afghanistan — shutting down the Haqqani network, the principal planner and executor of the most lethal terrorist attacks in Afghanistan over the past decade. Pakistanis have hemmed and hawed, offering up low-level Haqqani operatives and occasionally trimming the space available to them.

And the Haqqanis have evolved from a relatively minor player in the Taliban world to being the dominant operational group. The United States doesn’t believe that the rise of the Haqqanis was possible without support from Pakistan.

Neither Pakistan nor the United States has been able to convince the Taliban to negotiate in good faith for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan — the one supposed issue on which there is a complete convergence between the two countries.

The torturous United States-Pakistan relationship has seen several dramatic lows. It is only the American grievances that have been registered; the humiliations seem reserved for Pakistan. Everyone remembers the killing of Bin Laden in 2011 and the subsequent embarrassment of Pakistan. Few recall the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border with Afghanistan by American forces later that year.

American military leaders have publicly heaped scorn on Pakistan. But American spies have killed ordinary people on the streets of Pakistani cities, while the United States government has dissembled about their status. American officials who have appealed for a more nuanced understanding of the country have been forced out of their jobs and even investigated by federal agents.

Pakistan is hardly innocent of its own failures. Terrorists facing sanctions from the United Nations freely cross borders to attack neighboring countries without any fear of being intercepted, and some even appear on television, conferred with a respect most politicians would crave. Pakistan has a damning ability to behave in ways that has often left even its friends shaking their heads in disbelief.

President Trump’s threats and his unpredictability have filled Pakistan with anxiety about what may be coming despite a difficult history. American drones have already dropped tons of ordnance; Navy SEALs have already dropped in to assassinate terrorists; American military and civilian assistance has already dropped to a trickle of what it was. And the trust between Pakistani generals and American commanders in Afghanistan is already at a historical low.

President Trump’s speech has only aggravated the concerns that motivate Pakistan’s behavior in Afghanistan. Mr. Trump’s call for greater Indian involvement in Afghanistan has stoked the fire that burns deepest in Pakistan. On this, it is not the Pakistanis who are irrational but those who attempt to minimize Pakistan’s concerns. Pakistan would not risk the wrath of the United States if its concerns were imaginary.

Pakistan’s willingness to lose American patronage is the clearest indicator that its interests in Afghanistan are not a product of ambition, or grandeur, but of deep and existential fears about the damage an unchecked India can do to Pakistan.

Until Americans learn how to have an honest conversation with India about what Pakistan sees as its proxy warfare in Afghanistan and its brutal occupation of Kashmir, no amount of threats to Pakistan will help. Countries can be weaned from many things, but not from protecting themselves. Pakistan is definitely a problem in Afghanistan, but it is a problem of America’s making.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/opinion/is-pakistan-willing-to-lose-america.html?ref=opinion

August 30, 2017   No Comments