Recalibrating U.S. — Pakistan Relations

Haider Ali Hussein Mullick
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Summer 2012
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Afghanistan is America's longest war. Thousands of U.S. troops and those from nearly 50 other countries have fought in Afghanistan against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, but it was in nuclear-armed Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (the mastermind of 9/11) was captured, and Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar as well as the heads of the virulent Haqqani network reside. Pakistan's duplicity is a fact, yet it is often excessively characterized as a function of the India—Pakistan rivalry. Pakistani generals do fear India, but they have also recognized the threat from domestic insurgents. The height of this concern was reached in 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban were 60 miles from the country's capital and jeopardized U.S. as well as Pakistani goals in the region: interdicting al-Qaeda, protecting Pakistani nuclear weapons, and stabilizing (and in Pakistan's case, an anti-India) Afghanistan. At that point, Pakistani troops, unlike past attempts, fought back and prevailed against the insurgents. It can be done.
Political Geography
Pakistan, Afghanistan, America, India