WASHINGTON: According to an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Stephen J Hadley, who was the national security adviser from 2005 to 2009, the United States’ policy in Afghanistan would not succeed without cutting off Pakistan’s alleged ties to the Afghan Taliban and including the Islamic republic in the peace process.
The piece mentioned how it was understandable that some elements in the United States wanted conditions imposed on Pakistan’s aid but such measures would only prove to be a setback to America’s own policy in the region.
“The trouble is that such “sticks” are unlikely to change Pakistan’s behavior, because its existential concerns are tied to broader regional priorities. To get Pakistan to alter its approach in Afghanistan, the United States must understand and address Pakistan’s strategic anxieties,” read the article.
The article further said that leaders in Pakistan were vary of growing Indian influence in Afghanistan as a means to squeeze Pakistan from the other side.
“India has stepped up security assistance in recent years, including military equipment, to bolster the Afghan security forces against the Taliban. Other Indian efforts, like financing for Iran’s Chabahar port that allows landlocked Afghanistan to bypass Pakistan, have further stoked Pakistani concerns.”
According to the piece, Pakistan does not want the Taliban to take control in Afghanistan and neither does it want bloodshed in the region.
“What Pakistan wants is a reconciliation process that ushers the Taliban back into the political fold in Afghanistan, without allowing the militants to control the country once again,” read the article.
“To achieve this, the United States should facilitate an India-Pakistan dialogue on the full range of economic and political issues, including their mutual concerns in Afghanistan, without trying to stage-manage the results. The United States’ playing this role should be contingent on Pakistan preventing cross-border terrorist attacks in India,” reads the article.
Story first published: 16th June 2017