How to Bring Peace to Afghanistan

In FOREIGN RELATIONS, Military and War On

Though many in the United States and India believe Pakistan is being paranoid, the fact remains that Pakistan is convinced it is under threat. The Pakistani security establishment sees the Taliban as a check on Indian activity in Afghanistan and has doubled down on its efforts to counter deepening Afghan-India ties.

Yet Pakistan’s goal is not continued chaos in Afghanistan. Nor does it wish for a Taliban victory, as this would strengthen their militant kin in Pakistan. 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. The Taliban would counterbalance Indian influence in Afghanistan, and an inclusive political settlement would prevent their radical ideology from taking hold or spilling across the border.

United States policies toward Pakistan have long underestimated the centrality of this regional dynamic in defining Pakistani choices. An approach that links efforts to enlist Pakistan’s support in Afghanistan to a strategy aimed at improving India-Pakistan ties could change this.

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