Reflections

With an Eye on Afghan Peace, the U.S. Extends an Olive Branch to Pakistan

Faisel Pervaiz
South Asia Analyst, Stratfor
Jul 22, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan meets with family members of schoolchildren killed in a 2014 massacre by Taliban militants in Peshawar.

On July 22, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump will host Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House to discuss cooperation between the two countries. The meeting -- which marks a diplomatic victory for Khan -- seemed unthinkable at the beginning of 2018, when Trump’s hard-hitting words for Islamabad included accusing the South Asian country of “lies & deceit."

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The hot-and-cold relationship between the United States and Pakistan seems to be warming once again.  On July 22, U.S. President Donald Trump will host Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House to discuss cooperation between the two countries. Just last year, the meeting would have seemed unthinkable. Trump lambasted Pakistan in a harshly-worded New Year's tweet -- accusing the South Asian country of "deceit" and offering "safe haven" for terrorists. But since then, Pakistan has used its influence over the Taliban to push the insurgents into peace talks aimed at ending decades of bloodshed in Afghanistan.  Islamabad and Washington have always viewed the war through different lenses, putting them at odds with each other over the years. But what has held their alliance together throughout all the ups and downs has been Pakistan's strategic importance to the Afghan conflict. However, that glue may soon start dissolving should the peace process ultimately bring an end to the 18-year war. ...

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