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Pakistan Draws a New Battle Line in the Afghan War

Oct 4, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Considering its aims in Afghanistan, Islamabad will push back against Washington's new strategy in the war against the Taliban.

By assisting both the United States and the Taliban throughout their nearly 16-year conflict, Pakistan has managed to benefit from an alliance with Washington, collecting over $33 billion in aid since 2002, while also pursuing its security objectives. But the United States' new plan for the war in Afghanistan has cast doubt on Islamabad's strategy.

(CHRIS HONDROS/Getty Images and PeterHermesFurion/iStock)

In the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan plays both sides. On the one hand, the country aids the United States in its fight against the Taliban. Pakistan offers NATO forces access to the port of Karachi to transit supplies to their bases in landlocked Afghanistan and tacitly allows the CIA to conduct drone strikes against militant hideouts in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Yet on the other hand, Pakistan has nurtured the Taliban for more than 20 years. Islamabad supports the group as a means to many ends, including stabilizing Afghanistan, opening trade and energy routes to Central Asia, formalizing the Durand Line, and establishing a government in Kabul hostile to archrival India. By assisting both the United States and the Taliban throughout their nearly 16-year conflict, Pakistan has managed to benefit from an alliance with Washington, collecting over $33 billion in aid since 2002, while also pursuing its security...

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