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Achieve Counter-insurgency Cooperation in Afghanistan by Resolving the Indo-Pakistani Rivalry Abdulkader H. Sinno Abdulkader H. Sinno is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond (2008), which develops an organizational theory to explain the evolution and outcomes of territorial conflicts. He can be reached at . 135 Executive Summary This essay examines post–September 11 Afghanistan-Pakistan relations in the context of the ongoing militant threat faced by each country. Main Argument The outlook for improved Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, particularly in terms of dealing with the counter-insurgency, is not good. Both the Afghan and Pakistani states are not capable of engaging in effective counter-insurgency in the Pashtun areas, let alone of coordinating a counter-insurgency campaign. Many key players in Pakistan, including those within state institutions, see no reason to engage in counter-insurgency because of complex and intertwined interests, sympathy with insurgents, differing priorities, concern over India, dislike of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, and the likelihood that the Taliban will outlast both the U.S. presence and the Karzai government in Afghanistan. Policy Implications • The U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and inside of Pakistan is so unpopular in both countries that the U.S. cannot play a high-profile role in bringing Afghan and Pakistani leaders together without discrediting these leaders within their own constituencies. • Though the U.S. and the Karzai government cannot hope to defeat challengers with bases of support across the border in Pakistan, attacking the safe havens of the Taliban and al Qaeda across the border will produce a worst-case scenario for the U.S. because the jihad in Pakistan would be even more intense than in Afghanistan. Jihad in Pakistan would attract the support, one way or another, of hundreds of millions of South Asian Muslims. It could also lead to the breakup of Pakistan, the possible collapse of the Pakistani military, and the risk of losing sight of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. • The only reasonable course for the U.S. to gain the support of Pakistanis is to reduce Indian involvement in Afghanistan in order to assuage Pakistani fears, actively push for a comprehensive and final agreement on Kashmir, provide guarantees that a strong Afghan state will not woo Pashtun support across the Durand Line, and commit to a large, longterm program of economic and military aid in Pakistan, consisting of $2–3 billion per year over ten to fifteen years. 136 sinno T his essay explores Afghan perspectives, interests, and options regarding AfghanPakistani relations from the angle of the conflicts taking place on both sides of the Durand Line. It argues that there are no short-term solutions to the challenge posed to the United States and the Karzai government by the presence of safe havens for the Taliban and other mujahideen across the border in Pakistan. Both the Afghan and Pakistani states are weak and, as of now, are incapable of engaging in effective counter-insurgency in Pashtun areas, let alone of coordinating a complex and draining counter-insurgency campaign. Many key players in Pakistan, including some within state institutions, see no reason to engage in counter-insurgency because of complex and intertwined interests, sympathy toward the insurgents, differing priorities, concern over India, dislike of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, and the likelihood that the Taliban will outlast the U.S. occupation and the Karzai government in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is perceived as weak and unlikely to survive long enough to encourage Pakistani leaders and other actors on both sides of the border to form an alliance to defeat the Taliban. As for the United States, the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and inside of Pakistan is so unpopular in both countries that the U.S. government cannot play a highprofile role in bringing Afghan and Pakistani leaders together without discrediting these leaders within their own constituencies. The United States should resist the temptation to expand the military conflict into Pakistan in order to avoid breaking up that country and producing a disastrous regional conflict. The only reasonable course for the United States to gain the support of Pakistanis is to reduce Indian involvement in Afghanistan; actively push for a comprehensive and final agreement on Kashmir; commit to a large, long-term aid program ($2–3 billion per year over ten to fifteen years) in order both to help Pakistan develop economically and to consolidate...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781939131256
MARC Record
OCLC
868221262
Pages
160
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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