Rupture and Betrayal: Are Pak-US relations repairable?

Opinion
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Herald

Rupture and Betrayal: Are Pak-US relations repairable?

Another rupture, another sense of betrayal. US-Pakistan relations have once again reached a low point with the Trump administration’s decision to withhold most funding for military assistance. This announcement has generated even deeper antagonism toward the United States within Pakistan, where the consensus view holds that Islamabad is being scapegoated for Washington’s difficulties in Afghanistan. Within the United States, the consensus view holds that Pakistan has been playing a double game – accepting US counter-terrorism funding while supporting the Afghan Taliban and The Haqqani Network – for long enough.

Is this rift more significant than before and is it repairable? My short answer to these questions is ‘yes’, and it will remain so until there is a major shift in either Pakistani or US policies or until another jolt on the Subcontinent or elsewhere mandates policy change. Absent changes in policy toward Afghanistan – which means changed conceptions of acceptable outcomes – in one or both countries, the quagmire will continue and losses in blood, treasure and international standing will mount.

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