Pakistan taking stock - WSJ

US strategists will study for some time how the US-trained Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly in front of what appeared to be an...

US strategists will study for some time how the US-trained Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly in front of what appeared to be an inferior Taliban militia. One place they should seek answers is Pakistan, whose leader on Monday applauded the Taliban takeover of its northwestern neighbor.

The Afghans “have broken the chains of slavery”, noted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to Indian media. The casual celebration of the American retreat from Afghanistan came as Mr. Khan denounced the teaching of English in Pakistan as promoting cultural control.

That an American security partner is saying this out loud certainly raises eyebrows. But the feeling should come as no surprise. As Walter Russell MeadRemarks Nearby, a key obstacle to American success in Afghanistan was “the unwavering support for the Taliban from our ‘ally’ in Islamabad.” The Taliban’s refuge across Afghanistan’s southern border was crucial to the group’s longevity and eventual military success.

For the past two decades, the United States has depended on bases in Pakistan for its war on terror operations in Central Asia. Yet Islamabad is playing its own great power games in the region. Its intelligence services want to control Afghanistan and see the Taliban as the best vehicle. They want to thwart the goals of their biggest regional rival, India, which would prefer a secular government in Kabul.

The United States’ relationship with Islamist-influenced Pakistan has arguably become a devil’s deal. The Americans caught a glimpse of this ten years ago when they discovered that Osama bin Laden was hiding in the country, apparently without being worried. Today, Islamabad has played a key role in restoring power to the Taliban that the United States sacrificed for two decades to prevent power in Kabul.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Pakistan taking stock - WSJ
Pakistan taking stock - WSJ
Newsrust - US Top News
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