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Pakistan and the Afghan Insurgency

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But the success against al Qaeda and TTP leaders was based in large part on the cooperation of Pakistani intelligence, which is willing to get rid of Arab zealots who dream of a caliphate and also contumacious vassals who dare to strike at the king, but not willing to dispense with a key strategic partner against India. In the absence of ISI help, the US will have to rely on special forces personnel on the ground or on fragmentary images from drones several thousand feet up. Neither is likely to be as useful in identifying targets as ISI agents have been; both will likely lead to misdirected strikes and more non-combatant deaths.

Pakistan's rebuff of the request for help against the Taliban may well be for domestic consumption. But the absence of substantive aid south of the frontier leaves the US and NATO with the difficult task of countering an insurgency that has become deeply embedded in Pashtun regions over the last few years and enjoys support from across a lengthy and porous frontier. For their part, Pakistan and its generals must assess what it provides the US to merit so much economic and military aid.

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Brian M Downing is a national security analyst who has written for outlets across the political spectrum. He studied at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago, and did post-graduate work at Harvard's Center for International (more...)
 

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