September 25, 2021

The Pulse of the Indo-Pacific with Lisa Curtis: An Update on Afghanistan, Central Asia, and India

An excerpt from, "The C.I.A.’s Maddening Relationship with Pakistan" by Nicholas Schmidle, The New Yorker, January 12, 2018:

Trump’s national-security adviser, H. R. McMaster, has endorsed a harder line against Pakistan as part of a plan to reinvigorate the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Last year, McMaster saw a report by Lisa Curtis, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. (and of no relation to the Haqqani network in North Waziristan), titled “A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan.” In it, Curtis and Haqqani argue that the Trump Administration should “stop chasing the mirage” that Pakistan might change its approach to confronting certain terrorist groups without the threat of withholding aid. “Pakistan is not an American ally,” they write.

McMaster asked Curtis—an experienced Pakistan analyst who had worked at the C.I.A. and the State Department—to join the national-security council as the senior director for South and Central Asia. The paper she co-wrote with Haqqani has become the “blueprint” for Trump’s Pakistan policy, according to a source familiar with the Administration’s deliberations. After last week’s suspension of aid, the question is, what next? In their paper, Curtis and Haqqani propose that the U.S. might threaten to designate Pakistan a “state sponsor of terrorism,” which could cause a near-total rupture in relations between the two countries and, perhaps, even the sanctioning of current and former Pakistani officials.

Pentagon and State Department officials have resisted the new hard-line approach, citing the risk that Pakistan could cut off the land and air routes that the U.S. uses to supply American forces in Afghanistan.

An excerpt from, "A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties" by Husain Haqqani and Lisa Curtis, Hudson Institute, February 6, 2017:

The U.S. must also recognize that its efforts over several decades to strengthen Pakistan militarily have only encouraged those elements in Pakistan that hope someday to wrest Kashmir from India through force. Furthermore, the continued provision of military assistance leads many Pakistani leaders to conclude that (1) the U.S. needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the U.S.; (2) the U.S. is not serious in its expressed concerns about Pakistan’s support for terrorism, lack of democracy, and disregard of human rights; and (3) Pakistan can continue its policy of minimally satisfying the U.S. to keep it on Pakistan’s side.

The Pulse of the Indo-Pacific with Lisa Curtis: An Update on Afghanistan, Central Asia, and India. Source: The Heritage Foundation. Date Posted: September 21, 2021.