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A Challenged Pakistan and Its Afghan Policies

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Pakistan’s strategic insecurities and domestic struggles with Islamic radicalism drive much of its foreign policy, notably its relations with Afghanistan. The future of both countries, whose destinies are so closely bound together, may ultimately be determined by their ability to overcome mutual antagonisms and the threats they face from their related, extremist-led insurgencies. Informed by recent books on Pakistan by Ahmed Rashid and John Schmidt, this article examines the domestic factors and strategic goals helping to form Pakistan’s Afghan policies. It looks closely at the thus far unpromising efforts to find a political solution to end the Afghan conflict and the centrality of the United States in any reconciliation. The contribution of the two books under review is especially found in their discussions of the structural problems that leave the Pakistani state “unraveling,” as Schmidt depicts or, as Rashid fears, “on the brink.”

Affiliations: 1: Middle East Institute


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