For the United States to come up with a win-win strategy in Afghanistan, it will have to close the wide gap between theory and practice and marshal all of its resources to compel Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban and other terror outfits.
In an article written for and published by the website theglobalist.com, U.S. Army Colonel (Retired) Robert M. Cassidy says, "The current U.S. Afghanistan strategy acknowledges that Pakistan's support and sanctuary for the Taliban is a major obstacle to success. Until the U.S.-led Coalition has a strategy that shuts down the sanctuary and factories for the Taliban in Pakistan, operational forces will continue to capture and kill Taliban and the Taliban will continue to regenerate and multiply, with a flow of Islamist militants into Afghanistan from the incubator-madrassas in Pakistan."
Col. (Retired) Cassidy, who now teaches at Wesleyan University, further says that it is essential for Pakistan to also change what he calls "its malicious strategic behaviour" if the overall strategy for Afghanistan must not remain an illusion. If it does, he warns and cautions that the war in Afghanistan will continue and there will be no end in sight.
A veteran of wars fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, Col. (Retired) Cassidy maintains that Pakistan's machinations and America's past delusions pose major obstacles to a successful strategic outcome for the war In Afghanistan, which is now in its 17th year, i.e. six years longer than the Soviets were at war in that country.
"The Pakistani Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate continue to collude with the Taliban, preventing their defeat. After the 9/11 attacks, it should have become absolutely clear (to Washington) that Pakistan's sponsorship of foreign terrorist organisations made it an enemy. The relations between the US and Pakistan constitute a saga of false promises, mismanaged expectations and disastrous betrayals," he says.
As 2018 begins, Pakistan has not stopped its support of terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, in any fundamental way.
Like most other analysts, the cities five commonly accepted reasons for this protracted stalemate. These are namely:
. The delusion that portrays Pakistan as a friend, which has impaired clear-eyed thinking about a strategy
. Support and sanctuary provided to enemies of Afghans, Americans and coalition partners by the Pakistani security establishment
. Pakistan continues to receive all benefits as a U.S. major non-NATO ally
. The Pakistan Army and the ISI continue to collude with the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, thus prolonging the stalemate
. Pakistan's continued perfidy and America's naïve neglect allows the former's senior leadership to deny and lie with shameless impunity its support of terror elements
Col. (Retired) Cassidy says that relations between the United States and Pakistan constitute a saga of false promises, mismanaged expectations and disastrous betrayals, and maintains that Islamabad's purpose for the relationship has always related to its geopolitical competition with India.
On the other hand, Washington's reasons for having a relationship with Islamabad is linked to the Cold War competition with the Soviets and then to the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country, the worst nuclear weapons technology proliferator, the single largest enclave for Islamist militants and the only country in the world with its capital named for Islam," he adds.
The United States has helped make Pakistan fecund ground for growing Islamist movements by pursuing short-term interests and actions like supporting the most virulent strains of Islamists among the Mujihadeen and helping empower the ISI during the Soviet-Afghan War.