Washington - The United States should implement a two-phase strategy to insist on real change in the hostile policies of Pakistan, whose powerful military continues to support the Taliban and other militant groups even after the May 2 raid on Osama bin Ladenâs lair in Abbottabad, a former US diplomat has said.
âEven with Osama bin Laden dead, the nexus between the Pakistani state and a syndicate of Islamic extremists remains a threat,â Zalmay Khalilzad, who served as US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, wrote in The Washington Post.
âPakistanâs military continues to support the Taliban, the Haqqani network and Hizb-e-Islami against coalition and Afghan forcesâ, he added.
Khalilzad, a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that the US approach since the 9/11 attacks has not obliged Pakistan to clarify its intentions. Islamabad continues to deny that it is even aiding insurgents, so having a frank discussion, which might lead to pragmatic, mutual accommodation, has been impossible.
In the short term, the United States should implement a two-phase strategy to insist on real change in Pakistanâs hostile policies, he said.
âTo preclude Pakistan from manipulating different departments and senior officials, the Obama administration, as a united front, should offer a stark set of positive and negative inducements. A clear choice will clarify whether Pakistanâs intentions in Afghanistan are principally guided by fear or by ambition,â he added.
Khalilzad opined that in exchange for Pakistan playing a constructive role in Afghanistan, the US should be willing to support expanded IMF and other multilateral assistance, sustain financial and military aid and promote a major, multilateral diplomatic effort to mediate disputes among Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
âIf positive inducements prove insufficient in securing reliable Pakistani cooperation, the United States should curb military assistance; mobilize coordinated financial pressure against Pakistan through allies and the IMF; and expand military operations against insurgent and terrorist targets in Pakistan, â he added.
Should Pakistani intransigence persist, Khalilzad said, the US will need a long-term strategy that manages the threat from Pakistan and embraces a broad multilateral effort to assist those Pakistanis who seek to transform their country.
âThis would, in part, require the United States to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan to counter the terror threat and assist in preventing the victory of Pakistani proxies in Afghanistan. We would also need to consider accelerating security ties with India as part of a containment regime against Pakistan. Most important, the United States would have to channel bilateral assistance to Pakistan in a way that empowers moderate civil society but reduces support for the military,â he pointed out.