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Pakistan and Afghanistan. Understanding Islamabad’s Objectives and Strategies

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1 July 2010

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Pakistan and Afghanistan. Understanding Islamabad’s Objectives and Strategies

Sripathi Narayanan (2010), trough the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), deals in this essay with Islamabad’s Objectives and Strategies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“As its most prominent neighbor, Pakistan plays a vital role in Afghanistan. The modern history of bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan is one that started on a bitter note following the latter’s independence but the 1994 rise of the Taliban based on half-truths, fiction or speculations, and the role of the ISI complicated the relationship. Never a planned strategy, the rise of the Taliban, a product of circumstances, nevertheless provided relief to Islamabad as it as ensured that its northern neighbour would be friendly towards Pakistan. All this changed post 9/11, and the war on terror resulted in the destabilization of Afghanistan with Pakistan bearing the brunt. Afghanistan is of strategic interest to Pakistan first and foremost in the growing influence of India, its arch rival. However, Afhganistan provides “strategic depth” to Pakistan. The second interest of Pakistan in Afghanistan is maintaining “strategic assets.” Pakistan is very apprehensive about the Indian presence in Afghanistan. The rationale behind this fear is that of being enveloped by India, as it is seen to be the foremost threat to the security and stability of Pakistan. The paper concludes that the situation in Afghanistan derives primarily from how events unfold in Pakistan. Pakistan’s preoccupation in a future Afghanistan does not revolve around the shape that Afghanistan would take, but more with the direction in which it will go.”


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