The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has always been a troubled one, and at the moment it lies at the heart of the foreign policy challenges that key actors of the international community face in southwest Asia. Contemporary Pakistan-Afghanistan relations are a complex product of historical experiences, contemporary calculations of interest, and ideological and political values, complicated from time to time by severe problems of misperception and by the domestic politics of both countries. The aim of this chapter is to capture the effects of these various influencing factors and to identify the policy dilemmas to which they give rise. It is divided into five sections. The first offers some broad historical background and the second traces the specific influences of the period between 1978 and 1992 when, following the communist coup in Afghanistan of April 1978, Pakistan functioned as both a generous host to millions of Afghan refugees and as an operating base for Sunni elements of the Afghan resistance forces (Mujahideen). The third examines the manipulatory politics of the Pakistan military in the period between the collapse of the communist regime in April 1992 and the overthrow of the Taliban regime in November 2001, and the fourth explores the complexity of the post-2001 relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and examines some of the risks from Talibanization which have arisen in Pakistan as a result of these processes. The final section offers some brief conclusions, of which the most important is that Pakistan is itself threatened by some of the forces which it has unleashed as part of its Afghanistan policy and that shutting down the operating sanctuaries of the Afghan Taliban would be in Pakistan’s long-term interest.
|Title of host publication
|Pakistan's Stability Paradox: Domestic, regional and international dimensions
|Michael Clarke and Ashutosh Misra
|Place of Publication
|Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
|Published - 2012