President Trump’s August 21 announcement of a new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia has unsettled U.S.-Pakistan relations, with serious implications for U.S. interests in Afghanistan, nuclear non-proliferation, and stability in the region. On October 5, USIP held a discussion with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif—Pakistan’s first public, high-level engagement with the U.S. policy community in Washington on the new strategy.
U.S.-Pakistani relations have reached a new nadir following the announcement of the new U.S. South Asia strategy. President Trump’s speech appears to have confirmed Pakistani fears that the United States is shifting to regard India as its main partner for engagement in Afghanistan and the region. Meanwhile, U.S. officials signal a loss of patience with Pakistan over the continued operation within the country of violent extremist groups that conduct attacks within Afghanistan and India. Among top U.S. policymakers, a more coercive approach with Pakistan appears to be gaining support. Ideas under discussion include reducing military aid, increasing unilateral drone activity, and revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.
Foreign Minister Asif delivered remarks on Pakistan’s reaction since the announcement of the new U.S. strategy. He also discussed the dynamics between Pakistan and its neighbors, the role of regional players such as China, Iran and Russia, and the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations.
Continue the conversation on Twitter with #AsifAtUSIP.
Khawaja Muhammad Asif
Foreign Minister of Pakistan
Nancy Lindborg, Opening Remarks
President, U.S. Institute of Peace
Moeed Yusuf, Moderator
Associate Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace