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The U.S.-Pakistan relationship has faced a turbulent year. On November 3, USIP hosted a panel of eminent experts who parsed recent developments within Pakistan, and in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.


In September, Admiral Mike Mullen surprised observers of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship when he called the Haqqani Network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency. Subsequent weeks have seen heightened tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan, followed by fresh efforts at intense public diplomacy to repair the damage.

While both sides continue to underscore the central importance of the bilateral relationship for regional stability, their strategies with regard to the end game in Afghanistan remain unclear and uncoordinated. As the future of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship navigates shaky ground, Pakistan’s domestic instabilities pose a further challenge. Though large scale militant attacks have subsided in the country’s major cities, political fragility has been increasingly evident, from the constant shifting of political party coalitions to the decreasing popularity of the current government due to power shortages and inflation, and in the case of Karachi, the country’s financial hub, the worsening law and order situation.

For Washington, the state of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, particularly as it pertains to the approaching ‘end-game’ in Afghanistan, is key to short-term interests, while long term interests depend just as greatly on Pakistan’s internal stability. On November 3, USIP hosted three eminent experts, all of whom have recently authored new books on Pakistan, for a discussion on these issues, with a special focus on the recent developments within Pakistan, and in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

This event featured the following speakers:

  • Ambassador Riaz Muhammad Khan, panelist
    former Foreign Secretary, Islamic Republic of Pakistan
    Author, Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism and Resistance to Modernity
  • Pamela Constable, panelist
    Staff Writer, The Washington Post
    Author, Playing with Fire: Pakistan at War with Itself
  • Zahid Hussain, panelist
    2011-2012 Pakistan Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
    Author, The Scorpion's Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan - and How it Threatens America
  • Andrew Wilder, moderator
    Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs
    United States Institute of Peace

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