The new U.S. effort to stabilize Afghanistan includes a more confrontational approach toward neighboring Pakistan. What are the advantages and costs of that approach, and how should the United States now calibrate its engagement with Pakistan? On October 18, USIP held this discussion. Four senior American officials, who collectively have worked through decades of turbulent U.S.-Pakistan relations, debated these questions and the impact of the new U.S. approach on Pakistan and the region.

The United States for years has searched for ways to influence Pakistan to rein in the extremist groups in the country that attack neighboring Afghanistan and India. While Pakistan and the United States have found a measure of cooperation, their relationship has been plagued by fundamental disconnects and often has been overshadowed by the war in Afghanistan.

President Trump’s August speech on Afghanistan and South Asia policy provoked sharp reactions from Pakistani officials, who say Pakistan is being made a “scapegoat” for a U.S. policy that cannot resolve Afghanistan’s conflicts. This month’s visit of Pakistan’s foreign minister to Washington reopened the bilateral dialogue, but the relationships remains fraught.

USIP’s panel engaged U.S.-Pakistani relations from varied perspectives. These experts discussed the consequences of the new U.S. approach, and whether there are options for the two countries to find a convergence of interests that improves the stability in the region.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #USPakStrat.


Andrew Wilder, Opening Remarks
Vice President, USIP Asia Center

Zalmay Khalilzad
Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
Gryphon Partners

Laurel Miller
Former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
RAND Corporation

Robin Raphel
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Vikram Singh
Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Center for American Progress

Moeed Yusuf, Moderator
Associate Vice President, USIP Asia Center

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