The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has brought to the surface longstanding issues and mistrust in US-Pakistan relations. Here are some of the key issues:
- Counterterrorism Cooperation: The US has long accused Pakistan of harboring and supporting militant groups, particularly the Taliban and its affiliated Haqqani Network. The US has also criticized Pakistan for not doing enough to combat terrorism on its soil. These accusations have created a trust deficit between the two countries and led to strained counterterrorism cooperation.
- Afghanistan: The US and Pakistan have different visions for the future of Afghanistan. While the US has emphasized the need for a democratic and stable Afghanistan, Pakistan has traditionally supported the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan as a way of promoting its own strategic interests in the region. The US has accused Pakistan of providing safe havens and support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, which has fueled mistrust and tension between the two countries.
- Nuclear Proliferation: The US has long been concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear program, particularly its safety and security. The US has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to prevent the proliferation of nuclear technology and materials, which has contributed to mistrust between the two countries.
- Regional Politics: The US and Pakistan have divergent interests and priorities in the broader South Asian region. Pakistan has traditionally viewed India as its primary strategic adversary and has sought to maintain a balance of power in the region. The US, on the other hand, has sought to strengthen its partnership with India as a counterbalance to China’s growing influence in the region. These differences in regional politics have created tension and mistrust between the US and Pakistan.
Overall, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has brought to the forefront longstanding issues and mistrust in US-Pakistan relations. Going forward, both countries will need to work to address these issues and rebuild trust in their partnership, particularly as the US seeks to maintain regional stability in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.