Security Challenges Involving Pakistan and Policy Implications for the Department of Defense: By by Lisa Curtis Testimony October 11, 2007
This testimony was delivered on October 10, 2007, before the Armed Services Committee, U.S. House of Representatives.
Pursuing a strong and stable relationship with Pakistan will continue to be one of America's most important foreign policy objectives for several years to come. The range and complexity of issues involved in our relations – eliminating global terrorist networks, countering the rising tide of Islamic radicalism in Pakistan, securing and safeguarding Pakistan's nuclear assets, and facilitating the transition to civilian-led democracy – require focused and sustained U.S. attention and deft diplomacy.
Recent developments in Pakistan and the U.S., however, are threatening to create misunderstandings between our two countries and to derail this critical partnership. Pakistan's inability to control a burgeoning terrorist safe haven in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan is causing frustration in Washington, while recently-passed U.S. legislation that conditions military assistance to Pakistan is causing doubts about the U.S. as a reliable long-term partner. Washington and Islamabad each have high expectations of the relationship. In order to sustain the U.S.-Pakistan partnership over the long-term, we need to manage these expectations and seek to align our strategic perspectives of the region more closely. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past by allowing our ties to Islamabad to founder. A second breach in the relationship, like that caused by the Pressler Amendment that cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan in 1990, would seriously jeopardize U.S. interests in South Asia and have severe implications for the global fight against terrorism.
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Also See: US lawmakers, experts urge continued backing of Pak-India dialogue: Daily Times, October 12, 2007