Back from the Brink? A Strategy for Stabilizing Afghanistan-Pakistan - Asia Society Report


Back from the Brink? A Strategy for Stabilizing Afghanistan-Pakistan
An Asia Society Task Force Report
April 2009

A new Asia Society Task Force report outlines a comprehensive strategy for the new U.S. administration to pursue a dramatically different course in Afghanistan-Pakistan. Both countries are now struggling to limit the spread of violent insurgencies, curb losses in public confidence, and address major weaknesses in governance while being faced with a growing economic crisis. These trends threaten not only the loss of control by the Afghan and Pakistani governments but also the spread of terrorist safe havens in the region.

Executive Summary

The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are at risk from a combination of violent insurgency, loss of public confidence, and economic crisis. These trends threaten not only the loss of control by the Afghan and Pakistani governments, but also the spread of terrorist safe havens and, in the most extreme situation, the loss of control over some of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or materials.

The policies of the previous administration toward this conflict zone fell short . The administration did not match its proclaimed objectives with the necessary resources and strategic effort, although resources began to increase in recent years, and it did not develop a sufficiently integrated approach to the two countries and the region . Its ideological “war on terror” mind-set blinded the administration to significant strategic realities of this region, which led to a fundamentally dysfunctional relationship with Pakistan that exacerbated regional tensions, failed to prevent al-Qaida from reestablishing a safe haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA), enabled the Taliban to regroup and rearm from their strongholds in Quetta and FATA, and offered no significant response to the upsurge of the Pakistan Taliban movement.

The time has come to change course dramatically . Incremental changes alone, such as more troops or more money, will not be sufficient to address the monumental challenge we face . In the context of this deteriorating situation, the United States must now define far more clearly the objectives that it and its allies and partners can achieve . While this may appear to involve scaling back goals, in reality, it is only an attempt to match objectives with capabilities and resources

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For complete report (pdf), click here

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