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Pakistan and the War on Terror: Conflicted Goals, Compromised Performance

Pakistan and the War on Terror: Conflicted Goals, Compromised Performance

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The United States must shift its counterterrorism policy toward Pakistan away from a reciprocal approach—requiring Islamabad to perform desirable actions to receive support—towards one encouraging Pakistan to enact effective counterterrorism policies, not for an immediate payoff, but to strengthen institutionalized trust with the U.S. over time.

There is growing dissatisfaction in the United States with the Musharraf regime’s commitment to counterterrorism operations, given the influx of U.S. aid. But while Pakistan’s performance in the “war on terror” has fallen short of expectations, Islamabad’s inability to defeat terrorist groups cannot simply be explained by neglect or lack of motivation. U.S. policy makers must take into account the specific and complex counterterrorism challenges facing Pakistan and move away from their current unsustainable policies.
The United States must shift its counterterrorism policy toward Pakistan away from a reciprocal approach—requiring Islamabad to perform desirable actions to receive support—towards one encouraging Pakistan to enact effective counterterrorism policies, not for an immediate payoff, but to strengthen institutionalized trust with the U.S. over time.

There is growing dissatisfaction in the United States with the Musharraf regime’s commitment to counterterrorism operations, given the influx of U.S. aid. But while Pakistan’s performance in the “war on terror” has fallen short of expectations, Islamabad’s inability to defeat terrorist groups cannot simply be explained by neglect or lack of motivation. U.S. policy makers must take into account the specific and complex counterterrorism challenges facing Pakistan and move away from their current unsustainable policies.

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Published by: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Mar 10, 2009
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Ashley J. TellisAshley J. Tellis
CONFLICTED GOALS, COMPROMISED PERFORMANCE
Pakistan and the War on TerrorPakistan and the War on Terror
CONFLICTED GOALS, COMPROMISED PERFORMANCE
 
 Pakistan and theWar on Terror
Conflicted Goals,Compromised Performance
Ashley J. Tellis
 
© 2008 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. All rights reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without per-mission in writing from the Carnegie Endowment.The Carnegie Endowment normally does not take institutional positions on public policy issues; theviews represented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Endowment, its staff, or its trustees.For electronic copies of this report, visit www.CarnegieEndowment.org/pubs.Limited print copies are also available.To request a copy, send an e-mail to pubs@CarnegieEndowment.org.Carnegie Endowment for International Peace1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20036Phone: 202-483-7600Fax: 202-483-1840www.CarnegieEndowment.orgABOUT THE AUTHORAshley J. Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing ininternational security, defense, and Asian strategic issues. He was recently on assignment to the U.S.Department of State as senior advisor to the undersecretary of state for political affairs. Previously he wascommissioned into the Foreign Service and served as senior advisor to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassyin New Delhi and served on the National Security Council staff as special assistant to the President andsenior director for strategic planning and southwest Asia. Prior to his government service, Tellis was sen-ior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation and professor of policy analysis at the RAND GraduateSchool. He is the author of 
 India’s Emerging Nuclear Posture
(2001), and co-author of 
 Interpreting China’sGrand Strategy: Past, Present, and Future
(2000). He is the Research Director of the Strategic Asia pro-gram at NBR and co-editor of 
Strategic Asia 2007–08: Domestic Political Change and Grand Strategy.
The author thanks Alyssa Ayres, Chris Fair, Jack Gill, Frédéric Grare, Neil Joeck, Dan Markey, JessicaMathews, and George Perkovich for their most helpful comments on the manuscript. Thanks are alsoowed to Sam McCormally for research assistance and to Riccardo Redaelli, Maria Sultan, the Indian,Pakistani, and European participants at the Landau Network-Centro Volta workshops on South Asian secu-rity, the Afghan and Pakistani military officers at the annual confidence-building meetings in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and to several Indian, Pakistani, and NATO diplomats and military officers fortheir insights into the challenges associated with counterterrorism operations in Operation EnduringFreedom.
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