Mr Sharif returned home with a significant deliverable in terms of the release of US funding for military and economic assistance

. Missing from the official joint statement summarising his meetings was a promise by President Obama to make a return visit to Pakistan, but this is to be e pected during his future travel to the region. !n the meantime, "ashington will be watching for #awa$ Sharif%s ability to tackle Pakistan%s immense problems at home and with neighbouring &fghanistan and !ndia. &fghanistan continues to both sustain and injure bilateral ties. 'he United States and Pakistan have a shared history of misadventure in &fghanistan, paying dearly for each other%s mistakes. &fghanistan is the latest place where we have found one another to be indispensable, partially reliable and sometimes unhelpful allies. Scapegoating is a common practice, but as much as both countries complain about each other, neither can cut the ties that bind without causing grievous self(punishment. Pakistan is as necessary for the withdrawal of US military e)uipment as it was for its deployment into &fghanistan. &nd Pakistan continues to need US help to deal with economic difficulties and internal security threats. #either can succeed at counterterrorism without the other%s help. Pakistani and US soldiers who have served multiple tours battling violent e tremism have borne the brunt of mistaken national security policies. Other reasons to stabilise bilateral relations are obvious. &s the communi)u* from the state visit makes plain, the United States has helped Pakistan to deal with its energy dilemmas far more than +hina. 'his has barely been noticed in the current phase of anti( &mericanism within Pakistan. Military assistance continues, but has shifted , and will shift still more , away from hardware associated with conventional warfare to helping Pakistan%s military deal with e tremists who kill at a rate that dwarfs that of drone warfare. &s long as it is easier within Pakistan to rail against drones than for the Pakistani military to take action against the targets of drone strikes, our two nations will remain only partial and troubled partners in countering violent e tremism. !nternal and e ternal security threats are linked, of course. -ut internal cohesion can only be accentuated by missteps in &fghanistan or in dealings with !ndia. !n Pakistan, internal security is of paramount importance, as .en /ayani repeatedly says. 'o the outside world, Pakistan%s efforts in this regard are overshadowed by those who use its soil to carry out violent acts across borders. !t%s hard to recognise mistakes, and even harder to engineer course corrections. 'here is good reason to suspect that &fghanistan is too fractious a place for ambitious state(

building. at the margins of U# . &s long as firing across the /ashmir divide continues. re)uires improved ties between Pakistan and !ndia. 0amiliar divides will reappear because they have never gone away. energy and internal security woes. . by orders of magnitude. and are unlikely to help Pakistan find a brighter future. he and !ndian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised to )uiet e changes of fire across the /ashmir divide. 'he Obama administration will continue to provide assistance to tackle Pakistan%s economic. in turn. Pakistan has been destabilised by its own and by US. mirroring !ndia%s decades(long misfortunes in /ashmir.eneral &ssembly speechmaking. when the reverse has proven to be true. Pakistan now ranks above &fghanistan. The writer is co-founder of the Stimson Centre in Washington. 1ast month. & political settlement. 'hese flares appear to outsiders as contrived to prevent #awa$ from pursuing what he so clearly wants . will be taking action against e tremists that are driving up Pakistan%s death toll. in fatalities due to sectarian violence. it suggests opposition to this agenda. 0irst impressions in "ashington. and second only to !ra). 'wo generations of Pakistani strategic analysts have held the mirage that &fghanistan provides strategic depth. suggest a man hobbled by the immensity of his country%s problems and the obstacles that others so easily place in his path. 1eaving aside countries like Syria which are in the throes of a civil war. "hatever chips Pakistan%s national security managers might try to play in an &fghan settlement have not rewarded Pakistan in the past. which is critical to Pakistan%s well(being. #awa$ Sharif has great sympathy and support in "ashington. and could be destabilised further if !ndia gains a foothold there to use as a staging ground to support disaffection in -alochistan. & role reversal of this kind. improved relations and greater direct trade with !ndia. could only multiply Pakistan%s domestic woes. & grand &fghan political settlement is likely to remain ephemeral or illusive. misadventures in &fghanistan. if one can be found. will have to tackle this issue which. as in Pakistan. More difficult.