Policymakers and geopolitical experts in Washington are advocating a shift in outlook towards Islamabad following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan which was aided by Pakistan. This shift in tide has been widely attributed to Pakistan’s covert and overt support to the outfit which led to the swift fall of the democratically elected government in Kabul in August this year. Last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said that Washington is looking to “reassess” its ties with Islamabad. Pakistan Foreign Office later expressed “surprise” over Blinken’s remarks, saying it was “not in line with the close cooperation” between the two nations. A few weeks later, a bill was introduced in the US Senate calling for a probe into Pakistan’s support to the Taliban for the 2021 offensive that toppled the Afghan government. More than 20 US Senators had introduced the bill and demanded sanctions on the Taliban in Afghanistan and the foreign governments that support the outfit.
Writing for The Washington Examiner, Michael Rubin argued that it is time for both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives to say enough is enough. “It is time to move the fundamental rethink of US Pakistan policy from rhetorical to reality. Strip Pakistan of major non-NATO ally status. Designate Pakistan as a terror sponsor. Put it on the Financial Action Task Force blacklist where it belongs,” he added.
Rubin, who is the resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said apologia for Pakistan should not be hardwired into US foreign policy. He said that Pakistan’s failure to come clean about its sheltering of Osama bin Laden and numerous Pakistani terrorists captured while fighting alongside the Taliban should have landed Pakistan on the state sponsor of terror list a while ago.
Terming Washington’s strategy of Pakistan as “delusional”, Rubin reminded that that between 2002 and 2018, the US gave the south Asian country more than USD 33 billion. “That equates to more than USD 100 for every American man, woman, and child. Whether that aid was civilian or military, neither Washington nor Pakistan have anything to show for it.”