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Calling Pakistan's Bluff

The Right Way to Stop the Taliban

Pakistani commandos during a military parade in Islamabad, March 2017. Faisal Mahmood / REUTERS

As the Donald Trump administration has reviewed its plans to manage the war in Afghanistan, the question of troop levels has dominated discussions of U.S. policy. Washington is on track to modestly increase the number of military personnel deployed to Afghanistan, a stop-gap measure indicating that the United States’ presence in the country is unlikely to end soon. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, to whom the president has delegated decisionmaking on the Afghan war, has promised a new strategy by the end of July.

If that strategy is to lead to progress in Afghanistan, the United States must rethink its approach to neighboring Pakistan, whose active and passive support for terrorist groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network undermines Afghanistan’s stability. Whether one believes—as many do—that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is directly funneling weapons and money to these groups, it is clear

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