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Pakistan's Enduring Challenges

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Pakistan's Enduring Challenges
Edited by C. Christine Fair and Sarah J. Watson
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015
320 pp. $69.95

The Pakistani security establishment has always relied on proxy jihadist groups to counter threats from neighboring Afghanistan and India and to destabilize Indian-ruled Kashmir. But according to the expertly researched essays in this book, jihadist attacks have boomeranged on the Pakistani state. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, however incomplete, has diminished the incentives for Washington to help Islamabad fight domestic jihadist groups. China and Saudi Arabia are unlikely to commit many resources to help protect Pakistan from its self-inflicted problems, which also include dysfunctional electricity and tax systems and the unreliable security of its growing nuclear arsenal. The contributors to this volume see glimmers of hope in the modest strengthening of civilian authorities over the military and the fragile growth of civil society. But there is no sign that the Pakistani “deep state” sees any alternative to its counterproductive security strategy.

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