The Trump administration has taken a hardline approach toward Pakistan, cutting military and security aid throughout 2018 and accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to combat militants operating on its soil. Pakistan, however, maintains that it has eliminated all safe havens and that the United States is unfairly targeting the country.
Washington’s conventional wisdom on Pakistan correctly links militant sponsorship with the state’s military and intelligence agencies. As such, U.S. policies to combat Pakistan’s militant sponsorship have primarily focused on pressuring the military. In a new report, Sahar Khan analyzes Pakistan’s anti-terrorism legal regime, judiciary, and police and finds that in the context of counterterrorism, civil institutions have developed policies and bureaucratic routines that reinforce the military’s policy of sponsoring militant groups. And this is one of the primary reasons why U.S. attempts to change Pakistan’s policy of militant sponsorship have failed.
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