Afghanistan’s old wounds—no longer bandaged by U.S. dollar bills—are opening once again.
President Donald Trump rang in the new year with a Twitter salvo directed at Pakistan, claiming that Washington has given Islamabad more than $33 billion in aid after 9/11, but has only received “lies and deceit” in return. The administration has since announced the suspension of military assistance to Pakistan. An unnamed State Department official has described the suspension as reversible should the Pakistani military take desired action against the Haqqani Network.
The Trump administration appears to be moving toward a strategy of compellence toward Pakistan. It may be nonviolent right now, but could include lethal covert action, both visible (e.g. drone attacks) and less visible, and yield a series of unintended consequences that push the bilateral relationship beyond the point of no return.