Last year, President Obama said his administration had a plan of action for Afghanistan—disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda. Since that time, the United States has experienced both gains and losses in that effort. In a recent unannounced trip to Afghanistan, President Obama conferred with President Hamid Karzai, met with U.S. troops and sent a strong message of support for the mission. Bruce Riedel says President Obama understands how much work he has to do to meet his stated objectives.
This suspension [of U.S. military aid] will no doubt put pressure on Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, but I am skeptical that cutting a few hundred million dollars in assistance will induce Pakistan to make significant changes to its security policy. Today’s announcement sends a signal about the U.S. administration’s intent to hold Pakistan to account in the public domain. Whether it accomplishes more than that is yet to be seen.
The suspension [of military aid to Pakistan] is arguably more significant as a signal of Washington’s discontent than as an act of financial deprivation. The Trump administration has likely sketched out an escalation strategy, and would be wise to pause after Thursday’s announcement to give Pakistan the opportunity to quietly address U.S. concerns.
What do you do when your allies [like Pakistan] are part of the problem? The desire to turn our backs on these people is there, but then you worry that terrorists will have more operational freedom and it will cost you more in the long run.