U.S. desire to exit Afghanistan creates new dynamics for U.S.-Pakistan relations as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares for his first official visit to the United States. This commentary evaluates the stakes and opportunities of this upcoming dialogue.
The U.S. government’s Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) framework provides an opportunity to clarify and streamline stabilization assistance, though implementation will require sustained leadership, an interagency roadmap, new processes, bureaucratic incentives, and a review of authorities and resources.
Without a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban, which is still a longshot, a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan would have serious risks. Chief among them would be the resurgence of terrorism and the deterioration of human rights—including women’s rights—that come with a Taliban victory. A precipitous exit from the country might be worse than the status quo.