First, Washington must demand that Chief of Army Staff Asfaq Pervez Kayani – the key power player in Pakistan – crack down on ISI aid to the Haqqani network, Taliban, and other insurgent groups attacking US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Army holds great influence over the ISI. As a former director general of the ISI, Mr. Kayani knows the agency very well. And the ISI’s current director general, Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, is a trusted ally. It’s fair to say that Kayani is strong enough to rein in ISI operatives.
Then what leverage might the US apply?
America doesn’t need another front in the war in Afghanistan, so sending in troops to Pakistan is unrealistic and unwanted – both by Pakistan’s government and Americans back home. Doing so would probably only cause the kind of political instability that would benefit the militant Islamists. Formally labeling the country a state-sponsor of terrorism could have the same effect.
Another option, cutting off aid, would be unlikely to change the military’s policies. Though Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari sides with the US in his hostility to the Taliban, the elected government lacks the power to impose its will on the military.
The challenge for US-Pakistani relations is Pakistan’s relationship with India and Islamabad's concerns about Mr. Karzai moving to solidify his relations with India. Yet India and Pakistan have recently made surprising progress in talks centered on strengthening economic ties.