The problem is that Rawalpindi makes use of America’s dependence on its geography to secure economic and military aid, while surreptitiously backing the militants it is supposed to be fighting – from the Taliban to Lashkar-e-Taiba and even segments of Al Qaeda. The existence of these groups, in turn, forces America to rely on Pakistan even more. Along with fears about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, this dependence limits Washington’s ability to decisively deal with the Pakistani military’s double game.
As Hussain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, has written, as far back as 1947, Pakistan’s leaders saw that “Pakistan could extract a good price from the United States…in view of Pakistan’s strategic location.”
Rawalpindi’s stance is unlikely to change, as the Pakistani army also supports these militants in an effort to ensure Pakistan’s domestic cohesiveness. The Baluch, Pashtun, and Kashmiri ethnic groups straddle Pakistan’s borders with Iran, Afghanistan, and India. Their calls for self-determination challenge Pakistan’s internal security and national defense.
To divert the groups from their demands for independence, Islamabad has lent logistical, military, and ideological support to pan-Islamic militants in those regions – using an ideology of "pan-Islamism" that would unite all of these ethnic groups under the banner of Islamic Pakistan. This redirects the groups' revolutionary fervor toward external enemies.