“There is enormous danger for the region, for the Pakistanis themselves, and frankly for us if these links aren’t cut and some of these militant leaders we know are operating with official protection aren’t dealt with,” says Seth Jones, a RAND expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan. “That’s not going to happen unless there is much stronger pushing on this from the US.”
A key recommendation of the report’s authors, part of a group that advises the Pentagon on Pakistan policy, is that the US should hold back some of the billions in aid dollars promised to Pakistan until security and intelligence agencies make “discernible progress” in cutting ties to extremist groups.
“We’re not advocating a break” with Pakistan, says Mr. Jones, who co-authored the report with Christine Fair of Georgetown University. “But something has to be done about these links that are not just unhelpful but that threaten US interests,” he says.
As an example, Jones cites the US effort in next-door Afghanistan.
“The US simply can’t be fully successful in stabilizing Afghanistan with these groups continuing to enjoy the protection and support they get from Pakistani intelligence,” he says. One of the principal irritants the report cites is the Haqqani militant group, which the US military considers the source of numerous attacks on its forces in Afghanistan.