But Pakistan’s military leaders may confront the Afghan Taliban eventually, not only to ease US pressure but also to reestablish the writ of government.
“There is a mismatch between the Pakistani priorities and what the US would like it to do, but I don’t think in the long run there’s any contradiction. It’s only a question of timing,” says Rifaat Hussain, a security analyst at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. “Inevitably, Pakistan will have to deal with these elements.”
Here’s a briefing on what the US wants from Pakistan, and how Pakistan might be wiling or able to help.
The US wants Pakistan to move against two Afghan insurgent groups that use Pakistan as a haven to plot attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
First, it is pressing Pakistan to launch an offensive against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, one of seven tribal areas loosely controlled by the government.
Second, it wants to expand drone attacks from the tribal areas into Pakistan proper, specifically to Balochistan Province, where it says the Quetta Shura, Afghan Taliban’s central leadership led by Mullah Omar, is hiding.
The US believes Pakistan is sheltering these Taliban as a strategic asset in case the US withdraws from Afghanistan in defeat and these groups reassert themselves next door.