Jean Tessier's Reviews > Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Pakistan on the Brink by Ahmed Rashid
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May 24, 12

bookshelves: leisure
Read from May 03 to 18, 2012

I really appreciated his two other books, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia and Descent into Chaos: The United States & the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan & Central Asia, for their deep knowledge of the issues at stake in Afghanistan and Central Asia. I was looking forward to this update on things are evolving.

Things are not going well in AfPak. Since American troops will leave Afghanistan by 2014, everybody is pretty much waiting for them to have left before they make their move. The Afghan government is feeling isolated and abandoned. Pakistan wants to play a major role in shaping the future of Afghanistan, which it sees as a strategic component of its strategy regarding India, but it also has to deal with its home brand of islamist fundamentalists. All the other neighbors are taking a wait-and-see attitude. America is doing its best to make a dignified exit.

The last pages of the book mention the accidental killing of 26 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO air strike on 2011-11-26. This prompted Pakistan to close to supply routes into Afghanistan. On 2012-05-21, the news mentioned a NATO summit where they were talking about these closed supply routes. Six months after the incident, the issue is still not resolved.

On 2012-05-23, Pakistan convicted the doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden. Just like Ahmed Rashid mentions in the book, Pakistani officials are more concerned with the breach of their sovereignty by the US raid to kill bin Laden than with the fact he was being given shelter in Pakistan. On 2012-05-24, the US suspended $33 million in aid to Pakistan in retaliation.

I'm afraid Rashid's next book on the region, in a few years, after the American withdrawal, will be quite depressing.

More to come.
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