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Thread: US plan to improve Afghan intelligence operations branded a $457m failure

  1. #211
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    The point is that nobody would believe a rogue officer. A nuclear release is a command chain. Especially with the Pakistanis (and Indian and Chinese). The nukes are kept in component form. It takes a bunch of people to put it together, mate it to a delivery vehicle, targeteer to state the target, and the weaponeer to release the weapon. That many rogues coming together can only happen with state sanction.

  2. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    The point is that nobody would believe a rogue officer. A nuclear release is a command chain. Especially with the Pakistanis (and Indian and Chinese). The nukes are kept in component form. It takes a bunch of people to put it together, mate it to a delivery vehicle, targeteer to state the target, and the weaponeer to release the weapon. That many rogues coming together can only happen with state sanction.
    How about a dirty bomb? I know it's not very dangerous, but for the no-first-use policy, a nuke is a nuke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    How about a dirty bomb? I know it's not very dangerous, but for the no-first-use policy, a nuke is a nuke.
    You can still trace to the factory where the material came from. Frankly, it's a lot easier to get a tank truck size molotav cocktail and do far more damage and a whole lot more untraceable.

  4. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    You can still trace to the factory where the material came from. Frankly, it's a lot easier to get a tank truck size molotav cocktail and do far more damage and a whole lot more untraceable.
    Understood sir, but what I'm trying to do is imagine a way for the Paks to test India's nuclear threshold, using their newfound leverage with China. China now has larger stakes in Pakistan than anyone ever. Will they just let India nuke their client state?

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    China now has larger stakes in Pakistan than anyone ever.
    Then China would seek not to jeopardise those stakes ?

    In a talk ten years ago the present NSA said, the problem with targeting Pakistan is the paucity of targets. In contrast India had many and China still more

    At the time he was advocating for a missiles build up

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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    Understood sir, but what I'm trying to do is imagine a way for the Paks to test India's nuclear threshold, using their newfound leverage with China. China now has larger stakes in Pakistan than anyone ever. Will they just let India nuke their client state?
    With what? The Chinese nuclear arsenal is estimated at ~200 nukes with enough fissile materials for another ~400 more. That is not enough to take out India's 120 nukes and their respective delivery vehicles.

    At times, you Indian lads overthink too much. Too complex a plan has a way of backfiring. Keep It Simple Stupid is the best military axiom I can give you lads.
    Last edited by WABs_OOE; 16 Jan 18, at 00:36.

  7. #217
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    To date China has been wiling to support Pakistan but not to the extent it draws them into a fight with India.

    In '65 the Paks went crying to Chou en lai, who fired them for settling too soon.

    Fight India to the last Pakistani perhaps but no Chinese blood to be spilt in this affair

    Indian missiles can target southern Chinese cities. The Chinese aren't going to trade those for Islamabad

    If China won't completely support them the Paks are then limited in what they can do

    Which is for the best really
    Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Jan 18, at 01:00.

  8. #218
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    What riled Trump up so much that Pakistan became the first tweet of the year ?

    The original plan was to wait till Feb, review and then call it the month after. So the cutting off aid announcement was expected in March

    What Trump did was bring that decision forward by a couple of months catching everybody including his own staff off guard. When questioned abut the cut the staff didn't even know how much aid they were giving to Pakistan

    The next deadline is supposed to be in Sept, that is provided Trump does not bring it forward again
    Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Jan 18, at 16:45.

  9. #219
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    All questions at Karzai



    Karzai's problem with the US was about the US targeting Afghanistan instead of going after sanctuaries. As if the US was colluding with Pakistan against Afghanistan

    When pressing Biden on this point sometime around 2010, Biden told him the US- Pak relationship was fifty times more important than the US-Afghan one.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 19 Jan 18, at 21:11.

  10. #220
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    It's started

    Suspected U.S. drone kills two Haqqani network militants in Pakistan | Reuters | Jan 24 2018

    There has been a slight uptick in U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan in the mountainous border regions bordering Afghanistan since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, though they are a long way off their peak in 2010.

    Earlier this month, one man was severely wounded in a suspected drone attack in FATA, while another Haqqani militant was killed on Dec. 26 in a suspected U.S. drone strike inside Pakistan.

    Trump has taken a hardline stance on Pakistan, which he says provides safe haven to high-level commanders from the Haqqani network, a group which often conducts deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

    Over the past decade, almost all U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan have taken place within FATA, but some Pakistani officials fear the United States under Trump will begin carrying out strikes outside the tribal areas.

  11. #221
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    A new book by Steve Coll

    The secret struggle for Afghanistan | FT | Jan 26 2017

    Journalist Steve Coll investigates the encounter between the CIA and Pakistan’s ‘Directorate S’

    Demetri Sevastopulo


    In March 2008, three American senators flew to Kabul to assess the state of the conflict still ravaging Afghanistan more than six years after the US invasion. Joe Biden, who had recently quit the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, was joined by Chuck Hagel and John Kerry — a team, it turned out, that would later deal with Afghanistan as vice-president, secretary of defence and secretary of state in the administration of President Barack Obama.

    As the trio returned to Kabul in Black Hawk helicopters following a tour of eastern Afghanistan, the general escorting them pointed out that Tora Bora — the mountain cave complex where Osama bin Laden hid after the invasion — was nearby. Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, advised against flying closer because there was a blizzard approaching and they were low on fuel, but Biden, who was the senior of the group, insisted that they take a detour. The helicopters ended up making emergency landings, leaving the three men in their sixties stranded in the snow within sight of armed locals; after hiking for an hour they were rescued by US troops.

    According to Directorate S, a spectacular account of 15 years of secret CIA and US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the investigative journalist and academic Steve Coll, the day was about to get even worse. That evening the senators dined with Hamid Karzai, the elite Afghan who had become president after the CIA whisked him into Afghanistan from Pakistan on a motorcycle following the invasion. By then, Karzai was a quixotic figure prone to lash out at the Americans. After he declared that the US hadn’t “done anything” for his country, Biden banged the table, announced that “This conversation, this dinner, is over”, and stormed out. Karzai was unaware that Biden’s son was about to be deployed to Afghanistan.

    It is difficult not to see this episode as a metaphor for the war as a whole. Ill-considered decisions, unreliable allies and misunderstandings were always at the heart of the problems that only two weeks earlier had led Condoleezza Rice, then secretary of state for George W Bush, to conclude during a visit to the country that “this war isn’t working”.

    The senators’ visit epitomised the turbulent relationship between the US and Afghanistan — and particularly Karzai — that underpinned and undermined US efforts in the longest war in American history. It also prefigured the further deterioration in relations with Karzai that would occur after Obama inherited the Afghan conflict from Bush, who had retained a reasonable bond with his Afghan counterpart.

    Directorate S is the sequel to Coll’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars (2004), the definitive account of the CIA, Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden before September 11, 2001. The title of the new book derives from the US name for the secret unit inside Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency responsible for sponsoring and funding Taliban activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ostensibly as a bulwark against its arch-rival India.


    Coll reveals in detail the complex web of tensions, rivalries, suspicions and pure blunders that has prevented the US from being able to declare “mission accomplished” in Afghanistan. Through meticulous accounts of meetings between the key players, he demonstrates how an incredible lack of trust between Washington, Kabul and Islamabad — and frequently between competing agencies and characters within each of the three countries — all but doomed the US adventure from the start.

    Along the way we get illustrations of the power of American intelligence, from the simple ability to detect that an Afghan man was using a pigeon to warn the Taliban about US patrols, to the satellites that allow pilots in Nevada to unleash Hellfire missiles from drones over Pakistan. But Directorate S also exposes how bureaucratic infighting and severe miscommunication between US agencies offset these technological advantages and hampered the war effort.

    On one occasion, Gary Schroen, a CIA operative in Afghanistan, received a call from the person in charge of flying Predator drones over the country. The mission manager said they had detected two al-Qaeda agents dressed in western clothing who were standing beside an airstrip that the Taliban had just built. Schroen replied that they were aiming their drone missiles at his tall, bearded CIA colleague on an airstrip that the agency itself was constructing.

    With impressive access to American, Afghan and Pakistani intelligence, Coll reveals the extent of the surveillance undertaken by all sides. At the same time that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on ISI director Ahmad Pasha, for example, Pasha was spying on someone closer to home.


    After becoming CIA director in 2009, Leon Panetta flew to Pakistan where he dined with Pasha and Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s then president. During their meal, Zardari commented: “Ahmad knows everything I think and everything I say . . . I walk into my office every morning and say, ‘Hello Ahmad’!” The CIA later concluded that the Pakistani leader was the number one surveillance target for his own spy agency.

    Coll outlines how US ties with Pakistan evolved over the tenures of Bush and Obama, with bouts of co-operation interrupted by periods when there was almost no trust. At one point, as the US was holding secret negotiations with the Taliban, Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kayani and the ISI were helping the Taliban draft statements in the name of its leader Mullah Omar, whose location they claimed not to know even as he was dying in a hospital in Karachi.

    But the deceit ran both ways. After a CIA operative was arrested for shooting dead two Pakistanis, Panetta told Pasha and Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s then ambassador to the US, that he was not working for the CIA. Haqqani later accused him of lying and said, “If you’re going to send a Jason Bourne to our country, make sure he has the skills to get out like Jason Bourne.”

    Directorate S has a cast of characters that make Bourne movies pale in comparison — from type-A CIA officers and paramilitaries to cigar-smoking and whisky-drinking Pakistani generals to a dog nicknamed “Lucky” because he was able to detect incoming missile strikes from drones before they hit.

    Coll rigorously explains why Pakistan pursued a double game and why US concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal meant that Washington never took as hard a stance with Islamabad as it otherwise might have. He also documents why Karzai waxed and waned with respect to the US, which was mostly because he was angry that the US was not cracking down on the ISI over its clandestine support for the Taliban.

    While recognising these constraints, Coll reserves strong criticism for a US that he says was “blinded” to its limitations in Afghanistan. There were a host of reasons for this, including complacency resulting from the initial thundering defeat of the Taliban and also the “disastrous decision” to invade Iraq, which made it easier for the Taliban to attract new recruits at home. Both the Bush and Obama administrations, Coll writes, “tolerated and even promoted stovepiped, semi-independent campaigns waged simultaneously by different agencies of American government”.

    His conclusion, which will be unwelcome in Islamabad, is that “the failure to solve the riddle of the ISI and to stop its covert interference in Afghanistan became, ultimately, the greatest strategic failure of the American war”.

    Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001–2016, by Steve Coll, Allen Lane, RRPŁ25/Penguin Press, RRP$35, 784 pages

    Demetri Sevastopulo is the FT’s Washington bureau chief
    If Obama had said the same things that Trump said about sanctuary, Karzai would have got along better with the US. What pissed him off was the US bought the Pak line that the militants were all in Afghanistan and that is where the bombs and killing should be done

    The next step the US has to take is get rid of this major non NATO ally status with Pakistan. That will free their hands and open up more avenues to increase pressure. The term 'ally' precludes any further action otherwise
    Last edited by Double Edge; 27 Jan 18, at 00:38.

  12. #222
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    So ?

    Point being that outcome is a Pak problem isn't it, not anybody else's problem

    Under what conditions will the Pak mil so readily subordinate to China ?

    Paks going bankrupt is a Pak problem

    Paks losing a nuke is a Pak problem

    Paks promoting & harbouring terrrorists is a Pak problem

    There are consequences otherwise
    Consequences for whom? The Pakmil will hide behind the civilian government and say we didn't know/we didn't do it. Pakmil were saying that they were winning the war in 1971, while they were losing, such is their duplicit nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    My question is how do you guarantee the result ? that the auxilliaries will do as desired and not something else. There is no way.

    Only the military can do it so any attack won't be non state but very state with obvious consequences from the act of war committed.

    You see this in Kargil, where they pretend its irregulars doing the fighting and after refusing to accept their own dead.

    In the first Kashmir war they had irregulars, these idiots once they made advances wanted to secure their booty. What did they do, go back to pakistan with said booty to then return back to the fight. This little window was crucial for us to get in and gain ground. Can't send amateurs to do a pro's job
    Exactly what I meant above. The Pakmil is the only military to not accept their casualties and dead. Least they can do is honor their dead. They leave it for the Indian army to do that. Cheap buggers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    It will get worse. Time is on our side. As time goes on their leverage reduces. The world could care less about this tussle they have with us.

    No, I don't follow their media religiously.
    You are right. The world even now doesn't give a damn to TSPs narratives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria recently and what have these orgs done to tear the USG ?

    it will be easier to nuke India than the US. How does that change our position ?
    Our position hasn't changed much. The IA/BSF combine is just a little busy on the border nowadays, and the PA moaning about it in UN.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Hillary has been peddling that line for some time now. Nuclear terrorism she calls it

    Conventional terrorism operates under a nuclear umbrella. Under what umbrella does nuclear terrorism operate under ? i don't understand

    As i see it you only get one shot and then have to surrender. What good is that
    Nuclear terrorism operate under the umbrella of self-suicide or rather suicidal blackmail. Honestly, I am not so sure Pak nukes will come to play incase of a conventional conflict with India. CSD or no CSD, nukes keep Pak as a state together. No nukes, shepherds from Kashmir will grab Pak land.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Just figured they would never turn him in. He was a cause celebre. And they didn't until the Americans found him.
    You have to watch Al-Jazeera's discussions with Shuja Pasha, where an Afghan questions the dumb prick as why the ISI has created such a mess in Afghanistan. He was very calm when he kind of apologized and said that such is the nature of geo-politics (in other words) and he couldn't help it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    They trusted Musharaf at the time
    Yeah, a very costly mistake. Musharraf is now tying up with the terrorists to stage a comeback in Pak politics. He's a mujahir, even the Paks don't trust him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    I mean the pols don't do anything because they are scared. They have bought the line and this tendency to kick the can down the road and not be the one to bite the bullet. Let the next guy do it or even some other country

    The impression you get is the US is letting the Paks get off light. In a talk once this question was put to the american ambassador, he fired back at us with the same question !!!

    Think about that. We have the biggest grievance with them yet from an american pov we too let the Paks get off light

    See, since the 90s we do not consider Pak terrorism a strategic threat. We treat it as a political issue. If they hit us we can absorb it. Mukherji's line after 2008 is we don't want to internationalise the Kashmir problem. The attacks did stop for a few years while the interlocutors had three years in Kashmir and when nothing came of it then our troops got targeted. The cross border raid is the only thing we've done to show we're not afraid of escalation. That maybe things can change

    When the day comes that we do consider them so and concentrate our comprehensive national power to dealing with the problem up to and including the point we have to emasculate them is when there will be a change.
    Hide your strength, bide your time. I kind of approve Sun Tzu, very unlike the CCP.

  13. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    How many Americans gave two hoots about Afghan collateral damage during our invasion?
    Hillary Clinton did after the Salala incident.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    To date China has been wiling to support Pakistan but not to the extent it draws them into a fight with India.

    In '65 the Paks went crying to Chou en lai, who fired them for settling too soon.

    Fight India to the last Pakistani perhaps but no Chinese blood to be spilt in this affair

    Indian missiles can target southern Chinese cities. The Chinese aren't going to trade those for Islamabad

    If China won't completely support them the Paks are then limited in what they can do

    Which is for the best really
    China can and have been hurting India in other ways. Insurgency likely to increase after Doklam: Former Lt Gen

  14. #224
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    Consequences for whom? The Pakmil will hide behind the civilian government and say we didn't know/we didn't do it. Pakmil were saying that they were winning the war in 1971, while they were losing, such is their duplicit nature.
    For the Pakmil.

    If Pak nukes become a problem for others then Paks should not have nukes. They have to accept full responsibility here, this responsibility can't be shared.

    So when i see statements saying nukes can be lost it is excusing them of their reponsibility isn't it. Why aren't these excuses made for other countries with nukes.

    Our position hasn't changed much. The IA/BSF combine is just a little busy on the border nowadays, and the PA moaning about it in UN.
    i mean we will be doing the occupying if anything goes off in India

    Nuclear terrorism operate under the umbrella of self-suicide or rather suicidal blackmail. Honestly, I am not so sure Pak nukes will come to play incase of a conventional conflict with India. CSD or no CSD, nukes keep Pak as a state together. No nukes, shepherds from Kashmir will grab Pak land.
    Then the existing regime will be replaced by force. They get one shot and lose after. You believe this ? or is this another ruse. The so called negotiating with a gun pointed at one's head

    Yeah, a very costly mistake. Musharraf is now tying up with the terrorists to stage a comeback in Pak politics. He's a mujahir, even the Paks don't trust him.
    When dealing with a major non-NATO ally there is no question of not trusting
    Last edited by Double Edge; 30 Jan 18, at 14:06.

  15. #225
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    How Can America Change Pakistani Behavior?

    NEW DELHI – US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to freeze some $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan as punishment for the country’s refusal to crack down on transnational terrorist groups is a step in the right direction. But more steps are needed.

    The United States has plenty of incentive to put pressure on Pakistan, a country that has long pretended to be an ally, even as it continues to aid the militant groups fighting and killing US soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan. In fact, it is partly because of that aid that Afghanistan is a failing state, leaving the US mired in the longest war in its history.

    More than 16 years after the US invaded Afghanistan, its capital Kabul has come under siege, exemplified by the recent terrorist attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel and the suicide bombing, using an explosives-laden ambulance, in the city center. In recent months, the US has launched a major air offensive to halt the rapid advance of the Afghan Taliban. The US has now carried out more airstrikes since last August than in 2015 and 2016 combined.

    Yet neither the air blitz nor the Trump administration’s deployment of 3,000 additional US troops can reverse the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. To achieve that, Pakistan would have to dismantle the cross-border sanctuaries used by the Taliban and its affiliate, the Haqqani network, as well as their command-and-control operations, which are sited on Pakistani territory. As the US military commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, has acknowledged, “It’s very difficult to succeed on the battlefield when your enemy enjoys external support and safe haven.”

    The problem is that Pakistan’s powerful military, whose generals dictate terms to a largely impotent civilian government, seems committed to protecting, and even nurturing, terrorists on Pakistani soil. Only those militants who threaten Pakistan are targeted by the country’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

    Far from holding Pakistan’s generals accountable for the American blood on their hands, the US has provided them large amounts of funding – so much, in fact, that Pakistan has been one of America’s largest aid recipients. Even when the US found Osama bin Laden, after a ten-year hunt, holed up in a compound next to Pakistan’s main military academy, it did not meaningfully alter its carrot-only strategy. This has enabled the military to tighten its grip on Pakistan further, frustrating domestic efforts to bring about a genuine democratic transition.

    Making matters worse, the US has dissuaded its ally India – a major target of Pakistan-supported terrorists – from imposing any sanctions on the country. Instead, successive US administrations have pressured India to engage diplomatically with Pakistan, including through secret meetings between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national security adviser and his Pakistani counterpart in Bangkok and elsewhere.

    This approach has emboldened Pakistan-based terrorists to carry out cross-border attacks on targets from Mumbai to Kashmir. As for the US, the White House’s new National Security Strategy confirms that America “continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.” This conclusion echoes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s warning in 2009 that Pakistan “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world.”

    Against this background, the Trump administration’s acknowledgement of US policy failure in Pakistan is good news. But history suggests that simply suspending security aid – economic assistance and military training are set to continue – will not be enough to bring about meaningful change in Pakistan (which also counts China and Saudi Arabia among its benefactors).

    One additional step the US could take would be to label Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. If the US prefers not to do so, it should at least strip Pakistan of its status, acquired in 2004, as a Major non-NATO Ally, thereby ending its preferential access to American weapons and technologies.

    Moreover, the US should impose targeted sanctions, including asset freezes on senior military officers who maintain particularly close ties to terrorists. With the children of many Pakistani military officers living in the US, it would also be worth barring these families from the country.

    Finally, the US should take advantage of its enduring position as Pakistan’s largest export market to tighten the economic screws on the cash-strapped country. Since 2013, Pakistan has attempted to offset the sharp decline in its foreign-exchange reserves by raising billions of dollars in dollar-denominated debt with ten-year bonds. Pakistan’s efforts to stave off default create leverage that the US should use.

    Likewise, Pakistan agreed to privatize 68 state-run companies, in exchange for $6.7 billion in credit from the International Monetary Fund. If the US extended financial and trade sanctions to multilateral lending, and suspended supplies of military spare parts, it would gain another effective means of bringing Pakistan to heel.

    To be sure, Pakistan could respond to such sanctions by blocking America’s overland access to Afghanistan, thereby increasing the cost of resupplying US forces by up to 50%. But, as Pakistan learned in 2011-2012, such a move would hurt its own economy, especially its military-dominated trucking industry. Meanwhile, the added cost to the US would be lower than America’s military reimbursements to Pakistan in the last year, which covered, among other things, resupply routes and the country’s supposed counterterrorism operations.

    If Pakistan is going to abandon its double game of claiming to be a US ally while harboring terrorists, the US will need to stop rewarding it for offering, as Trump put it, “nothing but lies and deceit.” More than that, the US will need to punish Pakistan for its duplicity. And US policymakers must act soon, or an increasingly fragile Pakistan could well be transformed from a state sponsor of terrorism into a state sponsored by terrorists.

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