The situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan is alarming. In Afghanistan, the planned 2014 withdrawal of international troops is likely to usher in civil war. Nuclear-armed Pakistan is shaken by repeated cycles of social, political, and economic crises. Despite these daunting challenges, the US and its European allies have yet to formulate a coherent, long-term strategy for their engagement in South Asia after international forces’ pull-out from Afghanistan. Lasting stability can be achieved only through political conflict-resolution and social change. Accomplishing these objectives requires a multi-level strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the larger region. Such a strategy should prioritize a political solution for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Kashmir, support for moderate parties and local ownership, and strengthen initiatives for regional cooperation. However, implementing such an ambitious multi-level strategy will be possible only if policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic can convince their constituencies that continued engagement in the region is in their long-term interest.
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