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Explaining the core of our relationship with Pakistan [Chart]

June 16, 2011 |  3:23 pm

Tension between the U.S. and Pakistan escalated after our military killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. Did Pakistani officials know all along where Bin Laden was hiding? Can we trust our ally? If they’re pulling a fast one on us, why are we providing them with so much foreign aid? The board addressed these questions in a May 7 editorial and explained why we needn’t alienate Pakistan.

But alliances aren't the same as friendships. The hard truth is this: Though no one likes doing business with shady regimes, the U.S. needs Pakistan and must preserve the uncomfortable bond, even if that requires more aid. Pakistan is unlikely to become fully trustworthy or to set its policies with a view to anything other than its national interests. But as long as the U.S. remains involved in Afghanistan and at war with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, it will need to move weapons and troops through Pakistan, and it will need actionable intelligence about militant groups. Equally important, the U.S. must not inflame anti-Americanism in such a volatile, strategically situated nation. Pakistan is a Muslim republic, but one in which militant fundamentalist groups threaten the government's stability at every turn.

The board will revisit the issue in the next few days in light of Wednesday's news that Pakistan has detained people suspected of supplying information to the CIA in advance of the Bin Laden killing. In the meantime, here's a chart explaining the core of our relationship with Pakistan.



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