And here is another article that argues that Obama' administration is reading Pakistan's strategic interests incorrectly and that may end up undermining the recent efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. From Pakistan continues to be Obama's reluctant bride:
In October 2008, a month before he was elected, Barack Obama correctly identified Kashmir as the rusty nail in South Asia’s body politic. Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, he told Joe Klein of Time magazine that “working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve the Kashmir crisis in a serious way” were “critical tasks for the next administration.” Obama spoke of devoting
serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this? To make the argument to the Pakistanis, look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep being bogged down with this particularly at a time where the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan border? I think there is a moment where potentially we could get their attention. It won’t be easy, but it’s important.
Yet this promise appears to have been forgotten. The most common American complaint one now hears about Pakistan’s security establishment—expressed yet again by Hillary Clinton at a congressional hearing on Thursday—is that it is “obsessed” with India. Her exasperated tone makes this obsession seem purely irrational, an unnecessary diversion from the urgent task of combating anti-American extremists in the region. But Pakistan is growing ever more fearful of an economically stronger India and its new intimacy with the United States. Convinced that America will turn away from Islamabad just as it did after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, Pakistan’s military leaders will be increasingly reluctant to fall in line with Obama’s announced objectives. They may well launch a few token crackdowns on militants, but they are unlikely to abandon the possibility of allowing some of them to remain in reserve in order to unleash them, at a later date, upon India-ruled Kashmir. As always, the road to stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan runs through the valley of Kashmir, and Obama’s failure to even mention a likely solution to the subcontinent’s primary conflict will doom his new strategy just as surely as his other decision to continue assassinating suspected militants with drone missiles.
The key character in the US president Barack Obama’s Afghanistan fairy tale is Pakistan – the erstwhile protector and enabler of the evil Taliban, but only out of ignorance, despair and an exaggerated fear of India. If only, goes the story, Pakistan could see that the Taliban is plotting to destroy it and recognise that its true interests lie with the noble purposes of the United States, it would ignore India, turn on the Taliban and flush out the insurgents to be crushed by US firepower. And so, a steady stream of US officials has traipsed through Islamabad this year, bearing carrots and brandishing sticks, trying to get Pakistan to see the light
But the Pakistan of Washington’s imagination is a little like the Iraq of Bush Administration’s pre-war imagination – the one that was going to greet its invaders with sweets and flowers. But the US is choosing to ignore the writing on the wall. Just last week, back to back visits by two of the most senior commanders in the US military, General David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen, failed to convince their Pakistani counterparts to go after the Pakistan-based Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani and Hekmatyar networks. Instead, Pakistan’s own counterinsurgency effort will be confined to the Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the local extremist group challenging the Pakistani state.
American officials like to console themselves that this is simply a case of Pakistani fear of abandonment by the US, to which they respond by professing long-term commitment to Afghanistan. But Pakistan’s generals have a good enough sense of what’s going on the ground, with Nato’s supply lines, and with the US economy, to know that Obama’s surge can’t be sustained.
Moreover, while the US objective is to prop up the government in Kabul, Pakistan’s military leaders see that government as a Tajik-dominated regime that serves as a cat’s paw for India. The Afghan Taliban insurgency is viewed as a Pashtun backlash against a government from which the country’s largest ethnic group is alienated – a government that Pakistan has little interest in propping up. While not favouring a rerun of the 1996 Taliban march on Kabul, Pakistani military chiefs are said to favour a negotiated outcome in which many Afghan Taliban elements, and especially Haqqani and Hekmatyar, agree to a power sharing formula that strengthens Pashtun representation – and Pakistani influence – in Kabul, and devolves power to the regions, which, would put its allies in charge of the south and east. Far from going after the insurgent groups against whom the US is demanding action, such a scenario requires that Pakistan position itself to broker terms with them that would allow for a US withdrawal.
And here are some of the issues that may end up limiting any substantial success in Afghanistan-Pakistan area - and if you add the above-mentioned Kashmir into the equation, we may end up in a status-quo at best:
The US will keep pressing, of course, because even though its military leaders know some form of political settlement is inevitable with a movement rooted in a significant section of the population, they also know that there’s no incentive for the Taliban to offer a compromise acceptable to the Americans as long as it is winning on the battlefield.These two excellent articles are quite sensible and point to some important blind spots in Obama's strategy. Read Afghanistan: The forgotten conflict in Kashmir and Pakistan continues to be Obama's reluctant bride.
Still, Pakistan will likely find ways of deflecting this pressure, as it has since the US first invaded. And the US will therefore be tempted to expand its “drone war”, that allows it to assassinate enemy commanders using missiles fired from remote-controlled aircraft. There have been conflicting reports in the US media in the past week of just how far Mr Obama wants to extend the drone strikes. Going after Haqqani in North Waziristan could rupture relations with Pakistan’s military; going after Mullah Omar and his cohort in the Baluchistan city of Quetta could spark an outrage in Pakistan that forces the military to push back.