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Pakistan’s Strategic Culture and its Gordian Knot in Afghanistan

Aidan Parkes

Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 2019, vol. 6, issue 3, 254-274

Abstract: Abstract A paradoxical element of Pakistan’s grand strategy exists in its approach to Afghanistan. Pakistan’s instrumentalisation of Islamist groups such as the Taliban has historically been the principal strategic method employed by the military to minimise Indian influence in Afghanistan. However, this strategy risks jeopardising Pakistan’s strategic partnership with China, which is another method used by Pakistan to counterbalance India. Beijing’s growing strategic interests in the region require stability in South Asia, whereas Pakistan’s strategic method in Afghanistan indicates a preference for instability. The destabilising effect of Pakistan’s support for Islamist groups, and China’s desire for political and economic stability in South Asia, indicate latent divergent interests in the Sino-Pakistan strategic partnership. Therefore, this study factors China as a looming constraint on Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy. This study also examines the psychological and strategic factors underpinning Pakistan’s support for Islamist groups in Afghanistan, and the strategic constraints on this policy. Advancing the notion of a ‘strategic culture’ in Pakistan’s military, this study canvasses the concept as an epiphenomenal explanatory factor of its Afghanistan policy, and more instructively, as a factor of strategic inflexibility.

Keywords: Security; Pakistan; Afghanistan; strategic culture; military sociology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1177/2347797019885728

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