Central Asia and Its Asian Neighbors: Security and Commerce at the Crossroads

By Rollie Lal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Pakistan

Pakistan’s relations with the Central Asian states have been complicated by its historic role in Afghanistan and in supporting Islamist groups. The military in Pakistan long considered Afghanistan to be a critical region for ensuring Pakistan’s security, as it could provide “strategic depth” against its rival India. In case of a major military engagement with India, friendly relations with Afghanistan would provide the Pakistani military with the ability to fall back and regroup.1 Until the rise of the Taliban, however, Afghanistan remained a close friend of India. Instead of providing strategic depth, Pakistan viewed Afghanistan as part of a larger Indian strategy to encircle Pakistan. Unable to alter the diplomatic situation with Kabul, Pakistan worked closely with militant groups through the 1980s and 1990s to undermine the Afghan government and replace it with a pro-Pakistan regime.2

Pakistan’s support of militancy and religious fundamentalism in Central Asia began in the 1980s, when funding from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was funneled through ISI, the Pakistani intelligence organization, to help train mujahideen in Afghanistan as combatants against the Soviet Union.3 Militants from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, China, and various other countries began

1 Author interviews with Indian and Pakistani officials, summer 2003.

2 Rashid (2001).

3 Kaplan (2000); Rashid (2001).

-23-

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Central Asia and Its Asian Neighbors: Security and Commerce at the Crossroads
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Summary ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - China 3
  • Chapter Three - Iran 11
  • Chapter Four - Afghanistan 19
  • Chapter Five - Pakistan 23
  • Chapter Six - India 29
  • Chapter Seven - Conclusions- Implications for U.S. Interests 35
  • Bibliography 37
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