Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about India’s extensive aid projects in Afghanistan and the discomfiture said projects cause Pakistan. And I think Justin Logan is absolutely right to suggest that COIN enthusiasts have an unfortunately tendency to neglect these kind of state-vs-state dynamics in their analysis of the situation.
The United States will, at some point, either decide we “won” “the war” in Afghanistan and then leave or else that we “lost” “the war” in Afghanistan and then leave. Pakistan and India can’t leave. And they never really win or lose definitively. The centrality of the India-Pakistan conflict in shaping conflict throughout the region isn’t really anything anyone involved in the “Afpak” debate denies, but it’s as if the issue is too hard so people decide they’d really rather not seriously incorporate it into their analysis.