It seems to me that circa 2008–2009 or so, the stability of our allies in the government of Pakistan was a key reason we needed to be in Afghanistan. Now it seems to be the reverse. We want the Pakistanis to take on the Haqqani network, but they don’t want to and we can’t make them:
They said General Kayani, who was under great pressure from his troops after the humiliation of the Bin Laden raid, had recovered some ground and recouped some prestige. He has no intention of giving in to the Americans now because he is betting that they still need Pakistan as the supply route for the Afghanistan war, they said.
But the larger reason is a divergence of strategic interests with the United States. The Haqqani network is seen as an important anti-India tool for the Pakistani military as it assesses the future of an Afghanistan without the Americans, a situation Pakistan sees as not far off.
So we’re in Afghanistan fighting the Haqqanis. And the Pakistanis are backing the Haqqanis because they don’t think we’ll stay in Afghanistan. And the Pakistanis are using the fact of our presence in Afghanistan is leverage to resist our demands. It all seems kind of oddly circular.