Washington’s attempt to find a resolution to the Afghan conflict militarily while continuously antagonizing Iran and chastising Pakistan as if its leaders were small children is bound to end in failure. It will end in both of Afghanistan’s most important neighbors, with clout among constituencies in the country, defining their core interests in Afghanistan in opposition to those of the United States rather than in tandem with them. A solution to the Afghan imbroglio can be found only if all the three powers most involved in the Afghan conflict—the United States, Pakistan and Iran—can come together in a series of tripartite meetings to fully sort out their differences over Afghanistan and other issues. Otherwise, the conflict is likely to continue endlessly costing the United States gravely in blood and treasure.
Mohammed Ayoob is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy in Washington, DC and he is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Michigan State University.