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The Editors

Withholding Aid From Pakistan Isn't Enough

Nothing will change without focused diplomacy.
Photograph: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. decision last week to suspend military aid to Pakistan is not only defensible but justified. It’s also unlikely to affect Pakistan’s covert aid to Islamist militants unless it’s accompanied by a more comprehensive and determined strategy.

Simply withholding aid, as both of President Donald Trump’s predecessors did at one time or another, won't necessarily change the calculus of Pakistan’s generals. They view their militant proxies as a crucial means of exerting influence over neighboring Afghanistan and ensuring it doesn’t grow too close to arch-rival India. The only way to force real change is to make it too painful for the military to continue on its present course, while presenting Pakistan’s citizens and civilian leaders with a better alternative.