The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted an In-House Meeting on February 23, 2018, with Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, Director of Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies at the Middle East Institute, Washington D.C., on “Current US Strategic Thinking About Afghanistan“. Other participants at the discussion included Shuja Alam, Additional Secretary MOFA, Ambassador Inam-ul-Haq, Ambassador Riaz Mohamad Khan, Ambassador Riaz Khokar, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director, CISS; Dr. Rifaat Hussain, NUST, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Talat Masood; and Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asad Durrani.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman ISSI welcomed the guests and briefly outlined the main features of the new Trump administration’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said that although Pakistan-US relations were a subject of great debate and discussion, and despite being in a state of jeopardy, the current dynamics of the relationship are not new at all, but more of the same mill. While the outlook of the policies which President Trump has adopted are in contrast to President Obama’s policies, the general thrust remained more or less the same. Ambassador Mahmood opined that the current policy outlook was more militaristic in nature, insensitive towards its allies, particularly Pakistan, and based on an erosion of multilateral diplomacy. These policy approaches have fundamentally effected not only the region, but bilateral ties between Pakistan and the US.