What Trump Can Do About Pakistan

Help wanted.

Photographer: Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images

Blasted by U.S. President Donald Trump for undermining the U.S. war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Pakistan has reacted as defiantly as one would expect. The U.S. should resist the impulse to respond in kind.

In a speech last month, Trump bluntly accused Pakistan of playing both sides in the war, accepting billions in U.S. aid while providing safe haven to Afghan insurgents. Pakistani officials were quick to protest that their nation has made great sacrifices in its own battles against terrorism, and to declare that they wanted from the U.S. only respect, not cash, for their efforts. They also made clear that they had other friends, hastily sending the Pakistani foreign minister off to Beijing and Moscow.

None of this should dissuade the Trump administration from demanding that Pakistan do more. Pakistan's efforts at home have been focused only on terrorists who target the Pakistani state. Its military continues to allow free rein to militants fighting Indian forces in Kashmir and, more to the point, offers sanctuary to leaders from the Afghan Taliban and their allies in the Haqqani Network, who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops.