This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This study argues that principal-agent theory provides a unique perspective on the relationship between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani state. This perspective assists in developing strategies to reduce, disrupt, or eliminate the support that the Taliban receive from Pakistan. Furthermore, the framework of this study can be applied to other state-sponsored terrorist groups, insurgencies, and proxies.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
I. Introduction * A. Background to the Problem * B. Research Question * C. Literature Review * 1. Theoretical Reasons to Delegate * 2. Theoretical Reasons for Tension in the Principal-Agent Relationship * 3. Control Mechanisms in Principal-Agent Relationships * 4. Strategies for the Counter-Terrorist * II. History of the ISI-Taliban Relationship * A. The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989 * B. Afghanistan After the Soviet Withdrawal, 1990-1993 * C. The Afghan Civil War, 1994-2000 * D. ISI-Taliban Relationship During the Bush Administration (2001-2008) * E. ISI-Taliban Relationship During the Obama Administration (2009-2016) * F. ISI-Taliban Relationship During the Trump Administration (2017-Present) * G. Summary of U.S. Attempts to Disrupt the ISI-Taliban Relationship * III. Analysis of the ISI-Taliban Relationship * A. Reasons to Delegate / Motivations * B. Tensions in the Relationship * C. Control Mechanisms * D. Assessing the Relationship * IV. Options for Disrupting the ISI-Taliban Relationship * A. Removing or Reducing the Reasons to Delegate * B. Increasing the Tensions * C. Removing the Control Mechanisms * D. Conclusion * E. Future Research and Applications
Pakistan's support of the Afghan Taliban has numerous layers that have morphed into the current relationship that exists today. This relationship originates from Pakistan's ties to the mujahideen who fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989. Following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, Afghanistan was thrust into a civil war between the Soviet-backed Najibullah regime and Afghan warlords who fought to govern the country. This conflict left Pakistan caught between its rival, India, and an increasingly unstable Afghanistan. When the Taliban formed from these mujahideen fighters in 1994, Pakistan viewed the organization as a possible method of stabilizing Afghanistan. Their support contributed to the Taliban rapidly seizing 90% of Afghanistan between 1994 and 1996.
The events between the Taliban's rise to power and today are well documented. The Taliban remained in control of most of the country until after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Since the U.S. and Northern Alliance removed them from power, the Taliban now control more territory than at any point since 2001. Many observers of the Afghan conflict have blamed poor security and governance in Afghanistan for the resurgent Taliban. The Taliban benefits from the government of Afghanistan's lack of control, but the support of Pakistan remains a significant source of their resurgence. Pakistan, through the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has continued to support the Taliban post 9/11 for many reasons. Although the ISI has transitioned this support from overt to covert, Pakistan must hedge against an eventual U.S. withdrawal and prevent the establishment of any government in Afghanistan that would be friendly to India. The U.S. has attempted multiple strategies to reduce Pakistan's support, including incentivizing actions taken against the Taliban and imposing punitive measures for inaction or aid. It is clear that these strategies have failed to produce long-term or significant change in Pakistan's behavior.