Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party rally against Asia Bibi in Karachi, Pakistan, Oct. 12, 2018 (AP photo by Fareed Khan).

Last summer, Tahir Ahmad Naseem was at a bail hearing in a high-security courtroom in Pakistan when he was shot dead. His killer, a 15-year-old student named Faisal Khan who had sneaked a pistol into the courtroom, was arrested immediately. But rather than facing public opprobrium, Khan was hailed as a hero. Thousands took to the streets to defend him, chanting slogans in his support and rallying for his release from prison. Police officers clicked jubilant selfies with him as they ferried the teenager in and out of court.  Naseem, his victim, had been targeted both by the lawsuit and […]

Pakistani troops observe the area from a hilltop post on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Khyber district, Pakistan, Aug. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Anjum Naveed).

The anger directed by Americans at Pakistan in the wake of the disorderly end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan is understandable. After all, Pakistan really did give shelter to the Afghan Taliban, something that played a vital role in the Taliban’s eventual victory. However, the reaction in Washington is also a way of avoiding an honest analysis of the comprehensive failures of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Moreover, it misses key aspects of what motivated Pakistan’s behavior, with very important implications for how the United States itself understands and acts in the world. To begin with, Islamabad’s support for the […]