Pakistan's Nuclear Proliferation Activities and the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission: U.S. Policy Constraints and Options

January 25, 2005

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


Richard P. Cronin, Alan Kronstadt, Sharon Squassoni

Related Country: 

  • Pakistan

In calling for a clear, strong, and long-term commitment to support the militarydominated government of Pakistan despite serious concerns about that country’s nuclear proliferation activities, The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States cast into sharp relief two long-standing contradictions in U.S. policy towards Pakistan and South Asia. First, in over fifty years, the United States and Pakistan have never been able to align their national security objectives except partially and temporarily. Pakistan’s central goal has been to gain U.S. support to bolster its security against India, whereas the United States has tended to view the relationship from the perspective of its global security interests. Second, U.S. nuclear nonproliferation objectives towards Pakistan (and India) repeatedly have been subordinated to other U.S. goals. During the 1980s, Pakistan  successfully exploited its importance as a conduit for aid to the anti-Soviet Afghan mujahidin to deter the application of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation law. Not only did Pakistan develop its nuclear weapons capability while receiving some $600 million annually in U.S. military and economic aid, but some of the erstwhile mujahidin came to form
the core of Al Qaeda and Taliban a decade later.