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Fighting to the EndThe Pakistan Army's Way of War$
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C. Christine Fair

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199892709

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892709.001.0001

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Pakistan’s Quest for Strategic Depth

Pakistan’s Quest for Strategic Depth

(p.103) Chapter 5 Pakistan’s Quest for Strategic Depth
Fighting to the End

C. Christine Fair

Oxford University Press

This chapter identifies one of the most enduring derivatives of Pakistan’s strategic culture: its obsession with forging strategic depth in Afghanistan. While contemporary scholarship on Pakistan-Afghan relations generally suggests that the army became interested in this concept in the late 1970s, the Pakistan army inherited this compulsion from the British. The entire British army was configured to defend the empire from threats that were presumed to come into the subcontinent through Afghanistan. While Pakistan inherited the entire threat frontier, Pakistan had a meager fraction of the raj’s resources. The army’s pursuit of strategic depth not only has had implications for the ways the army manages Afghanistan but also has profoundly shaped the state’s policies toward and relations with ethnic Pashtuns in the tribal areas and in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and towards Baloch Pakistanis who live in Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan (as well as Iran).

Keywords:   strategic depth, Pakistan–Afghan relations, Balochistan, tribal areas

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