We Need ‘Friends not Masters.’ Critically Evaluate Pakistan’s likely Relations with the USA After its Withdrawal from Afghanistan


CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers | We Need ‘Friends not Masters.’ Critically Evaluate Pakistan’s likely Relations with the USA After its Withdrawal from Afghanistan

The following question of PMS Pakistan Affairs 2022 is solved by Ali Imran under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown:

The following question demands to throw light on the likely relations between the US and Pakistan after the hasty withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. Pakistan has a clear stance that it does not want a master-slave relationship but a friendly bilateral one. The following question unfolds likely relations with respect to what the US and Pakistan wants and how it will shape the relationship, considering the ongoing developments in Afghanistan.


1- Introduction

2- From Friends to Foes and Master – Revisiting the turbulent historical relationship

  • ✓A History of Pakistan supporting the US while invading Afghanistan in 2001 and not Soviet

3- Post-Afghanistan, US-Pakistan relations stand on the edge of a precipice

  • ✓A Relation is at crossroads

4- Mood of Washington: Blaming Pakistan for the failure of the US war in Afghanistan

  • ✓ The US wants Pakistan to do more and wants bases and intelligence from Pakistan to counter the Taliban in Afghanistan

5- What Pakistan Wants? – A Friendly Bilateral Relationship

  • ✓ Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan and US not to act like a master

6- Stark Choices – Future Course of Action

7- Conclusion

Answer to the Question


The hasty withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan has left many questions unanswered and the state of relations between the US and Pakistan in an uneasy limbo. Pakistan has clearly said multiple times to have stable relations with Afghanistan and not to be blamed for the failures of the US war in Afghanistan. At the same time, the US demands that Pakistan should do more to convince the Taliban towards a peace agreement. However, the aftermath of the US withdrawal portrays a gloomy picture of affairs, and the ongoing developments in Afghanistan are likely to shape the future relationship between Pakistan and the US as well.

From Friends to Foes and Master – Revisiting the turbulent historical relationship

The US-Pakistan relations date back to when the US invaded Afghanistan back in 2001 and wanted Pakistan to help it in the war. In return, Pakistan was promised military and financial aid. Islamabad, under the leadership of General Pervez Musharraf via a Coup in 1999, chose to support the US in the war against Al-Qaeda.  He chose to help the US armed forces target al-Qaeda operatives fleeing Afghanistan, including by using Pakistani roads and airspace. However, he also granted refuge to senior Taliban leaders and provided material and advisory support to the group as it regained a foothold in Afghanistan beginning in the mid-2000s. 

This is exactly the same as what the US is demanding from Pakistan again. However, considering its geopolitical and geoeconomic interests as well as changing global power politics and new friends (China), Pakistan is sceptical about repeating history, thus not wanting a master-slave relationship.

Post-Afghanistan, US-Pakistan relations stand on the edge of a precipice

With the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan, Pakistan may have come closer to achieving its long-sought strategic depth with respect to its Western neighbour, with a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. But the Taliban’s victory is also seriously testing Pakistan’s long-term bilateral relationship with the US. However, the relations are now at crossroads, and the following is likely to be seen drawing between the two sides.

The mood of Washington: Blaming Pakistan for the failure of the US war in Afghanistan

Soon after the hasty withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, the policymakers in Washington shifted towards finding out the mistakes that caused the failure. In congressional hearings, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that ‘we need to fully examine the role of Pakistan sanctuary’ in understanding how the Taliban prevailed. In September, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, ‘This is one thing that we are going to be looking at in these days and weeks ahead-the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years.’ He further added that the US government would be looking at ‘the role we would want to see Pakistan play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that.’

What the US wants? – A Master-Slave Relationship

The US is clear in its stance and keeps on blaming Pakistan for the failure of the US war in Afghanistan. It says that it is Pakistan which gave rise to the Taliban, and their ongoing relations are creating problems for the international community. Also, it wants Pakistan to negotiate with the Taliban to spread peace and liberal policies in the country to make it a better living place. The U.S. evaluates Pakistan not for its alliance but for its geographical location. Pakistan is the shortest route that connects the rest of the world to Central Asia. The second thing that the US wants from Pakistan is to lessen the likelihood of terrorism with the help of maximum cooperation in the post-withdrawal scenario. But it believes that it is Pakistan’s support for the Taliban and the Haqqani group that led the US to lose the war in Afghanistan. The Osama Bin Laden episode in 2011 was a serious blow to the stable relations between the US and Pakistan. Yet as matters stand, America still needs Pakistan’s help in the region, especially as it withdraws from Afghanistan. And Pakistan largely delivered on the Trump administration’s main request to bring the Taliban to the table for talks with the United States.

However, for Pakistan, the US demands ‘to do more’ are never-ending.

“Pakistan leaders have to protect their national interests. We can’t make them behave the way we want them to behave.”

(David Hale, Former US ambassador to Pakistan)

What does Pakistan want? – A Friendly Bilateral Relationship

Pakistan’s preferred stance is to make Afghanistan peaceful. It has always wanted a power-sharing arrangement within as well as outside Afghanistan. There are three reasons for that: Firstly, Pakistan says that Afghanistan is not in a state to deal with a civil war. Secondly, the civil war in Afghanistan will prove disastrous for Pakistan as well in terms of security conditions. Third, it would increase the amount of refugee flow from Afghanistan to Pakistan, thus multiplying the chances of terrorism.

Pakistan has already condemned the human rights violation incidents at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan. What it does not discuss openly is this central tension that Pakistan has long treated Afghan Taliban as friends. This is because of their Pashtun nationality and the threat that they might mobilize Pashtuns to the other side of Pakistan. But the US is not seemed to be bothered about this fact. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban’s friend and ideological twin, the TTP, has posed an existential threat to Pakistan and killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis. Therefore, going straight with the Taliban and that too with an iron hand might create problems for Pakistan, both in terms of security and economy. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan doesn’t speak for the Taliban, nor is it responsible for it. Pakistan argues that a “rushed” U.S. withdrawal before peace talks has set the stage for the current situation.

Stark Choices – Future Course of Action

For now, it seems that Pakistan will find it difficult to separate it from what happens in Afghanistan. It does not matter how much Pakistan has tried to overcome the Taliban thing. What matters, and the world thinks, is that the Taliban are the by-product of Pakistan, for which it is solely responsible and must act now. This means that there will be little to no appetite in Washington to engage with Pakistan on other matters going ahead if Afghanistan is embroiled in violence or in Taliban hands. The US, on the other hand, is adamant in blaming Pakistan and wants something extraordinary to do.

“Many Pakistani officials are tilted towards the West, and hence we have leverage. It is important to remember that it is on us just as much as it is on Pakistan to work out a relationship.”

(Nadia Naviwala)


Pakistan is not likely to be repeating the history where it stood against the Soviets and the US just because of the financial gains. Pakistan is not comparatively more stable and enjoys strong relations with the world’s emerging biggest economic power China which is likely to continue as a protective shield. However, the US needs to understand that Pakistan is no more a slave now, and it will not act as a puppet in the hands of the US. The master-slave relation is no more applicable in the current scenario. Pakistan should gauge the matter carefully and take effective steps keeping in mind the current geopolitical and geoeconomic needs. History repeats itself, but a mistake repeated is not a mistake but a blunder.

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PMS 2022 Solved Pakistan Affairs

1-Compare and contrast the role of ECO and SAARC for the regional connectivity and stability.
2-We need “Friends not Masters”. Critically evaluate Pakistan’s likely relations with United States of America after its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
3-The Ulema of Nadwah attempted to make a synthesis of modernism of Aligarh and conservatism of Deoband in their syllabus. Discuss.
4-The location of Pakistan has given the strategic strength to the State. What are its physical features and narrate its advantages and disadvantages?
5-Separation of East-Pakistan, though a tragic part of History of Pakistan, was not the negation of Two-Nation theory.” Discuss.
6-Discuss the obstacles in the way of good governance in Pakistan. In your view what steps can be taken to achieve the goal of good governance?
7-Write short notes on any TWO of the following:
a. Constitutional Amendment
b. Kashmir Dispute
c. Pakistan’s Role in the United Nations

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