Pakistan, the world’s second-largest Muslim nation, borders Afghanistan, Iran, India, and China and is a key player in Middle East and Asian relations due to its geography and complex history. RAND research has explored the forces shaping the development of Pakistan’s economic and political systems, its nuclear imperative, the role of local Islamic fundamentalist groups in global terrorism, and the effect of U.S. military policy and foreign aid to Pakistan on regional counterterrorism efforts.

  • U.S. solider on patrol in Afghanistan


    Why the Haqqani Network Is the Wrong Target

    In focusing on the Haqqani network—which enjoys little popular support in Afghanistan—the United States is neglecting the more important (and difficult) task of dealing with the Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan's Baluchistan Province, writes Seth G. Jones.

    Nov 6, 2011

  • Dissertation

    Developing Stability: Community-Driven Development and Reconstruction in Conflict-Affected Settings

    Tests the hypothesis that development and reconstruction actors can feasibly implement sound development and reconstruction across a relatively wide spectrum of conflict, but varying levels and natures of violence can affect its delivery.

    Nov 4, 2011

  • Journal Article

    The Terrorist Threat from Pakistan

    Despite an air of Western triumphalism over bin Laden's killing, Pakistan remains a major hub of international terrorism, especially for groups plotting attacks against Western countries.

    Aug 1, 2011

  • Commentary

    Obama on Afghanistan: Strategic Drawdown or Rush for the Door?

    Most major plots and attacks, including 9/11 and 7/7, were directly linked to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Travel there has been essential to improving bomb-making skills, receiving strategic and tactical guidance, and undergoing religious indoctrination, writes Seth Jones.

    Jun 23, 2011

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    After bin Laden: The United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

    On June 16, 2011, the RAND Corporation presented "After bin Laden: The United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan" as part of its public outreach series in Santa Monica, California. The program featured senior political scientist Seth Jones, an expert on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and al Qa'ida who has worked abroad in conflict zones over the last several years.

    Jun 16, 2011

  • Commentary

    Should the U.S. Cut Off Aid to Pakistan?

    It makes little sense to abandon Pakistan and cut off all financial assistance...but America could reduce part of its security assistance, focusing instead on economic and humanitarian aid, writes Seth Jones.

    May 10, 2011

  • Commentary

    Arab Spring, not Osama bin Laden's Fall, Will Determine Middle East's Fate

    The unanswered question is just what will endure in the Arab world: comparatively peaceful demonstrations leading to regime change, or brutal tactics by authoritarian regimes to crush dissent and cling to power, writes John Parachini.

    May 9, 2011

  • Multimedia

    Brian Michael Jenkins Discusses the Death of bin Laden and Prognosis for al Qaeda

    Brian Michael Jenkins, senior adviser at the RAND Corporation, spoke with RAND media relations director Jeffrey Hiday about the death of Osama bin Laden and how it might affect al Qaeda, the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, and more.

    May 4, 2011

  • Testimony

    The Al Qa'ida Threat in Pakistan

    Even before the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the growing instability across the Arab world, some argued that the primary al Qa'ida threat now comes from the Persian Gulf or North Africa. While these regions certainly present a threat to Western security, al Qa'ida's primary command and control structure remains situated in Pakistan.

    May 3, 2011

  • Commentary

    The World after bin Laden

    What's needed is an international conference of all the regional players that have a greater stake in the outcome of the Afghan/Pakistan conflict than does the U.S., writes David Aaron.

    May 3, 2011

  • Commentary

    Beating Back the Taliban

    There is a growing recognition among senior Taliban leaders that they are losing momentum in parts of southern Afghanistan, their longtime stronghold, writes Seth Jones.

    Mar 14, 2011

  • Commentary

    Book Review: 'Fallout' by Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz

    Anyone concerned about nuclear proliferation or interested in the world of espionage will want to read Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz's provocative new book, "Fallout: The True Story of the CIA's Secret War on Nuclear Trafficking," which tells a fascinating story whose characters come straight out of a spy novel, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jan 9, 2011

  • Commentary

    Our Foes Cannot Destroy This Nation

    We have come through wars, depressions, natural and man-made disasters, indeed higher levels of domestic terrorist violence than that we face today, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 27, 2010

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: Vol. 34, No. 2, Summer 2010

    Features discuss retirement patterns of baby boomers, marijuana legalization, drug enforcement in Europe, and No Child Left Behind; news items cover the Gulf coast, food allergies, the U.S. health reform law, police benefits, and Pakistani militants.

    Aug 14, 2010

  • Commentary

    A Bottom-Up Peace in Afghanistan

    The Afghan government has embarked on a high-stakes gamble: Try to negotiate with the leaders of the various insurgent networks to end the nine-year-old Afghan war. The notion of the Kabul government cutting a deal with the Taliban is fiercely controversial, write Wali Shaaker and John Parachini.

    Jul 15, 2010

  • Report

    Counterinsurgency in Pakistan

    The rising number of terrorist plots in the United States with links to Pakistan—most recently the failed car-bombing in New York City—is partly a result of an unsuccessful strategy by Pakistan and the U.S. to weaken the range of militant groups operating in Pakistan.

    Jun 2, 2010

  • Report

    Building Security in the Persian Gulf

    The U.S. must determine how best to promote long-term security and stability in the Persian Gulf region while seeking to reduce the risks and costs imposed by its role as a permanent regional power—particularly vis-à-vis Iraq's future, the role of Iran, asymmetric threats, regional tensions, and the roles of other external actors.

    May 18, 2010

  • Commentary

    Al Qaeda Tipping Point? Still a Long Way to Go

    We are still too close to the events to discern the long-term trajectory of the campaign against al Qaeda. And almost nine years after 9/11, analysts are still remarkably divided in their assessments of al Qaeda's current situation, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Apr 26, 2010

  • Report

    Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State?

    The ability of the United States to forge a broad yet effective relationship with Pakistan depends on likely developments in its internal and external security environment over the coming decade as well as Pakistan's national will and capacity to solve its problems.

    Apr 5, 2010

  • Report

    Preparing and Training for the Full Spectrum of Military Challenges

    The U.S. military training system is the envy of many countries around the world, but the militaries of China, France, the UK, India, and Israel can help the U.S. identify different approaches to readiness, adaptability, and operational issues.

    Dec 14, 2009