In today’s complex and interconnected world, even the bitterest enemy states cannot live without maintaining some communication. Today’s foes can become tomorrow’s best friends only to perpetuate their respective interests. The same is true in the case of the relations between the United States (US) and Pakistan. The robust bilateral ties between the two states went sore only after the American frustration with its inability to win the ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan. While Washington blamed Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan, Islamabad rejected the US allegations that the US President Donald Trump made on his New Year tweet. So, what factors explain the US decision of resuming Pakistan’s participation in the International Military Education and Training Program (IMET?

The single most important factor that explains the resumption of Pakistan’s participation in the IMET is Islamabad’s decisive role in facilitating the peace talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban. While many may see it as an opportunity to increase bilateral cooperation, Pakistan should not see it a victory nor as a watershed moment that will eventually bring the two uneasy allies together on all fronts. The US is only using this program according to a State Department spokeswoman as an exception “to support vital US national security interests.”

Nevertheless, allowing Pakistan to participate in IMET tells us that Trump’s administration is appreciating Islamabad’s efforts in bringing peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan. Furthermore, the US has also realised that suspending Pakistan’s military assistance was “a very short-sighted and myopic” move as Dan Feldman, a former US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan once commented. But if the US succeeds in striking a deal with Afghan Taliban, only then one can say that the latest US move will lead the two sides to explore other areas of cooperation and work on securing common interests.