“All aid funding for Pakistan continues to face one problem — it can’t circumvent the politics around education. For politicians, education is about patronage in two ways. One is teaching positions and the second is school construction, which is about awarding work to their favourite contractors.”

The desire that many Pakistanis have for a more open and liberal society, and the local leaders and businesses that are making it possible, are our best bet for stability and security in the region. Social change, economic growth, political maturity — these are things that crowd out groups like the Taliban and make their rhetoric fall flat. But these things have no formulas and Americans have the least ability to understand or control them — no matter how many policies are pronounced in Washington or billions of dollars poured into Islamabad.