Elizabeth Rubin, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine who has ben reporting from Pakistan and Afghanistan for the past decade, has a must-read essay on the US-Pakistan relationship, dated 6 May, in the Blog section of the New York Review of Books (see here).
Osama bin Laden’s death in a mansion in exclusive club house territory of retired Pakistani officers has exposed the terrible paradox at the heart of our war in Afghanistan—Pakistan’s hypocrisy and our acquiescence.
We give billions in aid to Pakistan’s military and civilian government. Yet Pakistan is harboring our enemies and even the enemies, one could argue, of its own healthy survival. Portions of our money are being funneled into the variety of insurgent networks whose fighters are killing American soldiers, Afghan soldiers, American civilians, Afghan civilians, European civilians, Pakistani civilians—mothers, fathers, children on multiple continents.
She gives first hand evidence of Taliban who would like to make a deal with the Afghan Government to get back to a life without fighting, and describes the interests that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) and the Pakistan Army have in perpetuation of the conflict.
Towards the end of the piece:
Or as an advisor to Ambassador Holbrooke told me not long before Holbrooke died: “We see Pakistan as a flawed ally and the Afghan Taliban as our enemy. The truth is the reverse.” It is the Taliban, the advisor suggested, who can be worked with; they who distrust—and in many cases despise—the ISI overlords they depend on for safe havens and support. All along they’ve let it be known through different channels that they want to talk directly to the Americans. The question is how?
Read Rubin’s report in full here.