The apparent contradiction in Pakistani and American military strategies along the Afghan border is becoming difficult to ignore.
Last week in Islamabad the prime minister told parliament that unilateral US air strikes on militant targets inside Pakistan had become intolerable and the army chief of staff, on a visit to Brussels, urged Nato to stop them.
At the same time a series of US military officers claimed that co-operation between the two armies was improving and, in fact, had been taken to the "next level" of co-ordination and intelligence sharing.
So which statement is right? Probably both .
Yet a series of US air strikes against militant targets in another part of Pakistan's border region - the tribal areas of South and North Waziristan - continues unabated despite strong Pakistani protests that this is stoking rage among tribesmen and undermining public support for its own counter-insurgency efforts.
But there are reasons why the Pakistani military does not pursue the Afghan Taleban the way the US would like it to, says an informed observer speaking off the record.
"The ISI does have links with the Afghan Taleban because it wants to use them as a bargaining chip in Afghanistan," he says.
"The Pakistani army wants to have a bigger say in whatever new regional dispensation America is planning. And the view within the army and the ISI is that if the Afghan Taleban is abandoned, this will strengthen the Afghan government, as well as India in Afghanistan, at Pakistan's expense."
There is no question the (pakistani) army is worried about India's increasing influence in Afghanistan.
Delhi has made major investments, including a motorway that links Afghanistan's road system to the Iranian border and will eventually give access to Iranian ports on the Iranian Gulf, potentially marginalising Pakistan's new sea port of Gwadar.
"The more I talk to the establishment, the more I'm convinced that hatred and fear of India has increased," says a Pakistani analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
"It's a major driver. And now [the fear is] India together with America."
Given these festering disputes, the Pakistani army is expected to continue using the cards it has to push for what it sees as its interests in Afghanistan.
And one of these cards, it seems, is the Afghan Taleban - viewed by many in the military establishment as at least a non-hostile force in a country where there is no shortage of other enemies.
A good article, thanks Hbg.
I, although previously ignorant of the exploits of Mountstewart Elphinstone, counselled against attacking Afghanistan in the days before the ill-fated "Shock and Awe" campaign. For reasons of morality, legality, and common sense as well as historical reasons.
What a tragic episode in our history Bushco has engineered.
Re: spendius(Post 3491683)
I think that's precisely right- it's like telling someone who has crashed their car that they should have gone another way.
Many voices told Mr Bush, and Mr Blair, that they should have gone another way. Disaster was odds-on.
I saw Mr Obama earlier today introducing the same old faces as part of his "Change" policy.
And he wasn't very keen on noticing any questions which he had no answer to. It really was quite funny.
He is now going to disengage from Iraq in a "responsible" manner. And we all thought he was going to just disengage.
He is now going to disengage from Iraq in a "responsible" manner. And we all thought he was going to just disengage.
As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy - one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin. I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century."
As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 " two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.
Britain and her Nato allies in Afghanistan are stuck in a stalemate with the Taleban, David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, admitted yesterday.
His pessimistic view of military progress in Afghanistan coincided with a new poll of Afghans which reveals that confidence in the future is significantly lower than it was three years ago.
The poll of 1,500 people in Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, commissioned by the BBC and two other international broadcasters, found that only 40 per cent of Afghans still believed their country was heading in the right direction, compared with 77 per cent in 2005. Mr Miliband said the figures were realistic.
In other findings, 59 per cent supported the continuing presence of British forces in the country, and 63 per cent supported the role of the Americans.
Painting a grim picture of the security environment in Afghanistan, Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One that the Taleban had managed to create “a strategic stalemate in parts of the country through their use of improvised explosive devices”.
The Foreign Secretary was echoing the warnings of military commanders who have privately admitted that the campaign in Afghanistan was facing a stalemate. While political leaders have tried to be upbeat about progress in Afghanistan, Mr Miliband appeared to be projecting a greater degree of realism about the way the campaign is going.
Deadly attacks hit Afghan capital
An assault on three government buildings in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has left at least 27 people, including eight attackers, dead.
In one attack, two suicide bombers detonated explosives at an office responsible for prisons in the north of the capital.
Five gunmen attacked the justice ministry and another suicide bomber targeted the education ministry.
The Taleban have said they carried out the attacks.
A spokesman said they were in response to the treatment of Taleban prisoners in Afghan jails.
The interior ministry said overall 35 people were injured.
The attacks come in the week the new US envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, is expected to visit Kabul.
The international forces in Afghanistan condemned the attacks as "callous and indiscriminate".
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has criticised a US military operation which killed at least 16 people in eastern Afghanistan.
Mr Karzai said most of those killed were civilians, adding that such deadly incidents strengthened Taleban rebels and weakened Afghanistan's government.
Women and children were among those killed, Mr Karzai said.
The strike was the first controversy in Afghanistan involving US troops since US President Barack Obama took office.
In a statement, the president said two women and three children were among the dead in the attack, which the US said targeted a militant carrying a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).
Speaking at a ceremony for newly-graduated officers entering Afghanistan's armed forces, Mr Karzai said he hoped the country's own military would soon be able to shoulder more of the burden of fighting the Taleban.
"Our goal is to improve our army and have the ability to defend our country ourselves as soon as possible, and not have civilian casualties anymore as we again had yesterday," he said.
The Afghan president has been a frequent critic of the numbers of innocent Afghans killed by military operations by international forces in the country.
Just last week he again called on US-led and Nato troops in his country to do more to reduce civilian casualties.
Reacting to the first flare-up since Mr Obama's inauguration in the US, Mr Karzai said Afghanistan's defence ministry had sent Washington a plan to give Afghan forces more oversight over US military operations.
She spent most of her childhood in refugee camps and as a young woman she worked as a women's rights activist under the Taliban.
She ran underground classes and clinics that would have resulted in her torture and execution had she been caught.
In 2003 the secular Muslim made a fearless and emotional public appearance at a constitutional assembly in Kabul.
"War lords are responsible for our country's situation," she said in the speech.
"Afghanistan is the centre for national and international conflicts. They oppress women and have ruined our country. They should be prosecuted.
"They might be forgiven by the Afghan people, but not by history."
Her remarks were met by uproar from the 300 delegates, most of them former mujaheddin commanders and ex-Taliban officials.
In 2007 she was suspended from parliament for comparing it to a "stable or zoo" and later called the other members of parliament "criminals" and "drug smugglers".
"When I got into parliament, the war lords didn't allow me to talk. They turned off my microphone," she said.
"They beat me by throwing bottles of water at me and threatened to rape me inside the parliament. But they couldn't make me silent."
Since then, Ms Joya has survived several assassination attempts and spent the last five years in hiding, never spending 24 hours in the same house.
But this hasn't silenced her. She has written a book, titled Raising My Voice, about her life and experiences as a female politician who dares to speak out.
"I have had five assassination attempts that you can read about in the book I have written on behalf of the 'war generation' and on behalf of innocent people," she said.
"The reason I accepted to write a book was first, to expose the mask of these war lords to the great people around the world and also to tell the truth, as mainstream media is always trying to put dust in the eyes of the people around the world by telling lies......
Intervention the 'wrong policy'
Ms Joya says she is disappointed in the United States' involvement in Afghanistan. She says her country needs to find its own way to democracy without military intervention.
"Everyone is always talking about what would happen if these troops leave us - a civil war will happen in Afghanistan - but nobody is talking about the civil war of today," she said.
"Unfortunately Australia has followed the wrong policy of the US, which is a mockery of democracy and mockery of the war on terror, and it is quite a war crime that they are doing there.
"We are between two powerful enemies. From the ground, the Taliban and the northern allies are continuing to commit crimes and fascism against women and men in our country.
"From the sky these occupational forces are bombing and killing the civilians."
She says she wants people to stand up to their governments against the "wrong policy" of military intervention in Afghanistan.
"These countries are wasting their money and blood in Afghanistan and I, on behalf on my people, pay my condolences to those people who lost their sons, their loves, their husbands in Afghanistan and have been killed," she said.
"They should raise their voices against the wrong policy of their governments."
Ms Joya does not believe the upcoming election, scheduled to be held in August, will make any difference to the unrest and says it will just be "one puppet replaced with another puppet".
"The next president will be certainly selected behind closed doors at the White House. Our people will have no hope in the selection," she said.
She says the system is corrupt and there is no justice.
"On behalf of my people I am risking my life so that one day, together with my people, we will bring these criminals to the national and international criminal court, which is a prolonged and risky saga," she said.
afghan presiden karzai shows anger against U.S. air strikes killing civilians .