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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Pakistan Shell Game Posted by Joe Klein

Word that Pakistan has arrested--no, detained--Masood Azhar, the leader of the terrorist group that pulled off the Mumbai assault is being greeted by great skepticism in both the U.S. and India, and with good reason. For one thing, Azhar had been similarly arrested in 2001, after his Lashkar-a-Taiba terrorists invaded the Indian parliament, but released 11 months later. But more important, it is finally dawning on some in Washington--if not exactly those packing their bags and shredding their files in the Bush White House--that Pakistan has played us for fools ever since September 11, 2001.

I'll have a lot more to say about this in the print edition this week, specifically with regard to the war in Afghanistan, but the combination of the Mumbai attacks and the incoming Obama Administration should represent the beginning of a new era with regard to US-Pakistani relations. There are those who counsel continued caution: the democratic government of Asif Ali Zardari is fragile. It has been making the right noises. It is beginning to fight the jihadi threat in its Northwest province and tribal areas. Zardari intends to lower the temperative with India and has begun to cooperate with Afghanistan. ...


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