Even for the already troubled Pakistani "partnership" with the U.S., the past two weeks have seen a rapid and alarming disintegration in Pakistan's support of the U.S. and NATO presence in South Asia. Pakistan refuses to reopen a crucial border crossing into Afghanistan, one of the most important U.S./NATO supply routes. NATO convoys in Pakistan have suddenly come under heavy attack, with insurgents destroying dozens of supply trucks and oil tankers bound for troops in Afghanistan. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Pakistan's powerful spy services, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is pushing Taliban leaders to keep fighting the U.S., resist any move towards peace, and, in the words of one Taliban commander, "kill everyone--policemen, soldiers, engineers, teachers, civilians--just to intimidate people." Pakistan has never been a real ally, but it's never been a real enemy either--until now.
On Wednesday, one week into Pakistan's blockade of the supply route into Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported that senior representatives from the Afghan government and Taliban are engaged in high-level peace talks to end the war. The direct negotiations, which have been a top U.S. goal since President Barack Obama took office, have the support of the White House. This morning, the Guardian reported that the Afghan and U.S. governments had made contact with the Haqqani network, a brutal and extremist militant group, to negotiate terms of peace. The Haqqani network is by far the most violent and least reconcilable of the major insurgent factions; if the U.S. is reaching out to Haqqani, and willing to make it public, then it is very serious about striking a deal for peace.