Senior Pakistani officials are urging Nato countries to accept the Taliban and work towards a new coalition government in Kabul that might exclude the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.I don't know why they were so stunned. It isn't as if it was unforseen. Jane's Intelligence Digest, a must-read for every Western intelligence agency, recently ran an entire report on the Pakistani game-plan to re-install it's Taliban proxies in Afghanistan.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, has said in private briefings to foreign ministers of some Nato member states that the Taliban are winning the war in Afghanistan and Nato is bound to fail. He has advised against sending more troops.
Western ministers have been stunned. "Kasuri is basically asking Nato to surrender and to negotiate with the Taliban," said one Western official who met the minister recently.
No, what's more stunning is that U.S. arms companies continue to sell Pakistan advanced weaponry - F-16 fighters, hellfire and harpoon missiles and the like - and even help Pakistan sell its own weaponry to other nations. All this arms pushing is often being done on the American taxpayer's dollar, in the form of military aide packages.
This whole story that hasn't made much of a ripple on this side of the Atlantic so far. Some bloggers noticed, but none of the major media outlets. The Bush administration are still pushing through arms deals and saying Pakistan is an essential friend in the "war on terror". The Democratic leadership hasn't taken up the issue. Certainly, there is no mainstream debate over whether Pakistan should continue to be called a U.S. ally.
There's are reasons for the inertia, the reluctance to discuss the problem that is Pakistan, but none are very palatable or very wholesome. It's about political style over substance, about admitting mistakes and yes, about arms cash.
However, the debate has to be held sometime. Pakistan is, in fact, what the neocons warned Iraq under Saddam was or are now telling us Iran is. What should be done about that?