Washington, July 29 (ANI): The massive disclosure of war-related documents this week by Wikileaks may have raised a number of questions, even as the Obama administration plays down its impact, but the fact remains that the Taliban continues to operate effectively from bases inside Pakistan, and therefore, Islamabad's will continue to be depended upon to deliver on the war on terror.
The Washington Post has quoted US National Security Adviser James Jones as praising the Pakistani military for stepping up its operations in the border region over the past 18 months, but stressing: "There's much more to do and not a lot of time to do it."
Jones drew on his own travels to the region over the past decade to explain why Pakistan is a "hinge" in the war effort.
He noted that from 2003 to 2005, the organized enemy presence in Afghanistan was relatively low, with perhaps 100 al-Qaeda and 3,000 Taliban fighters there.
A "pivotal time" came in 2006, Jones argued, when the Pakistani military decided to "cut a deal" with tribal leaders that allowed the Taliban insurgents to cross freely from Afghanistan if they didn't attack Pakistani forces.
Jones, who was serving as NATO commander at the time, said he was "incredulous" at the truce and warned the Pakistanis it would never work.
Opening this "highway from Afghanistan to Pakistan" allowed the Taliban a "momentum change" from 2007 to 2009, and it began to gain the upper hand, Jones recalled.
It's this continuing momentum that the Obama administration has tried to check with its troop surge.
White House officials talk these days about seeking an "acceptable end state" in Afghanistan, rather than victory.
This means a patchwork process that brings greater security through a stronger Afghan national army and police, plus the tribally based "local police." The crucial driver will be a political process of reconciliation, brokered partly by Pakistan.
Administration officials agree on the need for diplomatic engagement with the enemy, but they see no sign that the Taliban is willing to play-with one possible exception. Jones noted that elements of the Taliban might be willing to meet one U.S. condition for talks, which is to disavow al-Qaeda. "The Taliban generally as a group has never signed on to the global jihad business and doesn't seem to have ambitions beyond its region," he said. (ANI)