USA har spurt om lov til å bombe Taliban-ledere i Quetta, noe Pakistan neppe går med på. De har allerede flyttet mullah Omar & Co til Karachi hvor de er vanskeligere å nå. Senatet stemte torsdag for å gi Pakistan 1,5 milliard dollar årlig i ikke-militær bistand. Samme dag deltok Obama på en Friends of Pakistan-tilstelning.
USA vet ikke hvordan de skal løse Afpak-gåten: det skal være uenighet innen administrasjonen: noen vil sende flere soldater, andre med Joseph Biden i spissen, mener svaret ligger i Pakistan, ikke Afghanistan.
Men om man skulle satse på Pakistan er man avhengig av samarbeid.
En PEW-måling forrige måned viste at to av tre pakistanere betrakter USA som en fiende.
Al-Qaeda is also trying to capitalise on the uncertainty. Osama Bin Laden issued a call to European nations to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and threatened reprisals with an allusion to the bombings in Madrid and London. The recording, released on Friday, seemed to be directed at Germany in the run-up to parliamentary elections today.
The Afghan election has strengthened the position of those in Washington who advocate eliminating Taliban leaders in Pakistan.
Senior Pakistani officials in New York revealed that the US had asked to extend the drone attacks into Quetta and the province of Baluchistan.
«It wasn’t so much a threat as an understanding that if you don’t do anything, we’ll take matters into our own hands,» said one.
The problem is that while the government of President Asif Zardari is committed to wiping out terrorism, Pakistan’s powerful military does not entirely share this view.
Suspicions remain among US officials that parts of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the ISI, are supporting the Taliban and protecting Mullah Omar and other leaders in Quetta.
It was to shore up Zardari’s domestic standing that Obama attended a Friends of Pakistan summit in New York on Thursday. On the same day, the US Senate tripled non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year.
The Obama administration hopes such moves will reduce anti-American feeling in Pakistan. A survey last month by the Pew Research Centre found that almost two-thirds regarded the US as an enemy.
Drone attacks on Quetta would intensify this sentiment, causing some British officials to argue that such missions would be «unthinkable».
The Pakistani government is reluctant to take its own action, however. «We need real-time intelligence,» said Rehman Malik, the interior minister. «The Americans have never told us any location.»
Western intelligence officers say Pakistan has been moving Taliban leaders to the volatile city of Karachi, where it would be impossible to strike. US officials have even discussed sending commandos to Quetta to capture or kill the Taliban chiefs before they are moved.
Ingen har noen klare svar. Afpak er en gordisk knute.