While Washington remains obsessed with who is leading its military and political forces in Afghanistan, amid rumours that Ambassador Eikenberry and special envoy Richard Holbrooke may be next for the chop, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai appears to be cosying up to the Pakistani military.
al-Jazeera reports this morning that the president met with Sirajuddin Haqqani in face-to-face talks recently. "Haqqani, whose network is believed to be based across the border, is reported to have been accompanied to the meeting earlier in the week by Pakistan's army chief and the head of its intelligence services", the news organisation reports.
Such a meeting would not be inconceivable - although it has been denied by some sources. Karzai recently sacked his interior minister and intelligence chief in a move widely interpreted as being a concession made to the Taliban and Pakistan to encourage negotiations.
The Haqqani network is widely seen as being the main instrument of Pakistani policy in Afghanistan. Pakistan finances the network and allows its fighters - who include many foreigners - to move easily between Pakistan's tribal lands along the border and the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. So far, despite US pressure, the Pakistanis have refused to rein in Haqqani's fighters. Indeed, such a move would be almost impossible in Pakistan.
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