As U.S. troops fight Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, certain parts of neighboring Pakistan provide safe havens for the Taliban. U.S. officials have been trying to get the Pakistani military to react to those havens and shut them down, but so far the going has been tough.
The Obama administration's recent review of the Afghan war focuses on those havens and makes getting rid of them a major priority. However, without the full cooperation of the Pakistani government, the U.S. must rely on controversial predator drone strikes to eliminate insurgent camps. Predator drones are unmanned aircraft that are controlled from a remote location; they conduct airstrikes that many argue have killed innocent civilians.
While some U.S. officials believe Pakistan will cooperate with the U.S.'s mission to eradicate safe havens, others believe the Pakistani government is "double dealing" - claiming to cooperate with both the Taliban and the U.S.
The tension between the countries was recently highlighted by the departure of the CIA station chief in Pakistan's capital. He was named in a lawsuit concerning the predator drones and was therefore unable to continue his undercover job.
"Everybody knows that failure to deal with the safe havens does present a real challenge, but I would argue that we are in the process of dealing with those safe havens, the Pakistanis on their side of the border, and Afghanistan, Pakistan and us working together." - U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
"Make no mistake about it. The evidence is unequivocal that the government of Pakistan and the military leadership of Pakistan aids and abets those sanctuaries. We have clear evidence to that -- that fact. That's the reality. It's not a question of unable or unwilling." - Gen. Jack Keane (RET.) U.S. Army
1. Where is Afghanistan? Where is Pakistan? How are the two countries tied to one another?
2. What is a "haven"?
3. What is the Taliban? Why is the U.S. fighting them?
1. Why do you think there are such differing views in the U.S. military about Pakistan? Do you think these differing views will help or hurt the U.S.'s effort to get rid of safe havens in Pakistan?
2. What do you think about predator drone attacks? Are they necessary or inhumane? Why?
3. What advantages could Pakistan gain from helping both the U.S. and the Taliban? Why might that be a dangerous business?