Pakistan, Taliban: Thick as Thieves

| Mon Jun. 14, 2010 1:23 AM EDT

It's amazing that newsworthy information can hang around in the public sphere, sometimes for years, before the media stumble on it and act like they just discovered electricity. This weekend, reporters went nuts over Harvard researcher Matt Waldman's report (PDF) that the Taliban is being supported by Pakistani intelligence. "The relationship, in fact, goes far beyond contact and coexistence, with some assistance provided by elements within, or linked to, Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) or military," Waldman writes.

Sounds sexy. But why is this exciting editors and reporters now, though? It's not a new story—it's been pretty well reported since before 9/11. The only novel revelation in Waldman's study—if true—is that Pakistan's president met personally with Taliban prisoners to express his support and that the nation's military intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), actually has a seat on the Taliban's governing council in the border city of Quetta. But it is a report that raises a lot of questions for the US about its continued involvement in the war for Afghanistan.

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