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On Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, US and Pakistan really are on the same team

US and Pakistani interests do diverge in some areas, but combating Al Qeada isn't one of them. In fact, the speculation around Pakistan's complicity following the killing of Osama bin Laden is misplaced and harmful to our future cooperation with Pakistan, making us less safe.

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The recent killing of Osama bin Laden has engendered speculation about the possible complicity of the Pakistani state in harboring Mr. bin Laden. But that speculation is misplaced and harmful to our future counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan, making us less safe.

We must be very clear on where our strategic differences with Pakistan lie – and combating Al Qaeda is not one of them.

Where Pakistan and US interests diverge

Of course, Pakistan’s strategic interests in certain areas do diverge from our own.

Pakistan has an interest in negotiating a complex series of temporary peace deals with the militant Haqqani network, which attacks American forces in Afghanistan, to ensure that it is not forced to operate on several fronts within Pakistan as it pursues the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistan may also seek to leverage the Haqqani network to ensure greater Pakistan-friendly Pashtun participation in any eventual Afghan national government that looks to incorporate and negotiate with former Taliban affiliates, while simultaneously providing Pakistan with a hedge against growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.


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