Michael Crowley in The New Republic:
On August 26, 2008, Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, touched down for a secret meeting on an aircraft carrier stationed in the Indian Ocean. The topic: Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The summit had been arranged the previous month. Mullen had grown anxious about the rising danger from Pakistan’s tribal areas, which Islamic militants were using as a base from which to strike American troops in Afghanistan and to plot terrorist attacks against the United States. He flew to Islamabad to see the country’s army chief of staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Kayani is Pakistan’s most important general, commanding its 550,000-man army. By some accounts, he is also the ultimate source of power in a militarized society that reveres its generals more than its politicians. Mullen had been blunt with Kayani: The United States needed Pakistan’s army to take on the militants flourishing along the border, he said. The days of Pakistan looking the other way–cutting deals and playing double games with the radicals–had to end.
It was hardly a painless request; the Pakistani military is organized for warfare against its arch-nemesis India, and many of its mid-level officers are sympathetic to the Taliban and, at best, wary of the United States.