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Kiyani Keeps Pakistan Ship Righted

Not even under Musharraf has the United States and NATO enjoyed this level of operational support against the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. One indicator is his assurance that the NATO-Afghan supply lines will stay open. He may not be able to deliver such perfectly, given the length of the route and the pervasive nature and persistence of the enemy, but his words carry more weight than Musharraf's did as Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff.

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has assured NATO commanders meeting in Brussels that he will keep supply lines to their troops in Afghanistan open after a surge in attacks along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

A top NATO officer, Italian Navy Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, told reporters afterward that Kayani also urged the alliance to work with local tribal leaders, rather than just trying to seal off the border through force, which he said cannot be done.

General Kayani's presence at the meeting indicates how interlinked security developments in Pakistan have become with those in neighboring Afghanistan, where NATO has about 70,000 troops.

Pakistani and NATO officials say they are pooling their efforts to fight militants on both sides of the border. They say the ongoing "Operation Lionheart" involves U.S.- led coalition forces in Afghanistan giving assistance to Pakistani troops fighting militants in Pakistan's tribal district of Bajaur.

US predator drone missile strikes are reaching farther into Pakistan. This is most likely a reaction to an enemy which has been attempting to shift from under the watchful and lethal eyes of the American predators.

And with Kiyani's trust and confidence, notice that the strikes are almost always netting multiple bad guys and not evacuated huts and buildings. That oft-overlooked change from the past is as significant an indicator of US-Pakistani military cooperation as any other out there.

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