ESCOBAR: How come nobody saw it coming, the resurgence of the Taliban and the neo-Taliban's base in the Pakistani tribal areas?Ok, this part is not too shocking. Other parts might be interesting.
BARNET: I don't know that it's accurate to say that nobody saw it coming.
ESCOBAR: They're running rings around NATO this spring and summer.
BARNET: Of course NATO did not see it coming. The US government did not see it coming.
ESCOBAR: Exactly. [inaudible] I'm referring to.
BARNET: That's true. And I think that is because they essentially didn't understand the regional situation, and they seemed—. I'll just talk about the United States, you know, the Bush administration. They were just focused on al-Qaeda and the terrorist threat. They had a very superficial analysis of Pakistan—not everybody in the government, of course. There are many professional people in the government who understand the situation. But as far as the top leadership was concerned, they had a relationship with President Musharraf, and President Musharraf was willing to use his security forces to arrest Arabs from al-Qaeda who came into Pakistan from time to time. And they really put all of their analytical resources into dealing with Iraq, and put Afghanistan kind of on autopilot, and didn't recognize, first of all, that just having an election in Afghanistan was far from sufficient to stabilize the country, you know, just defeating the previous government and having an election. There were all kinds of governance issues, which prevented the government from really controlling the territory. And second, that Pakistan still really did not consider the Taliban to be an enemy the way that the United States did. In fact, the Pakistan military considered the Taliban to be a resource for the security of Pakistan.