IN OTHER WORDS : Forgotten war

Afghanistan is out of the headlines, but its war against the Taliban goes on. These days, it is not going well. One of the most important reasons for that is the ambivalence of Pakistan, the nation that originally helped create, nurture and train the Taliban. Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf has provided logistical help to Pentagon operations and cooperation

to US law enforcement agencies trying to track down Al Qaeda leaders. But his aid has been frustratingly selective. Pakistan’s passive enabling of the Taliban, however, is too important and dangerous for Washington to overlook. It also endangers next month’s parliamentary elections. Successful elections are crucial to extending the geographical reach of Afghanistan’s

new national institutions. Things were pretty optimistic there until recently. But once the snows began to melt this March, Taliban fighters started showing up in greater numbers. Afghan military and intelligence officers are convinced that they are coming from Pakistani training camps. When questioned about why he has violated his promises to restore democracy, Musharraf argues that he must retain power because Pakistan needs his strong and effective hand. Washington needs to ask him why that strong hand seems so helpless against the Taliban. — The New York Times