Senior International Correspondent
It's been over a year since I've been in Pakistan.
For the longest time I couldn't get a visa, my reporting on former President Musharraf's failed policies to take on the Taliban had apparently won me powerful enemies Pakistani insiders told me. But that's all changed now.
The former military dictator is out of power and the new government says it wants to open it's doors to all reporters. Political leadership isn't the only thing that's changed. When I was last here Spring 2007 the Taliban were a growing problem in the border region, now they are much stronger and the government is waging an increasingly violent war against them.
When I pick up the daily news papers here the headlines are dominated by reports of pro government tribes taking on the Taliban, government jets bombing Taliban hide outs. It was never this way before.
But lest I convey the wrong image here that the government is winning handily senior officials tell me they are deeply concerned about progress in this fight. There is a feeling despite their efforts they are only treading water, not beating the Taliban. The big challenge they tell me is getting popular support for a war Musharraf only ever characterized as an extension of the US war on terror.
To win officials tell me they need to sell the message to Pakistanis, particularly those in the Afghan border region that this fight is their fight. That Pakistan is not blindly fighting the war on terror for the United States but is tackling a very real threat to it's own stability and future.
Two ministers and a High Commissioner all told me nothing undermines those efforts more than US air strikes in Pakistan. So when we started getting reports US troops had come by helicopter and conducted a ground attack inside Pakistan it was clear reaction there would be an angry official reaction.
When the Foreign Minister issued a statement "strongly condemning the assault" calling it "unacceptable" a "gross violation of Pakistan's territory" and a "grave provocation" I was some what surprised when a retired Pakistani army General here told me the anger expressed could have been far greater.
He told me it was the first time he'd heard reports of US ground troops in such an attack in Pakistan. It forced him he said to consider something most Pakistanis might find hard to swallow, perhaps the new government, eager to bolster their grip on power and secure US support had signaled an increased willingness for US troops to conduct cross border operations. If it were true he said it's so sensitive it would never be announced. The government would always have plausible deniability.
I'm certainly not getting any hints of such a deal from officials, although they all convey with a very real passion an extreme dislike for the Taliban.
What's clear now that I'm back in Pakistan; the dynamic is far more fluid than before I left, after all, only today the Prime Minister's armored limo was shot up on a busy highway.
The stakes could not be higher, the government is still fragile, the Taliban getting stronger, I'm in no doubt any perceived mistakes by the new leaders will be exploited by their enemies, military and political. And that could directly impact the United States if what little gains have been achieved against the Taliban leech away as support for the government falls.
Everyone here is telling me now is the time for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States to accept this is a regional war, trust each other, work together, to defeat a common enemy.
What's worrying me, we've heard all this before. And I see little indication the compromises necessary to achieve cooperation between the three countries have even entered public dialogue, never mind won support from Pakistan's people.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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