The road to success for President Obama's Afghanistan strategy runs through India, goes an increasingly familiar refrain. That's because reversing the Taliban's momentum requires getting rid of the movement's sanctuary in Pakistan, where the insurgent leadership is known to be based in and around the city of Quetta. But while Pakistan is aggressively tackling its domestic Taliban, it has consistently declined to act against Afghan Taliban groups based on its soil — because it sees the Afghan Taliban as a useful counterweight to what it believes is the dominant influence in today's Afghanistan of Pakistan's arch-enemy, India. Unless India can be persuaded to take steps to ease tensions with Pakistan, some suggest, Pakistan will not be willing to shut down the Afghan Taliban.
In northern Afghanistan, the modern town of Balkh is surrounded by extensive ruins of the ancient city. Genghis Kahn and the Mongols destroyed the city in the 1200s, but it was rebuilt by the 15th centry. (Photo courtesy the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan)