The killing of Osama bin Laden in a comfortable neighborhood not far from Pakistan's capital has again illustrated the fundamentally ambiguous nature of the security relationship between Washington and Islamabad.
In the past, Pakistani authorities have played a key role in capturing or killing al-Qaida leaders, mainly because many of the most prominent international terrorists are located on their territory. This has led to suspicions that some terrorists enjoy the support of influential Pakistanis. Bin Laden appears to have had similar protection, an impression reinforced by the fact that his enormous compound was a stone's throw from Pakistani military facilities and within an hour's drive of Islamabad.
But while Pakistani authorities almost certainly engage in double dealing, the relationship does offer Washington concrete benefits. One such area involves the hundreds of U.S drone strikes that take place in Pakistani territory annually. Officially, Islamabad either condemns or denies these strikes, but privately the Pakistanis are complicit in them.