On a map, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan seems complicated enough -- a tortured squiggle running back and forth. Fly over that squiggle in a helicopter and you get a sense of just how impossible the border is to patrol. There are twisting river beds, mountain trails, stunning cliffs -- nothing like any border I've ever seen.
Small wonder why it's been a haven for the Taliban and possibly even Osama bin Laden since the United States drove them from their Afghan strongholds.
We spent hours today flying over North Waziristan with members of the Pakistani military. They were eager to show us how they're sealing off the border between North Waziristan and Afghanistan.
At one point, I was just a couple of miles from Camp Tillman, an American forward operating base in Afghanistan that I'd visited just a few months ago. The base named after Pat Tillman, the former NFL player killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. At the time of my visit, a couple of the soldiers told me about being out on patrol and taking fire from insurgents, who then disappeared across this same border back into Pakistan.
Now, a very gracious Pakistani general was telling us that he's got it all under control. Yes, some individuals might make it across the border -- one or two -- but certainly no vehicles. And he was telling us something else -- that the deal the Pakistani government has just cut here in North Waziristan that allows the Taliban and other local groups to police themselves as long as they don't try to spread trouble across the border in Afghanistan would actually make the border safer.
Others have a different take on the deal, calling it akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
The general is a sincere and gracious man and was clearly proud of what Pakistani army is accomplishing along the border. But we're going to be on Afghan side of this border once again in just a couple of days. What do you think we are going to hear from the U.S. soldiers this time?