India and Pakistan, Best of Buddies

The New York Times’s long, deeply-reported front-page story on the continuing strength of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant group responsible for last year’s deadly Mumbai bombings, runs up against a recurring journalistic dilemma: How do you provide comprehensive information on a complex topic while maintaining a narrative that’s intelligible to a non-expert?

You can read the article here to decide how well reporters Lydia Polgreen and Souad Mekhennet pulled off the feat. But this passage in particular, about the lack of cooperation between India and Pakistan, seems made to stick in the mind:

“The only cooperation we have with the Pakistanis is that they send us their terrorists, who kill our people, and we kill their terrorists,” a senior Indian intelligence official said in an interview.

Asked how much his agency communicated with its Indian counterpart, a senior Pakistani intelligence official made an O with his thumb and forefinger.

“Zero,” he replied.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.