On Swampland, TIME contributor Mark Benjamin blogs about the breakdown between Washington and Islamabad over the planned trial of Raymond Davis, a U.S. CIA agent responsible for the deaths of three Pakistanis in the city of Lahore. U.S. officials are frantically trying to broker a deal that will avoid a public trial in Pakistan. Benjamin writes:
Whether or not the deal to release Davis comes together, close observers of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan say the Davis incident has severely – and perhaps irrevocably – wounded rapport between the two countries.
“The damage is done no matter what the outcome is,” Moeed Yusuf, the South Asia Adviser at the United States Institute of Peace, told TIME from Djibouti. “I think this is much more serious than what people are making it out to be,” he added. “This will not rupture the relationship, but relations are going to be much more tense because there is no trust.”
The rift is particularly acute between the CIA and the agency’s Pakistani counterpart, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The cost to American interests are potentially very high because the CIA heavily relies on the ISI in the U.S. anti-terrorism mission in the region. Pakistan also has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal.