CIA'S Near Miss of Top Afghan Taliban Leader Sign of Improved Intelligence

But two other U.S. officials admitted they were forced to read tea leaves, not sure whether Pakistan had ignored past intelligence or even whether recently captured Taliban military chief Mullah Baradar had been arrested because he was shutting the Pakistani military out of a reconciliation process with the Afghan government.

Either way, the U.S. is celebrating the counter-terrorism successes, suggesting they're a product of a vastly improved relationship from the one the Obama administration first inherited.

That comes in part, they say, simply from the level of attention the U.S. has paid to Pakistan. In the last month the country's capital has been barraged by an unprecedented number of senior U.S. officials, including National Security Advisor James Jones; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen; Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus; Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flourney; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry; and Richard Holbrooke, the administration's Afghanistan-Pakistan special representative -- twice.

Pakistani officials point to one moment to demonstrate how the relationship has evolved: when James Jones, in an unusually large meeting with senior military and government officials, asked a question that opened the discussion, sending the signal he wanted to listen rather than dictate.

"That was a remarkable moment," a Pakistani government official said.

Both American and Pakistani officials caution the trust deficit has not totally disappeared. But American officials suggest every diplomat and military official visits with the same open message as Jones did.

"There's much more positive engagement. When we opened up in the past, they were suspicious. Just in the last month or two, the change has been palpable," said one U.S. diplomat, who said there was a new "U.S. attitude" toward Pakistan.

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