American military and intelligence officials claim that al Qaeda is stronger now in Pakistan than at any time since the invasion of neighboring Afghanistan just after September 11. But tensions between the US the new Pakistani government have also increased. The Pentagon has confirmed an US air strike today in northwestern Pakistan, one that country's military calls a "cowardly attack" that killed 11 of its soldiers. Yesterday, the chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, called for "patience." Graham Usher is a freelance journalist in Pakistan.