TWO explosions have accompanied US Vice-President Cheney on his Asian visit. One was yesterday's suicide bomber's attack on the US base at Bagram, Afghanistan, where Mr Cheney was staying; the other was the explosion of anger that followed his earlier visit to Pakistan to warn President Musharraf that he was not doing enough to stop the Taliban from using Pakistan territory as a base of their military operations in Afghanistan. As soon as Mr Cheney had left Pakistan the government there issued an explosive statement that it would “not accept dictation from any side or any source.” And at about the same time the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, was telling the press that “the precise nature of Mr Cheney's comments and the tenor of comments to President Musharraf would be the sort of things that would be confidential.” Just so. Things are not going at all well in Afghanistan and Pakistan is gettting a lot of the blame. President Musharraf denies that he is helping the Taliban in any way but President Karsai of Afghanistan does not believe him and nor, it seems, does the US administration, even though Musharraf looked Mr Bush “in the eye” during a visit last September and said, “There won't be Taliban and won't be Al-Qaeda”. Before 9/11 Pakistan was a rogue state but became a “close ally” of the US because of its air bases. Is it destined to resume its former status?