A senior political analyst rightly said: "Pakistan is passing through the worst of times in its turbulent history. Could these be turned into best of times? It is possible, but would need a great deal of work." Stephen Cohen head of the Brooking Institute and a noted American political analyst states: " The state in Pakistan, like the Titanic is heading towards a giant iceberg. Unless it changes its course and soon, its fate is sealed." Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the grip of terrorism. Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in FATA, Waziristan, Bajaur, Mohmand Agency, parts of Malakand Agency and Swat are firmly entrenched. From their safe heavens they launch attacks, suicide bombings and ambushes into Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite the efforts of Musharraf, Karzai, Zardari regimes and NATO; brainwashed, trained, equipped and funded militants continue to rampage, and destroy. They have killed more American and other NATO troops in Afghanistan during 2007 and 2008 than during previous years. They have killed thousands of Pakistani soldiers and civilians as well. Destruction of 160 schools and colleges in FATA and Swat is an ugly conspiracy to push Pakistan back into the Dark Age. Their barbarity includes kidnapping foreigners and Pakistani's for ransom, and beheading and killing them. The world, especially the people of Poland and Pakistan have watched in horror the barbaric execution of the Polish mining engineer Mr Pioter Stanczak. Poland has vowed to hunt down his murderers, and bring them to justice. Pakistan and NATO must extend fullest cooperation to Poland. Since the past five months the Pakistan army has battled Fazlullah led killers in Swat. Despite the claims of the killing of thousands of renegade insurgents by the security forces, the fanatic Kohistani rebels continue slaying civilians and soldiers, razing girl schools and colleges to the ground, slitting throats, digging out skeletons and hanging them, and terrorising the public by demonic and devilish acts. Their savage terror has struck horror and fear in Swat, forcing half a million people to flee their homes in cold winter. The Al-Qaeda and Taliban's death methodology in Waziristan and Swat, manifest the inhuman and barbaric mindset of the terrorists operating freely from FATA and Swat. Operation Rah-e-Haq was started by the Pak Army in Swat in October 2007. Now the third phase of the operation has been launched. However, failure of this operation will be catastrophic. According to sources: "The militants have suffered less than the collateral damage caused in Swat....While the army's reputation has suffered a serious blow." It is hoped that the operation is a success. "If the army fails in Swat, any notion of the sovereignty of the state will be destroyed." Fazlullah and his followers will not stop the occupation of Swat. Fazlullah will continue his assault on the Malakand Division. Besides if the Tehrik-e-Taliban-e Pakistan continue to defy the army, Washington, London and NATO will surely interfere physically, with powerful land and air operations, on the pretext to stop the outflow of terrorism from Al-Qaeda safe havens into Afghanistan and Pakistan. Seven US army-marine brigades are ready to fly out to Afghanistan, and will be deployed in Khost and other provinces bordering Pakistan. It is time that the federal government in Islamabad and the provincial government in Peshawar, and the FATA administration realise to the seriousness of the prevailing situation. The government of Afghanistan does not have an effective strategy or capability to demolish terrorist safe heavens, fortifications and stocks of munitions and weapons on both sides of the border. Now Al-Qaeda has threatened to launch terrorist attacks into India. The world cannot be expected to remain silent, while the terrorists continue their rampage unabated. Islamabad, Kabul, Washington, London, Riyadh, New Delhi, Tehran and other world capitals have to realise that terrorism will spread, and the world community will have no peace, as long as the terrorist have their safe havens to train, deploy and haunch attacks into the neighbouring countries. Something has to be done to stop it, and done fast. The big question is: who are funding, and supplying the terrorists with automatic weapons, bomb making explosives, detonators, etc? Who is providing them the technology and training to attack in strength and fight regular troops? According to reports published in foreign newspapers the terrorists are using weapons of Iranian, Indian and Russian origin. Afghan warlords trafficking in drugs, and foreign agencies provide them with funds and drugs to destabilise Afghanistan and Pakistan. A neighbouring country has established a large number of consulates in Afghanistan, with agents facilitating of weapon and drug trafficking in Balochistan and Afghanistan. They sell and facilitate procurement of drugs and weapons to the terrorist criminals. Without action against the warlords and such mafias, the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue. In a warning to Pakistan, US President Barack Hussein Obama on February 9, 2009, asserted that his administration would not allow "safe havens" for Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists operating with "impunity" in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. This is the message his special envoy Richard Holbrooke, delivered to Pakistan. President Obama said in his first press conference after assuming office on January 20: "My bottomline is that we cannot allow Al-Qaeda to operate. We cannot have those safe havens in that region....You've got the Taliban and Al-Qaeda operating in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan unhindered." However, in his recent telephonic conversation with President Asif Zardari the US president discussed the formulation of a joint strategy. Mr Holbrooke, has delivered a message to Pakistan that the US is "endangered as much as Pakistan is by the continuation of terrorist operations, and that we've got to work in a regional fashion to root out those safe havens." President Barack H Obama, who took questions on the situation in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in his hour-long news conference in the White House, said: "The US has not seen concerted efforts to destroy such 'safe havens. What we haven't seen is the kind of concerted effort to root out those safe havens that would ultimately make our mission successful. We're going to have to work both smartly and effectively, but with consistency in order to make sure that those safe havens don't exist. US will jointly work for eradicating terrorism from the restive tribal areas." Mr Holbrooke added that the United States, "wants to be effective partners with them on that issue. We must make sure that Pakistan is a stalwart ally with us in battling this terrorist threat." President Obama said: "This is going to be a big challenge. The bottom line though - and I just want to remind the American people, because this is going to be difficult - this is a situation in which a region served as the base to launch an attack that killed 3,000 Americans in the September 11, 2001." Undoubtedly the Obama administration is extremely serious is cooperating with Pakistan to control and fight terror. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani need to gather a team of professionals including educated politicians, civil and military officials, vice chancellors and university professors and political analysts to discuss all the dimensions of terrorism, and evolve a joint workable strategy to deal with the menace. This internal war must be won to save Pakistan. The writer is a retired air marshal. The article was written before the signing of peace agreement between TNSM and the NWFP government.