PRESIDENT Asif Zardari's observation that American forces should stay away from our soil and let the Pakistani forces do the job comes three days after he warned in his inaugural address to a joint sitting of parliament that no tolerance of the violations of our sovereignty and territorial integrity would be shown. "Pakistan is capable of combating terrorism... and we are there to stand shoulder and shoulder with the world, looking the terrorists in the eye," he said in an interview with NBC news channel on Monday. The interview was aired at a time when the media reported another incursion by US assault helicopters in the tribal region. Local authorities were quoted as saying that shots from the ground, fired by Pakistani troops and tribesmen, forced the intruding choppers to return to Afghanistan. A US Defence Department spokesman meanwhile speedily denied that such an event took place. The Americans must be aware that the reported incursion would accentuate tension between Pakistan and the United States, caused by the recent cross-border attacks in the restive region. But the Bush Administration is becoming extremely impatient with the efforts Islamabad has been making to purge the tribal areas of militants without realizing that strikes on Pakistani soil would make the current democratic dispensation weak and irrelevant. The point was very aptly raised by The New York Times editorial on Monday. It suggested that even though Mr Zardari is "an undeniably flawed leader", he deserves a chance, and American support, to fulfil his promises to "bolster democracy...and work with the United States to defeat terrorism". The argument that the rising number of civilian casualties in the region bordering Afghanistan is driving more and more tribesmen into the hands of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and other extremist groups cannot be rejected outright. But the United States needs to understand that there is no point in launching attacks inside Pakistani territory as they will not only aggravate anti-US sentiment but also undermine the democratic regime whose support it requires to curb militancy. The fallout of US adventurism on Pakistan can be seen from the spill-over across the country of violence that was previously confined to the tribal areas. Governor NWFP Awais Ghani pointed out at a media briefing on Monday that militancy is now gaining root in South Punjab. Before it spreads further, the Bush Administration needs to review its new strategy that has already complicated the ongoing fight against terrorism. President Zardari can draw the attention of the international community towards this situation in his address to the 63rd session of the General Assembly as well as his meetings with the world leaders on its sidelines.