There are two issues that are the main cause of strained relations between Pakistan and the United States of America. First is Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is trying to reclaim its territory lost to Americas Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the past regime, while second is the Taliban, who have won the war in Afghanistan and are not prepared to talk, unless the occupation forces leave their country. Needless to say that both demands are related to the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan and Afghanistan and there is no going back on it. It is up to the US, therefore, to accept the reality, concede to the rightful demands and explore a new approach to peace. The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI): It were the ISI and CIA mainly, who supported the resistance against the Soviets during the period 1982-1989, joined by 40,000 jihadis from Pakistan and over 60,000 from 70 countries of the world. The Pakistani army had no involvement, except General Ziaul Haq and a few of his close aids. The Pakhtuns living on both sides of the Durand Line provided the hardcore base for the resistance against the Soviet occupation forces, who ultimately accepted the defeat in good grace and asked for a safe exit that was granted by the Afghan mujahideen. Hence, the Soviet troops exited unscathed. The CIA, which had worked hand-in-glove with the ISI, was awed by our agencys professional prowess in defeating the Soviets - a superpower. The Americans, therefore, decided to demonise the mujahideen and pressurised Pakistan to clip the ISIs wings. The Pakistan government accepted the demand. The then serving DG ISI, Lt Gen Hamid Gul, was replaced by Lt Gen Kallu, a retired officer, and the purging of the ISI started as early as 1989. The officers and the operatives having any kind of contact with the Afghan mujahideen were removed, so much so, that in 1994, when the Taliban emerged, the ISI had no role in Afghanistan. In fact, by 2001, when Pakistan joined the US in their war on Afghanistan, the ISIs role was reversed, as the enemy of Taliban. In 2003, on the issue of the involvement of Pakistani tribals in Afghanistan, Musharraf agreed to pull out the ISI from the border areas and allowed the CIA and the marines to monitor the entire border belt from Swat to Balochistan. This was the time, when the RAW had already established its spy network inside Afghanistan and joined hands with the CIA, infesting Pakistans entire border region with their 'agents and support groups, and by 2005, succeeded in turning the war on Pakistan. Since then Pakistan is fighting against its own tribals (TPP) and the terrorism that was actually perpetrated by the enemy agents and provocateurs. With the change of government in 2008, the ISI realised the threat to national security and gradually started reclaiming the lost territory. Then as a result of Raymond Davis arrest, the Indo-US conspiracy was exposed and Islamabad demanded that all US spies and agents working in the border region and other areas of Pakistan must disengage and leave. Thus, the ISI now has extended its network in the border region, re-claiming the territory lost since 2004. And in doing so, they may have come into a contract with the Haqqani network, operating close to the Pakistani borders, and so there is definitely no going back on it. This development hurts the US badly, as it needs a safe exit from Afghanistan. Nevertheless, targeting the ISI and calling it a terrorist organisation is counterproductive and demonstrates the American frustration at the changed situation, which they have failed to understand. The Taliban: The Americans have tried several options to negotiate peace in Afghanistan on their terms - A non-Talibanised peaceful Afghanistan. Pakistan too has endorsed the idea. But both are on the wrong track because in this brutal contest the Talibans have won and have the right to lay down the terms for peace, and not the Americans and their allies, who have lost the war. In fact, the Americans have to demonstrate 'diplomatic wisdom to accept defeat, as the Soviets did in 1989 and asked for a safe exit. Then Pakistan helped the Soviets to withdraw because the mujahideen were friendly, but now Pakistan has no such leverage over the Taliban The Taliban of today are very different from the mujahideen of 1989 - their elders. The hardcore of the Taliban consists of the diehard 20 to 30 year old Afghans, who have grown under the shadows of war. They are hardened fighters, with a lifetime experience of war. They are brutal and ruthless. They are guided by one single idea, that is, to defeat the enemy and liberate the country. That is the single purpose, which is a matter of life and death for them. As early as 2002, they defined it in these words: We have resolved to fight the occupation forces till they are routed. When we gain freedom, we would take decisions under a free environment. It is unthinkable for the Afghan nation to follow the American plans, as it was not in harmony with their national ethos and traditions. We will carry the war to its logical end, and Inshallah we will triumph over the enemy and win our freedom. Word by word, they have done exactly what they claimed. Mullah Umar and the senior Taliban leadership do have a soft corner for Pakistan and the US for helping the Afghans to defeat the Soviets, but the 'hardcore Taliban consider America and its allies, including Turkey, as their enemy. They consider the Pakistan army and the ISI, as their enemy because they joined Americas war on Afghanistan. Even Mullah Umar, who has full control over the movement, cannot take decisions against the wishes of the 'hardcore Taliban. So for the Americans, their allies and the Pakistanis, the only course open is to negotiate with the Taliban, who are prepared to engage with the Northern Alliance to work out a new constitution for the future government in Afghanistan. Any other course to be adopted would lead to greater chaos. As for the Taliban, they are at peace with themselves. They have fought and sacrificed for over 30 years, and will continue to fight because their faith and commitment to the cause provides them the abiding strength and resilience to face the mightiest of the mighty. They already have won the contest and will wait for the time they will be asked to define the peace parameters. Also, there is a rethink in Pakistan to establish friendly relations with the Afghans - our neighbours. The ISI is in the process of reclaiming the lost territories. The Pakistan army is in a different frame of mind, as it punished the NATO and the Afghan army, recently, for violating our territory opposite Parachinar, killing five NATO troops and several others. This change in mood and temper, therefore, must be correctly understood to explore new possibilities in order to establish a meaningful relationship with Pakistan. The writer is a former COAS, Pakistan Email: