Latterly David Kilcullen has made a prediction that the US will leave Afghanistan after a period of about two years, irrespective of results on the ground. Senator Russ Feingold has also argued that the time has come for the US to start discussing a flexible timetable to bring its troops out of Afghanistan. The senator has urged the administration to step up its efforts and think up a mechanism to have an honourable exit from Afghanistan as it is very difficult to support an open-ended commitment. Prima facie, the US proclaims that its core goal in Afghanistan is to put Al-Qaeda to rout and dismantle its terrorist infrastructure in order to save itself in particular and other countries of the world in general from the heinous designs and obscurantist tactics of the extremists. And in order to actualise this programme, according to Western diplomats, the US is making a serious bid to build up Afghan security forces and install an effective democratic government so as to restore peace in the country and respond to the needs of the populace. Reportedly, after attaining this ideal objective, the US will leave Afghanistan. But on mature reflection, it comes out that there is more to it than meets the eye. The people across the globe fully know the moral standards of the US and cannot be coaxed into believing that America is doing something to cater to the needs of the Afghan masses at the expense of its treasury and lives of soldiers. If we dissect the issue and have a microscopic analysis, it comes out loud and clear that in all likelihood, America has no intention to leave Afghanistan in the near future. The mantra of defeating the Al-Qaeda is just a smokescreen. The fact of the matter is that American interests in Afghanistan are of deep strategic nature. As discussed by the writer previously, one does not need to be an Einstein in order to understand that 9/11 was a fabricated drama stage-managed by the CIA to have a moral high ground to enter Afghanistan in the name of self-defence. Actually the subtext was to grab the oil/gas reserves of the Caspian seabed and have an increased access to the resources of the Central Asian states. Afghanistan is a country that is adjacent to Middle Eastern states which are rich in oil/gas. Rivalries for pipeline routes and energy resources are indicative of the competition for power and control in the region. Pipelines have assumed a lot of importance in the international politics as they connect trading partners and influence the regional balance of power. Afghanistan is a strategic piece in the geopolitical struggle for dominance in the region. A big game is underway, with geopolitics having its influence everywhere. Being mindful of the emerging scenarios, US had planned beforehand to be the front-runner for geopolitical dominance by landing its forces in Afghanistan. But, all this did not prove a walk-over for the US as some other powerful nations like Russia managed to throw a spanner in the American works and resultantly, the designs originally conceived by the US got foiled in large part. However, in consonance with the dramatic shift in the dynamics governing the world, America also has made a change in its objectives. The writer is of the viewpoint that the 21st century belongs to Asia. The West is losing steam at a rapid pace and power is going to knock the door of some Asian powers before long. Keeping this in view, the US has decided to protract its stay in Afghanistan in order to devise various ways to destabilise the whole of the region so as to impair its efficacy to wrest power from the West. But be that as it may, the US must not be oblivious of the fact that it will be impossibly difficult for it to prolong its stay in 'the Graveyard of Empires' as its costs are going through the roof in Afghanistan whereas the outcome remains uncertain. Everybody knows that war is an uncertain business. Between 2001 and 2009, military operations in Afghanistan have burned $200bn of the US treasury. Additionally, if the number of deaths rises, the American public will run out of patience. Resultantly, Obama's job will become harder. In the wake of launching a major operation in recent months in the Helmand, the US has suffered the highest casualties of the eight-year-old war. Obama must not lose sight of the point that Afghanistan could be for him what Iraq was for Bush or even what Vietnam was for Johnson. It is high time for Obama to lift a major step, reverse the course and leave Afghanistan otherwise it will be next to impossible to save the day. The writer is a foreign affairs analyst E-mail: