NEW YORK: - A new report by an American think tank has called for US policy on Afghanistan to focus on Pakistan, strengthening civilian government and ending the use of militant groups as an instrument of foreign policy. The Asia Society, whose president was Richard Holbrooke until he was appointed U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan in January, convened a task force of former government officials and academics to compile the report titled "Back from the Brink? A Strategy for Stabilizing Afghanistan-Pakistan." The report, made public on Thursday, was provided to President Barack Obama's administration before he unveiled his new strategy on Afghanistan last week. Task force co-chair Barnett Rubin said the United States and its allies had for too long focused on Afghanistan while allowing problems to fester in Pakistan, where the weak civilian government has little control over tribal areas that have become safe havens for al Qaeda. The report recommends policies for a comprehensive strategy that integrates counterterrorism, governance, economic development, and regional objectives to achieve lasting stability in the region. The most important recommendationa precondition for ensuring that the others work as intendedis that the U .S ., Afghan, and Pakistani governments, together with their other international partners, should design an integrated civil-military plan for the entire operation. That plan would: Explicitly end the rhetorical emphasis on the war on terror and define our enemy as those who attacked our national-Qaida and its allies. - Change policies on detention and sanctions to treat Afghan and Pakistani insurgents differently from international terrorists, and support the use of Afghan and Pakistani legal processes and policing to bring appropriate cases against insurgents for criminal behavior wherever possible. - Strengthen political efforts by the Afghan and Pakistani governments to reconcile with local insurgents at the expense of global terrorists. End Operation Enduring Freedom, the counterterrorism command in Afghanistan, because al-Qaidas sanctuary is now in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. - Integrate all troops and operations in Afghanistan under a single NATO-ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) command with a mandate to protect the population. - Begin negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement to be concluded after the next round of elections in Afghanistan. Separate funding for Afghanistan, including for security forces, from Iraq. - Move such funding from supplemental to continuing appropriations. - Develop long-term international funding mechanisms to enable the Afghan government to plan for institution building over a multiyear time frame. - Undertake a study in cooperation with the Afghan government to evaluate the size of security forces needed, the funding necessary to sustain them, and the possibilities for ensuring these funds over the long term. - Engage with the Afghan government and the United Nations to ensure an accepted and legitimate constitutional transition of presidential power and a more effective government. - Deal directly and confidentially with the Afghan government, ending negative press leaks and unclear messages. Transfer assistance to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and security duties to official institutions, Afghan and international, as soon as possible, consistent with transparency and fiduciary oversight. - Consolidate and build on existing national ministry programs designed to increase ministerial capacity. - Develop a job creation initiative that maps Afghan value chains and facilitates investment in strategic sectors. - Work with international partners to develop and fund an emergency economic rescue plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the face of the international economic crisis, drought, and shortages of food and fuel. - Reduce as much as possible the use of private contractors for security and implementation of aid. - Investigate corruption, waste, and malfeasance in the use of private contractors in Afghanistan, both to improve U.S. efforts and to assist Afghan authorities in anticorruption efforts. Combat narcotics by - Destroying major heroin laboratories. - Removing the protectors of trafficking from influential positions. - Opening markets to Afghan products. - Increasing employment through infrastructure projects and a regional labor migration regime. - Taking a gradual approach to this huge industry, rather than artificially trying to make economic transformation a quick-fix counterinsurgency strategy. Support efforts in Pakistan to - Integrate the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies into the mainstream of Pakistan. - Reform the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas. - Strengthen administration in both the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan to create conditions under which Pakistan can take direct responsibility for the security of its borders, and Afghanistan can recognize them as open borders. - Encourage Pakistan to develop a long-term (ten-year) plan to create economic development and institutional capability, with carefully monitored budget support and/or a trust fund, backed by a small consortium of partner countries, whereby funders would provide up-front support and Pakistan would demonstrate that, with increasing revenues and tax reform, it would meet the cost of the programs. Focus regional policy on creating conditions for the transformation of Pakistans security doctrine so that it no longer requires the use of covertly supported guerrilla forces against neighbors, including - Reducing reliance on Pakistan as a logistics route. Clearly communicating that the United States does not accept denials of actions of which we have clear evidence. - Directing aid at strengthening counterinsurgency capacities. - Supporting the lowering of tensions with India, especially through the composite dialogue. - Engaging in a dialogue on how to meet Pakistans long-term defense and security requirements without support for jihadi organizations. - Supporting civilian institutions and civilian oversight of the military. - Exploring a dialogue to seek a common approach with China and Saudi Arabia, the other suppliers and supporters of the Pakistan military. - Ensuring oversight of all military assistance by both the United States and Pakistans elected authorities. Establish regular dialogue and exchanges over Afghanistan and Pakistan with Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, the Central Asian states, and Saudi Arabia, seeking a means of cooperation with all in conjunction with our NATO allies and other international partners to - Seek agreement with regional and global powers over the stabilization of Afghanistan. - Establish mechanisms for ensuring and building confidence that no power uses that country against another. - Support the regional economic cooperation initiative that started with the international conference hosted by Afghanistan in December 2005 to support cooperation on power, water, rail, road and air transit, customs reform, and education.