PRESIDENT Obama's much awaited policy on Afghanistan really turned out to be a whimper of a statement rather than a new policy commencing with a bang. This is appropriate because Obama seems to have opted to go with the old Bush policy while giving it a more realistic hue. Instead of a grandiose expectation of military victory and a new Afghan nation state construct, the US is now clearly seeking a respectable exit within eighteen months. Clearly this involves pressuring all sides to come to the discussion table so that a situation can be created which allows this face-saving exit to the US. That is why there is talk of whittling away Taliban support by providing jobs and incentives for the local people. The corruption of the Karzai government and electoral fraud was also part of the Obama discourse on Afghanistan. There was also the already-known 30,000 increase in US troops although this can only add to the instability and violence not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan. After all, playing a numbers game within the framework of an already failed policy is hardly going to alter the dynamics. For Pakistan the message was clear: more destabilisation as militants escaping the US forces in areas bordering Pakistan infiltrate. The problem has been further aggravated because of US/NATO refusal to adopt any of the defensive strategies to stem the infiltration across the porous Pakistan-Afghan international border. Pakistan had suggested mining along the border, fencing, US/NATO increasing their checkposts, and so on; but for reasons that defy logic, all these proposals were turned down. Another problem for Pakistan has been the ridiculous Obama claim that Al-Qaeda is after Pakistan's nuclear assets. The war they are waging does not require them to acquire nuclear weapons but the US is certainly targeting these assets. Ironically, Obama has admitted that without Pakistan the US strategy for Afghanistan is a non-starter. The despair in the US regarding the Afghan war has been reflected in the Obama statement. It is time for Pakistan to renegotiate its cooperation and demand better terms for continuing as a front-line state for the US. As a starter, strategically, we need to get our access to markets; to high tech military hardware; to nuclear parity with India; and an end to Indian infiltration through Afghanistan into Pakistan. Tactically, our military needs to ensure a say in how the US conducts its forces in Afghanistan's areas bordering Pakistan and demand certain specific cooperation from them to stem infiltration of men and material. As for the increase in drone attacks, these need to now be stopped and the Pakistan government needs to come clean on its stance. What we do not need is for our FM to insist the US stay five years more in Afghanistan There has to be a limit on servility to a foreign power.