Special Correspondent WASHINGTON - Skeptical of Pakistan's peace deal with tribal militants, a major US newspaper also talked about the considerable political pressure the new government faces from Pakistanis resentful of what they regard as a costly war fought by President Pervez Musharraf to defend US interests. In an editorial, titled "A Separate Peace", The Washington Post said: "Those who argue that US troops should be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan to combat al-Qaeda often miss the point that few of al-Qaeda's cadres and none of its leaders can be found in Afghanistan. They are based across the border in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where they are training militants for new attacks in Europe and the United States -- and where they are outside the reach of conventional U.S. forces. U.S. hopes of capturing Osama bin Laden and destroying his network continue to rest with the government and armed forces of Pakistan. Even in Afghanistan, victory over the Taliban movement will require the disruption of Pakistani bases where the Afghan militants rest and reequip. "Under President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's fight against the extremists was selective and sporadic. For several years after 2001, Mr. Musharraf fought al-Qaeda but gave a pass to the Taliban, which has support on both sides of the border. Mr. Musharraf finally ordered attacks on tribesmen believed to be harboring al-Qaeda, then tried striking a deal with them. When the truce broke down, the Pakistan-based Taliban launched a full-scale war against Pakistan's military and political elite. Hundreds were killed in suicide bombings, including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. "Now Mr. Musharraf has lost most of his power to a democratically elected government controlled by Ms. Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari -- and once again, a deal with the Pakistani Taliban is under discussion. Though not yet finalized, the pact reportedly would resemble that struck by Mr. Musharraf: The Taliban would promise to cease attacks inside Pakistan and expel foreign militants, including members of al-Qaeda, while the Pakistani army would retreat from the tribal territories and prisoners would be exchanged. "Mr. Zardari's willingness to accept a truce with Islamic militants, possibly including those charged with sponsoring his wife's murder, reflects the considerable political pressure the new government faces from Pakistanis resentful of what they regard as a costly war fought by Mr. Musharraf to defend U.S. interests. Government officials say the new truce will not be like the old one, that Pakistani militants will have to disarm and that the lawless territories they inhabit will be targeted for long-overdue economic development and political reforms. They hold out hope of Pakistani tribes following the example of Iraqis who turned against al-Qaeda. "That prospect is attractive but unlikely. Pakistan's Taliban is more closely bonded to al-Qaeda than were the Iraqi Sunnis -- and the Taliban remains committed to attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Any peace bought by a Pakistani truce is likely to come at the expense of enhancing what CIA Director Michael V. Hayden recently called a "clear and present danger to Afghanistan, to Pakistan and to the West in general, and to the United States in particular." For a limited time, the United States should take the risk of being patient with Pakistan's new democratic government. The Taliban leaders reportedly have promised that if the pact is sealed, they will take action against al-Qaeda within a month. If that action is not taken, or if attacks into Afghanistan increase, the Bush administration has considerable leverage, including a $750 million aid program promised for the tribal areas -- and the option of unilateral military action using drones or Special Forces. While a multi-pronged approach will certainly be needed to eliminate the threat in Pakistan, al-Qaeda cannot be allowed to benefit from a truce."