WHILE Pakistan is being pressured to launch an offensive in South Waziristan, many Americans are having second thoughts about the country's involvement in Afghanistan. Despite Defence Secretary Robert Gates' insistence that it is not the time to get out of the war-torn country, military involvement is becoming increasingly unpopular in the USA. A Washington Post-ABC News poll has found that 60 percent of Americans disapprove of President Obama's handling of the fighting. Trying to replicate what he had done in Iraq, CENTCOM Chief Gen David Petraeus got 17,000 extra troops in Afghanistan, adding to 34,000 American soldiers already deployed and taking the number of foreign troops in the country to 101,000. With the offensive gaining momentum in east and south Afghanistan, the number of allied casualties has increased manifold, making 2009 the deadliest year since the war began in October 2001. This has led to the crumbling of the consensus behind the US commitment to fight. What has added to the public frustration is the corruption and inefficiency on the part of the Karzai government. Meanwhile, reports of gross malpractices in the recently held elections have raised questions about President Karzai's legitimacy. Demands have been made for a run-off election which he has rejected. The newly appointed US commander, Gen Stanley McChrystal, is reportedly preparing a new strategy, an increase in troops being a vital component of the plan. The suggestion is likely to be turned down on account of President Obama's National Security team's reluctance to authorize more deployment. Most European allies of the US have been unwilling to go beyond symbolic contribution to the war in Afghanistan. With the increase in casualties, pressure is mounting on Britain, the second largest contributor of military personnel after the US, to pull out troops from the country. On Thursday, Defence Secretary's close aide Eric Joyce resigned and launched a devastating attack on the handling of the war in Afghanistan. He warned that Labour could not win the next election unless it 'gripped' the issue and set a time limit for the withdrawal of British troops. One wonders how long Mr Obama and Prime Minister Brown would be able to resist the rising public pressure against war. In case the allied troops stay in Afghanistan the resentment in the respective countries will escalate manifold. In case they are withdrawn, Pakistan will have to deal with the consequences of the Pandora's box opened by the US singlehandedly as before. Under the circumstances, there is a need on the part of the government to hedge its bets. It should evolve a homegrown strategy to curb militancy. What it must not do is to blindly accede to the demands of an ally who has left it in the lurch in the past.