Nothing, perhaps, could bring greater relief to the people of this region – in particular, Pakistan and Afghanistan that are constantly troubled by the terrorists – than the return of peaceful conditions. And nothing could work wonders more than the leaders of the two countries joining hands with each other "in making the counter-terrorism strategy more effective and more meaningful". Reportedly, President Barack Obama, himself at sixes and sevens about how to make an honourable exit from Afghanistan while, at the same time, leaving a stable governance structure behind, is striving to bring home to both Mr Hamid Karzai and Mian Nawaz Sharif the need to develop an understanding to make that possible. In pursuit of that target, he would be holding a joint meeting with the Afghan President and the Pakistan Prime Minister when they visit the US to attend the UN General Assembly meeting next month.

Mr Karzai is also visiting Islamabad later this month in response to an invitation from Mian Nawaz and the goal is to make some headway in sorting out the differences that have kept Pak-Afghan relations strained and defied numerous attempts at resolution. They would pick up the same thread when they attend the get-together organised by Mr Obama in New York.

The climate of trust, sine quo non for any common, result-oriented approach to take shape if the terrorist phenomenon is to be destroyed, gets clouded as charges of meddling in each other’s country fly across the Durand Line. To this, has been added the Afghan suspicion that Pakistan is deliberately not arranging Kabul’s contacts with the Taliban to ensure that there is peace in the post-troop-pullout Afghanistan.

Islamabad, on the other hand, contends that it has limited influence with the Taliban, who would like to negotiate peace with the US, rather than with Mr Karzai. The New York meeting would be focusing on the issue of talks with the Taliban since the three countries each feel the urgency, especially as the withdrawal schedule of end-2014 draws nearer, of evolving a workable arrangement of governance in which the different ethnic communities have their due share and work together for the good of the country.

The US hopes to leave behind as stable an Afghanistan as possible. It is now the quietly acknowledged strategy that this will only be possible by representatives of all Afghan tribes, including the Taliban, being accommodated in government. Pakistan's interests too lie in a stable Afghanistan. The policy of strategic depth is no longer applicable. Instead, Pakistan hopes to see Afghans take the lead in deciding their future. It is hoped that the meeting on the sidelines of UNGA will further this goal, and provide a much needed patch to Pakistan-US relations, as well as build trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.