The Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in recent past, tried to change his tone which disturbed his mentors in the US. As expected, it was considered by the incumbent America administration as troubling and preposterous (AFP). Further, President Barack Obama, during his latest secret visit to Kabul, asked Karzai to control corruption so that good governance gets going to woo the local people to join in their peacemaking efforts with the 'good Taliban. However, the media believes that Karzais attempt to turn into an 'Afghan from a Vichy was prompted by the inherent conflict of interest. The Afghan president blamed the 'foreign fraud for creating the trust deficit and stressed that corruption was being patronised by the foreign forces. Prima facie, both the points appear to be relevant. As the media tend to be dominated by the US forces, truth gets smeared for the end-users. Naturally, the Taliban titter cannot generally reach the US citizens. However, at home they are scoring wins, despite the counter claims by the US and the no-holds-barred corruption practised by the private contractors, who cheat the US taxpayers. In this context, many studies that have been conducted in the US hold the neocons responsible for the ascendancy of the Taliban over such a massive foreign force, which does not hesitate to use air power brutally on innocent people. History reveals that the Taliban remained down in the dumps till 2005. This was so because the US was unsuccessful in initiating the development programmes in Afghanistan, which it had promised during the Bonn Conference in 2002. Thus, the US failed to win the local populations goodwill. Feeling betrayed and under threat of famine, they turned towards the Taliban. It is no joke that a small force, as per their tradition, kept attacking the foreign troops despite vicious asymmetry of power. One may disagree with their extremist interpretation of Islam, but the people generally in Afghanistan are conscious of their grit and commitment. Gordon Duff, an eminent US veteran, in his recent article affirms: When the Taliban were the nujahideen, they were our friends. Did they become enemies because bin Laden lived there or because they ended all opium production? I think our Marjeh operation answers that one pretty well. Besides this, despite having suffered grievous loss of life and property Pakistanis generally would not like the US to suffer another Vietnam. However, President Obama will have to relinquish the Bush mantra, believed here to be the outcome more of ignorance and links to the oil lobby than the US interest, and save his countrys image. History and experience of the region suggest that he should focus more on the following aspects in right earnest, despite the fatal control of the American politics by vicious lobbies and special interest groups; more so after the insulting attitude of the rightwing Jews. First, Obama should concentrate on diplomacy and not depend entirely on make-believe operations being conducted by his soldiers. As the wounds inflicted by various commanders fester, more people are joining the Taliban for revenge which sells in Afghanistan readily. A famous Pashto proverb pleads: When your son or brother has been murdered, who then has tied your hands? In fact, the victims include any member of the family. Traditions lay down no timeline for revenge which can transcend a century unless a public apology is offered by the aggressor, followed by a settlement by the jirga. Consequently, the bribes offered by the US contractors can buy a reprieve, but it is not a solution since the Afghans always look at the foreign forces with suspicion and distrust. As the clock is ticking, only a distortion of historic proportions can make the Taliban 'seem to be 'losing, which Robert Gates, the US Secretary Defence, claims to be looking for. Second, propaganda for home front, apart the Taliban, appears upbeat. Perhaps, this is due to the emerging realities. As money is being distributed by the US army to ingratiate the local people, they understand the new US 'strategy. For over eight years their dead were being mistreated by the occupation forces. However at the moment under General Stanley McChrystals new order, both the dead and injured are shown some consideration, apparently, thanks to the turning tide of 'blood money that is peanuts as compared with the payments made when a foreign soldier dies. Indeed, this is also creating resentment which goes against the US forces. In Afghan tradition, the killer has to publicly apologise for his crime. No US officer appears to be prepared to do that. So the stalemate persists despite the apparent 'cold peace. Thus, hoping to win the 'hearts and minds of the civilian populace in this way and then claim victory in Afghanistan. In addition, the US also carries the baggage of those who died in the first eight years, and were treated as 'collateral damage and eventually forgotten. Nevertheless, the Taliban treat the aggrieved people with sympathy. No wonder their ranks keep on swelling when such people join them frequently. This appears to be the major lifeline for the Taliban, besides those who are induced by the jihad against the occupation forces. A study by the Naval Postgraduate School in 2008 asserts: Loss of civilian lives associated with military strikes has played into the hands of the Taliban, in turn boosting their legitimacy and image while lowering US credibility. What happened last week will add phosphorus, which Human Rights Watch holds the US to have frequently used in Afghanistan, in order to create the mess. Third, scepticism is fast developing in this area about the 9/11 tradegy. Even an average Afghan would tell you that it was done by the oil lobby in collaboration with the yahudis to control Afghanistan so that the natural resources of the region could be exploited and sold through a cheap pipeline. As is widely acknowledged in the US, the 9/11 commission tried to provide only a cover-up which is now being actively disputed by intellectuals, as well as relatives, of the victims. After nine years of the atrocious use of 'shock and awe and resultant destruction, the Afghans still challenge the neocon accusations tenaciously. It will help the US if some new evidence is made public to disprove the growing feeling of the alleged fraud by the neocons a la 9/11 tragedy. The audacity of Cheney on the media is not going to help the foreign troops who face all the dangers. Last but not the least, the attacks in Peshawar/Dir, last Monday, were dreadful. As the US expressed great concern at an assault on their consulate, the Taliban called it a revenge for the drone attacks. In Dir many ANP members were killed, who were holding a public meeting in a government rest house, which reflected poor governance of the incumbent provincial government. Therefore, such a disregard for the clash of interest promotes corruption making the government, as well as the country, a loser against present challenges The writer is former interior secretary.