The 'Surge, that is the proposed deployment of 30,000 extra troops in Afghanistan, carries an inherent risk of increased violence mainly due to the limited time frame of 18 months imposed on the US forces to achieve whatever their 'targets might be. The fighting that erupts can force Taliban to seek shelter in border areas of Pakistan, or cause greater refugee influx into Pakistan. This may complicate Pakistan Armys operations against insurgents on its own side of the border or conversely derail Americas negotiations with the Afghan insurgent groups. Unlike Vietnam, President Obama has the opportunity for an orderly withdrawal, which if he succeeds in achieving, would be one of the major milestones of his Presidency. Apparently conscious that he can neither change the dynamics that drive the Afghan society nor remain indefinitely involved in the Afghan imbroglio, Mr Obama, as President of the worlds sole superpower, finds it difficult to concede that American invasion of Afghanistan (and Iraq) was a failure. His administration, very like its predecessor, continues to hang the blame on Pakistans door for terrorism, a phenomenon that is the direct offshoot of American policies. How much has Pakistan suffered, and lost, is not being counted. The optimal course for President Obama, under the circumstances, would be to attach greater urgency to dialogue with the Taliban and other insurgent groups that would enable him to marginalize, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda, as he likes to put it. Not only would this be in American interest but would also enable Afghanistan to achieve peace and begin its journey on the road to recovery after decades of war and destruction. But this is only possible if the largest ethnic community of Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, get a fair share in government in Kabul. Meanwhile, under the new strategy General McChrystal could work with Karzai government to improve governance and begin work on infrastructure development. A major effort would, of course, have to be devoted to inducting, training and preparing the Afghan National Army (ANA) and a resolute police force to begin assuming responsibility for law and order as the American troops prepare to leave. For Pakistan this preparatory phase of Americas departure is very important. Afghan government under Mr Karzai has not only been generally unfriendly but has facilitated forces inimical to Pakistans security to operate with impunity. The roots of the reign of terror that Pakistan is experiencing today lie in Afghanistan. In his report, General McChrystal recognized Pakistans concerns at an expanding Indian role in Afghanistan and the tensions this is causing. After eight years of unsuccessful US-NATO military campaigns, Mr Obama seems to have also realized the need for a policy change and now attaches higher priority to Pakistans role in the region. This has prompted him to promise a 'long term partnership with Pakistan. He said, We will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan. -FOZIA NIAZI, Islamabad, February 3.