The conclusion of the military operations in Bajaur Agency marks the ach-ievement of yet another milestone by the armed forces of Pakistan, as indeed the entire nation, in their struggle against hydra-headed menace of extremism. The declaration that soon a similar offensive would be launched in Orakzai Agency indicates our national resolve to continue the effort to extract effected areas from the hold of extremists. A recent edict by a renowned Islamic scholar from Pakistan, Dr Qadri, further reinforces the point of view frequently articulated by the mainstream Islamic clergy, the world over, that extremism in all its forms is forbidden by Islam. As of now, the trail supporting these extremist outfits is pretty long and a crooked one. Snowballing perception has it that clandestine efforts for strengthening these elements are gargantuan, with an agenda to prolong the instability of this region, more specifically in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The killing of three active servicemen of the Indian army, in recent blasts, in Kabul shows how intricately some extremist outfits have become a vehicle for the promoting politico-military agenda of outsiders. Within this strategic environment, the recent spate of arrests of high profile Taliban leadership including those closely linked and related to Taliban supremo Mullah Omar marks a significant point in our strategic approach towards Afghanistan. Presumably, the way is being paved for strategic level dialogue, while taking on board Afghan Taliban leadership, on the future course of action, in an effort to cobble together a viable post de-occupation political dispensation. Luckily, successful major military operations in Swat, Malakand, Waziristan areas and now in Bajaur have strengthened the position of Pakistan to steer the events towards a purposeful dialogue. In this context, the recent covert and overt effort by the American forces, during their assault on Marja township, to keep the civilian casualties to unavoidable minimum would further facilitate the generation of an enabling environment for putting in place a home-grown dispensation in place, in Afghanistan. Here, a caution is due. A simplistic approach of political bargaining with selective segments is not likely to yield any lasting effects. The Afghan society is too fragmented on social, ethnic and sectarian biases, which are crippling in intensity; hence all representative segments need to be engaged constructively to throw up a viable and broad based government in Afghanistan which should have popular appeal as well as acceptance. Now employment of mediation and dialogue, as tools of national reunion and reinteg-ration, needs to take the lead and tactical and operational level military actions should take the backseat, limiting military actions to sub-tactical eng-agements. In fact, both these instruments need to be discreetly orchestrated to achi-eve the political objective of national reconciliation. During the process, requisite chance and motivation should be provided, across the board, to all those who want to detach from the extremist gangsters irrevocably, in exchange for socio-economic rehabilitation, on face saving terms. Unfortunately, the Afghanistan scenario is quite complicated. Multitude state and non-state actors are operating at cross purposes. Emergence of poppy growing and drug mafias, since the fall of Taliban government, has further complicated the social fabric of Afghanistan. Current mosaic of societal makeup and economic dynamics has striking resemblance with post Soviet withdrawal era. Hence, there is a need to establish an accurate cause and effect relationship in the context of various vicious cycles of vested interests from micro to macro levels, to avoid a relapse. Though these traditional fault lines have always existed within the Afghan society, the permeation of multiple foreign influences have made these fault lines carrier of multifaceted agenda of sponsors. These hybrid streams running cross to each other need to be recoiled by approaching their mentors; otherwise they would continue to act as spoilers of the peace process. Hence, regional and extra regional states sponsoring these groups need to be made accountable through some effective mechanism of accountability. Multiple claims and counter claims by extremist entities for taking the responsibility of recent explosions in Kabul are an indicator of the complexity of proxy militant activities. Fad has it that occurrence of each activity of terrorism is twisted to have some linkage with Al-Qaeda and Pakistan, within a couple of hours of its happening. Certainly, this simplistic approach is being exploited by the real managers of such events. Afghanistan is virtually a battlefield of proxy wars being waged by regional and extra regional players. As an extension of this, Afghanistan is being used as spring board for proliferating terrorism and insurgency in Pakistan and, to some extent, in Iran. These activities are going on right under the nose of the occupation forces. Hence, one tends to speculate as if it is with their consonance, who maybe aiming at some side shows in the region to give a cover to their imminent defeat in Afghanistan. The Iranian regime destab-ilisation and Pakistans nukes appear to some of such objectives. The recent conferences held by dubious organisations in India and Thailand to discuss and support an independent Balochistan indicates that America and India are hand in glove in their effort towards destabilising Pakistan and Iran. The economic vows of Afghanistan also need an immediate attention to provide requisite spinal strength to the peace process. Since the invasion of Afghanistan, there has not been a worthwhile economic activity to support respectable living for a common Afghan. A Drug dominated economy and thug dominated security in Afghanistan has had its telling effects, the tide need to be reversed through a long-term capital intensive commitment. The Afghan security forces are being developed by marginalising the Pashtun majority and the Afghan National Army (ANA) is predominantly officered by Tajik and Hazara minorities. This outfit lacks national roots and support, hence is unable to stand on its feet. However, the latest news of engaging Blackwater for training the Afghan security forces is rather disturbing. The ill-reputed Blackwater trainers may not be able to deliver a balanced and disciplined security outfit, suited to the local Afghan environment. Therefore, an ill-represented, inadequately trained and or ambitious security apparatus may become a cause of perpetual political instability. Mediation-oriented talks are always fruitful in eradicating the complexities of conflict. Informal contacts could work wonders in the context of de-knotting the complexities of conflict and facilitate enacting of piecemeal solutions within the ambit of a holistic remedial strategy. Time is indeed ripe for a strategic dialogue process to begin, with a supportive psychological environment. Notwithstanding the boycott of London conference, Iran needs to be brought on board and included in the peace process. There can be no enduring peace in Afghanistan sans Iran. The writer is a retired air commodore. E mail: