In just three months the armed forces were able to overcome some 4000 insurgents in Malakand Division, especially in Swat and Buner areas. The insurgents are largely locals but were joined by some cross border militants, including Tajiks and Uzbeks. With that, more than 1.3 million displaced persons have started coming back to their homes, where near normal life is gradually coming back. The world witnessed that 'where there is a will, there is a way', notwithstanding Waziristan where the battle would be much tougher, brutal and lengthy. Afghanistan, on the other hand relies totally on foreign troops for its security needs. How does these two diverse situations fits in the overall strategic planning of the Americans, is to be seen. The US policy in the region will be guided by President Barack Obama's announcement of March 27 "AfPak strategy" for fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. According to Obama Administration, it signifies that both countries have similar interests and features, and therefore a single strategy has to be adopted for the insurgents and terrorists. President Obama's new policy announcement was accompanied by White House issued "white paper", which spelled the objectives and recommendations for the new strategy. The main principles of Pakistan related objectives are: ? Disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda and its save havens in Pakistan, preventing their return. ? Assistance for a civilian control and a democratic government. ? To help build up the economic structures. ? Conditional assistance for the military, depending on their willingness to eliminate Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. ? Engage Pakistani people on long-term commitment. As a follow up of this strategy, the Congress passed Kerry-Lugar legislation in June of the same year, according to which Pakistan will receive $1.5 billion a year for five years to improve its social and economic structures. The bill includes military aid of $400 million annually for 2010-2013 with a condition that administration certifies Pakistan's commitment to combat militants. The neologism of "AfPak", sounds uncomfortable, as it signifies lumping together of the security interests of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It also means that the US defence establishment will design a policy that would jointly deal with these two countries, as if they are two provinces of a same nation and that their structures, polity and defence and political interests are at similar level of development and magnitude. From a Pakistani perception it is a wrong presumption that the strategic interests of Pakistan and Afghanistan are tied together. Both these countries have a variety of commonalities but at the same instance have divergent perceptions about their security needs. Many in Pakistan have long held the view that the presence of the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan and the drone attacks on the Pakistani tribal areas have caused the Pashtun tribe to become aggressive, defiant and militant and it is not the other way round. They have held that it was the presence and attacks of the US forces on the tribal belt of Pakistan and General Musharraf's policies of belligerency that had ignited suicide bombers and other terrorist activities. In the past, both the United States and Pakistan had followed different patterns of regional policies that suited their respective interests. The US abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviets left (1988-1989) and took no measures to monitor the foreigners who were in the first place encouraged by the US to come to Afghanistan to participate in the "international Jihad" against the "infidel" Russians. Pakistan on the other hand diligently interfered in the domestic affairs of its neighbour, picking its allies, the last of them being the wrong choice of Taliban. Secondly, while Pakistan was condemned for talking to militant tribesmen converted Pakistani Taliban, in July 2009 the British and US government officials, reiterating President Obama's policy statement of March 27, declared that they are ready to accommodate the "moderate" Taliban. The British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband and Douglas Alexander, the international development secretary hinted that there was a possibility of a "reconciliation", between the Afghan government and those Taliban who were ready to talk. It was reported in the British press that "for more than a year, British intelligence officers have been instigating contacts with Taliban commanders and their entourage. But their task has been very delicate given the sensitivities of the Karzai Administration in Kabul." Earlier while presenting a new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan President Obama had said that he would start a "reconciliation process" with those Afghan Taliban, who are willing to do so. This clearly shows that the occupying forces consider Afghan Taliban as a separate entity from the Pakistani militant situation and that is why two different standards are being applied. Teresita C Schaffer, a former senior State Department official with extensive Pakistan experience admits that the US and Pakistan's concerns on war against the militants differs, "while the United States and Afghanistan are particularly concerned about the Taliban crossing back and forth across the Pakistan border, Pakistan is more concerned with stopping internal terrorism caused by suicide bombings and the seizure of territory within the country by insurgents." The sceptics in Pakistan, see an unwritten understanding in the new policy of inducting India by "regional diplomacy involving all key players in South Asia." Encouraged by President Hamid Karzai, India is already playing a considerable role in Afghanistan, expending its influence through reconstruction and developmental contracts. Pakistan has held the view that Indians have more consulates in Afghanistan than they require and that these are being used for spying on Pakistan. Many believe that "Kabul is being run by a puppet government put up by the Americans", and that the Indians are being promoted to establish its hegemony in Afghanistan and in the region. It is also considered as an established fact that Kabul supports Baloch secessionist leaders, who are being protected by Karzai regime. These specifics can become a hindrance in the effectiveness of war against terror, in Afghanistan. The positive aspect of AfPak lies in its economic part of its agenda and building up of the civil institutions. Secondly, the Obama Administration's promise to have an oversight and auditing over the dispersal of aid is a welcome sign. In the past, billions of US aid was squandered by the Pakistani bureaucrats and some generals, and it never reached the needy common people, nor was institutional building taken seriously. Education, health and other essential services are in shambles and need immediate attention. A Pakistani lawyer commented on the aid package and its conditionality wrote: "Not many will disagree with this approach of giving aid for the people's welfare. In fact, given past allegations of the diversion of funds, the US government will, rightly so, put in checks to ensure that these funds are not diverted for military purposes." The key to success of Obama's new strategy depends on the swift upgrading of literacy and reduction of poverty - especially in FATA and other underdeveloped regions of the country. Although, there is near consensus in Pakistan that the elected government of Prime Minister Gilani should take stern measures to curtain militancy in the country, but it is equally accepted that Pakistan's security concerns are different from that of Afghanistan. The writer is a scholar at the Middle East Institute, Washington DC