The semi-annual White House report to the US Congress outlines the progress, or its lack, towards the main objectives of the Afghanistan war as well as US operations against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The report divulged to the press represents its declassified parts. However, the contents of the classified segments of the report, withheld from the public view, yet remain of unusual interest. The report to the Congress is presented barely three months before the US President is scheduled to announce the graduated programme for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. The report surveys both military and political situations in Pakistan. A deterioration of the situation in FATA during the first quarter of the current year is reported. From among the six out of the total seven tribal agencies, the report in particular pointed out Mohmand and Bajur agencies for the recurrence of insurgent strongholds. The US worked jointly [with Pakistan] in the last year to disrupt the threat posed by Al-Qaeda. It acknowledged that the overall tremendous human sacrifices were made by Pakistan forces in the region. However, the vexing issue is the lack of any indication of hold and build planning to complement the ongoing clearing operations. According to the latest US survey, Pakistan lacks a robust plan to defeat the Taliban, and its security forces struggle to hold areas cleared of the Al-Qaeda linked insurgents at a pronounced cost. The report further notes, there remains no clear path toward defeating the insurgency in Pakistan, despite the sustained deployment of almost a 150,000 forces. As the report seems to lament the deterioration of the situation in FATA and Islamabad lacking a robust plan to overcome the Taliban challenge, therefore it is appropriate that the history of insurgency in the southwest Asian region is to be kept in perspective. The military invasion of Afghanistan during 1979 and its occupation by the former USSR served as the initial cause for the beginning, growth and continuity of the militant insurgency in the area. The US, as the archrival of then USSR in the Cold War era, rendered its unrestricted help in the organisation of Islamic insurgency throughout the Islamic world, against the military occupation of Afghanistan by the USSR. However, after the withdrawal of the USSR from Afghanistan during 1989, the tradition of militancy took hold in this region and beyond - in the Gulf States and the Middle East - in both militant activity and organisational structure, inclusive of Al-Qaeda. In the aftermath of 9/11 incidents, the US launched a military invasion against Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. Aided by President Musharrafs regime, the US realised its three declared war objectives in Afghanistan - namely, dismantling of militant training camps, arrest or elimination of Al-Qaeda leadership, and change of the Taliban regime - by the end of 2001. Adopting a policy of military expansionism - annual US defence expenditure almost equals that of the remaining world - and ignoring to its peril the lesson from the USSR invasion during the 80s, the US ended up enacting the role of a foreign military occupation force in Afghanistan. The aftermath, of course, was predictable, for throughout their proud history Afghans have invariably defended their freedom from any foreign military occupation. The US intentions in the region have become evident from the fact that, subsequent to the realisation of its declared military objectives related to the invasion of Afghanistan, rather than opting to depart, it ventured to persuade and invite India into Afghanistan as well. As India must have been urged by the US, the Indian Embassy staff landed in Kabul on November 23, 2001, even before the issue of interim government in Afghanistan was settled. Noteworthy it is, the interim government in Kabul was decided only during February 2002. Even a pretence of the interim set-up in Kabul to have invited India, and not the US, was not cared for. Such was the keenness on the part of US to invite India into Afghanistan; such was the US unconcern for the Musharraf regime in Islamabad; and such was the inclination on the part of India to avail itself of the unexpected opportunity to influence the regional balance of power against Islamabad and contribute towards the foreign military occupation of Afghanistan. As the recruitment centres for the insurgents situated along the borders of Pakistan under the aegis of India, of course, with the conniving approval of the US, increased in number - by a reliable account, 29 at one time - so gradually spiralled upward the terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The report to the US Congress notes that Pak-US military cooperation survived the outcry caused by Raymond Davis shooting incident. However, it omitted to inform the Congress - as is evident at least from the declassified portions of the survey - concerning some other facts gathered from Davis possession. One such fact, as conveyed by the national press, was the contact numbers of key figures associated with the militant outfits involved in the assassinations of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the US journalist Daniel Pearl. And of no less prominence were Davis repeated visits to FATA, as a US CIA agent. Now the common denominator between the cited activities as well as contacts and the terrorist attacks launched in the mainland Pakistan is the militant outfit TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan). In addition, the former Governor and the Interior Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and the Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, are on record in stating that India is involved in aiding the terrorist attacks in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan. The US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert O. Blake Jr, testified before the House of Foreign Affairs Committee on April 6 that USAs global strategic partnership with India would remain among its top foreign policy priorities. According to Blake, one core facet of the US-India global strategic partnership was the increasing defence ties between the two countries. The observations conveyed in this recent official testimony, in conjunction with the preceding facts outlined, are explanatory of the deterioration of the situation in FATA, as noted in the semi-annual US report to the Congress. With this understanding, it is merely deductive that the solution to the FATA situation resides in the withdrawal of US military occupation forces from Afghanistan. If the US and allies could not secure their military foothold in Afghanistan, then the Indian condition there appears to be far more untenable. The other criticism made in the report - that Pakistan lacks a robust plan to defeat the Taliban - has part of its solution to be derived from the foregone conclusion, that is, withdrawal of the occupation forces from Afghanistan. It indirectly and indeliberately is referring to this aspect, and Islamabad should critically review its policy in that respect. The fundamental fact remains that the insurgents, designated repeatedly as Taliban in the US report under review, to a substantial extent are the beneficiaries of the recruitment, training, arming, financing and organising by the Indo-US collusion. This setting was facilitated by the erroneous policies of President Musharrafs regime in its identification with the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Therefore, it is equally of fundamental importance to draw distinctions between the genuine Taliban fighting in Afghanistan, and the Taliban-like mercenaries - to be correctly designated as pseudo-Taliban - active in FATA and mainland Pakistan. The genuine Taliban pursue a jihadi motto, and therefore are involved in the struggle to liberate Afghanistan from the US-led foreign military occupation. In contrast, the pseudo-Taliban are mercenaries, or hired fighters, with the agenda to destabilise Pakistan, without maintaining distinction between the state and civil society. An author, Earl H Tilford Jr, in his analysis of the Vietnam war, wherein the US suffered a major military setback, described the lack of a coherent US military strategy and its intellectual failure in Vietnam as a partial explanation for the outcome. As a part of the latter, the inability on the part of the US military to develop appropriate measures of success was stated. For Pakistan to draw appropriate lessons from the analysis will be to envision Afghanistan as free from any foreign occupation as a part of the coherent strategy, and to draw definite ideological distinctions between indicated two types of Taliban as a part of the intellectual strategy concerning Afghanistan. The writer is Chairman of the Pakistan Ideological Forum Email: