The Time magazine in its issue of May 9, 2011, while commenting on General David Petraeus nomination as Director CIA has opined that the CIA presence in Afghanistan isnt likely to shrink. The observation is correct. Considering that the drone attacks under CIA control on so-called terrorists hideouts in the Pakistan territory are the main feature of this war, Petraeus nomination is very significant and has grave implications for Pakistan. General David Petraeus rose to national fame and international acclaim from the ashes of Iraq where he persecuted the US war with ruthless tenacity. He is considered a brilliant military thinker and commander in the field. He has authored the US Militarys Operational manual on Counterinsurgency Operations (COIN) and is credited for the ultimate US victory in Iraq. But he is a general, who believes in using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. He was an advocate of the military surge in Iraq and with the political backing he has on the Capital Hill, he managed the additional resources. How he conducted his operations on the field is history. He is a general, who believes in the use of brute force to achieve his ends; he is a military man and a hawk - a dangerous combination. His success in Iraq catapulted him to command the US Central Command (CENTCOM) that oversees US wars and security operations in the Middle East and beyond. As Commander CENTCOM, he became responsible to plan and direct the war in Afghanistan. But for him the war in Afghanistan has proved to be an elusive affair. He brought in General Stanley McChrystal, special operations expert to command the battle in Afghanistan. Based on the directives enumerated in his COIN manual General McChrystal was directed to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. The COIN manual lays down to kill the bad guys and help and project the good, unfortunately the line between good and bad in Afghanistan is either very thin or does not exist. The resistance in Afghanistan is versatile, it adapts to the circumstances as they unfold and remains effective. The COIN strategy was frustrated to the extent that both the commanding generals lost their cool - Petraeus fainted in the Senate hearing and McChrystal went public criticising USAs war policy - McChrystal lost his job and General Petraeus was demoted in command and became the commander on the field. He came to Afghanistan armed with the ideas he practiced in Iraq. A surge in the forces was announced along with a plan and timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. His operational conduct in the field seems to have floundered. The war in Afghanistan is against the terrorists, who are opposing the US occupation of Afghanistan. They are mobile and hit when the opportunity presents itself. Gathering information about the terrorist and their safe heavens therefore had become the prime objective of the US forces in Afghanistan and FATA areas. For this purpose, America deployed a large number of agents and undercover operatives through the CIA and DOD contractor Blackwater. Based on the information provided by these agents, the CIA mounts drone attacks on suspected hideouts of the terrorists in Pakistan territory. Despite these attacks, the American forces cannot pin them down and restrict their movements, there is a blame game going on and all the US fingers - military, intelligence and diplomatic - are pointing towards Pakistan and ISI for aiding and abetting the terrorists, especially the Haqqani network. Pakistan has refused strongly to mount assault in the North Waziristan area and that is being quoted as evidence to support Pakistans and the ISIs culpability. The Chairman US JCS Admiral Mike Mullen had publicly accused the ISI of helping and assisting the terrorist. The war on terror in Afghanistan has essentially turned into the CIAs war. In these environments, shifting General Petraeus to CIA becomes significant. President Barack Obamas desperation is quite evident; he has switched the command roles at the highest level. Petraeus replaces the CIA boss Leon Panetta, who takes over the overall defence responsibility at the Pentagon. Both of them have expressed open disgust and doubts about the Pakistani army and the ISI; there is an overt effort from them based on their assessment, from the US administration, to portray Pakistan and the ISI as the main cause of US failure in Afghanistan. By becoming the CIA boss and direct commander of the drone attacks on Pakistan soil, he is going to bring a 'surge in these attacks to take out all the so-called safe heavens of the terrorists. By now, the secret agents and covert Blackwater operatives deployed in Pakistan must have provided sufficient information about the alleged safe houses and hiding places in FATA, Balochistan and even in Pakistans urban centres. The information leaked after Raymond Davis capture points towards this direction. Therefore, the Pakistan government and army should be prepared to withstand increased drone attacks not in the FATA area only, but in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan. The destruction, death and desolation that it will cost to us cannot be imagined. Leon Panettas appointment as the Defence Secretary also is meaningful. As CIAs boss, he was controlling the drone attacks in consultation with the ground forces in Afghanistan. They have been advocating ground assaults on FATA areas and as information divulged in books (Obamas Wars) indicates that the US troops have been taking such actions in the past. The recent attack on Angoor Adda is the latest excursion of this kind. These are outright military attacks on Pakistan. Despite being an ally, the USA is already at war with Pakistan. Panettas move as the overall boss of the US military will provide the necessary high level cover, permission and resources to the NATO forces in Afghanistan to launch such attacks; this time these attacks will be more lethal, well coordinated and with full force. The US hostility towards Pakistan, its army and the ISI is going to become open. Washington was planning for this open hostility from day one. Naturally, when the Pakistani soil is attacked openly, we in Pakistan expect our army to retaliate and take appropriate actions to defend Pakistan. There are tough days ahead in which Pakistan is going to be under tremendous military, diplomatic and even economic pressures. This is the time that our government, our defence forces and the entire nation needs to demonstrate a firm resolve and will to resist the US designs on Pakistan. The present PPP government seems too weak to give any direction in these circumstances. What the Prime Minister has said the other day about drone attacks depicts this weakness. We may need a nationalistic set-up at the Centre, which can meet the challenge with full backing of the nation. The Pakistan government also needs to embark on a vigorous diplomatic and media offensive internationally to thwart US endeavours against Pakistan. We need to mobilise our friends in this direction and a good friend to start with is China. Our diplomatic campaign should highlight in quite clear terms that failure in Afghanistan rests with the USA, its commanders and political thinkers, who misjudged the realities on ground and went out bounty hunting. They cannot blame others for their misjudgements and find scapegoats to take the blame. Our diplomatic campaign should target the US masses, who are being misled and who matter a lot on how the US government is run. Pakistan needs to gear up on all fronts and do it fast. n The writer is a freelance columnist.