The reports on the first Loya Jirga to develop a national consensus on the War On Terror indicate that it is heading nowhere. It was clear that no real national secret would be discussed. Politically the winner is the PPP. PML-N has made a mistake by not participating. The main reason being cited is that the format is unsatisfactory and the briefing related to operational matters. Perhaps the real session is being held in Saudi Arabia by Nawaz Sharif. The party needs to decide about its relationship with PPP. Will they move from separation to divorce? A point emerging clearly is that there is confusion while the Taliban are clear about their objectives. The US in retaliation against 9/11 attacked Afghanistan in self-defence to capture Osama and to remove future threats. For the Talibans, who were controlling 90 percent territory but not recognised by the UN, the US is an occupation army. The legal aspect of the invasion notwithstanding, Afghanistan is not the fifty first State of USA. The US has to leave at some point. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are putting up a stiff resistance and indications are that the countdown for the US departure has begun. Here it must be determined whether the Taliban fighting the US in Afghanistan, attacking their interests and supporters elsewhere are terrorists or not? A freedom struggle does not fall under the definition of terrorism. The US has declared war on Afghanistan therefore Taliban are legally freedom fighters. On attacking US supporters the Taliban are within their rights. In this regard George Bush went to the extent of threatening and forcing countries which had nothing to do with 9/11 to support US or face consequences. Al-Qaeda, a group without a country residing in Afghanistan, has declared Islamic Jihad. The Taliban supporting Al-Qaeda in exporting their overall jihad has to be castigated. Whether it is to be done through invasion, sanctions or diplomatically is a complex issue to be decided by the UN. Unfortunately the problem has spilled over into Pakistan, as the US forces want Pakistan to eliminate the Afghani Taliban and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacks from bases in FATA. Pakistan for various reasons including the strong anti-American feeling and the long and porous boundary is unable to comply fully. The Afghani Talibans are foreigners in Pakistan and cannot be allowed to operate from Pakistan. The TTP supports the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and wants to establish shariah in Pakistan. Are the TTP fighting the US in Afghanistan terrorist? Under international law it is internal interference and cannot be justified. Is the TTP fighting for enforcement of shariah in Pakistan terrorism? Pakistan is a democratic country and there is no provision for enforcing laws through use of force and bypassing the Parliament. Pakistan has three options. The first is to have a peace agreement with the TTP, the second to eliminate the TTP while the third is in between. Peace within Pakistan can be achieved if the TTP is allowed to wage war in Afghanistan. This will lead to international economic sanctions and military intervention. Resultantly option one is not possible without the TTP surrendering. Hardliners promote the second option that the Pakistan should take the TTP head on. However, it requires political consensus at the national level which is somehow missing as confirmed by the in-camera session. Musharraf adopted the third option to support the US forces while at the same time allow some space to the Taliban. The recent change in the US stance signifies the end of Musharraf's dual policy and covert support to the TTP. The US has put up Karzai's puppet regime promoting the Indian agenda. US, India, Israel and the West all want to dismantle Pakistan's nuclear programme. On the positive side the support of the US on the economic and military front is substantial. Is it in Pakistan's interest to have such a formidable international force on its border? Is strategic depth required? Whatever the national consensus after a thorough debate so be it. The writer is a former member of the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) E-mail: