Afghan security forces, with support from NATO and US-led coalition troops, have launched a series of operations in the last few days to secure volatile areas like Uruzgan and Helmand mainly in the southern parts of the country that was worst-hit by militant attacks. NATO has claimed of killing scores of Taliban in the operations even as the coalition forces have suffered heavy losses too. The operation was part of an anti-insurgent drive recently launched to dislodge Taliban militants from their strongholds ahead of the August 20 presidential elections. All these are happening since the fall of Taliban in 2001, but any major American victory in Afghanistan is still an illusive dream. President Barack Obama's new US administration has increased the number of 'boots on the ground' a short time ago but there is no sign of any substantial change in the landscape so far. That means the US administration and NATO have to change their strategy to deal with Afghans, especially the 'hard-liners' among Taliban. Elections, be they parliamentary or presidential, are not a solution to the Afghan problem, especially if they are held with out the participation of the majority Pukhtoon population. About the use of force inside Afghanistan, the books of history have some clear lessons, most recent ones relating to the Soviet aggression at the end of the Cold War. America must heed them. -MUHAMMAD ARIF SHAFI, Peshawar, via e-mail, July 6.