Death and violence continues to plague Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the Herat province of Afghanistan, 14 persons were killed including women and children in a raid by Nato and Isaf air forces. A suicide attack claimed the lives of two allied soldiers and four intelligence officials. Across the border, a suicide hit in Pakistan targeted the central office of a pro-Pakistan peace jirga in Darra Adam Khel, killing 18 people and leaving 20 others mortally injured. The blast was so intense that it caused serious damage to adjoining buildings and shops. While many have echoed with relief the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of NATO troops, Secretary General Rasmussen has indicated even the wait for 2014 may prove too long.

The member countries of the allied forces, in the grips of a financial crisis which has overshadowed the whole of Europe, are now getting restive evincing a wish to pull out even ahead of the scheduled roadmap. France, for instance, has already decided to call back its troops while British Foreign Secretary has also urged his government to withdraw its forces immediately. What remains to be seen is, what sort of a transition Afghanistan will go through. Secondly, will Pakistan wait for 2014 to deal with the long-ignored mess it has left festering for the last few years in its own border areas? Peace cannot return to Pakistan unless peace returns to these areas. This will not be possible simply on the power of prayer. We will have to open our eyes and see that our way of life, the future of our children and the security of our country is at stake from those who flourish with impunity on our very own soil and would not hesitate to use violence against us, whether Afghanistan is occupied or not. This is the harsh and honest truth and the presence of such militants in Pakistan is not a myth. And we must not wait for 2014 to decide, once and for all, to take this menace on in any and every form it exists in.