Against the backdrop of the highly damaging fallout on Pakistan of the US-sponsored war on terror that it has borne over the past 10 years, one wonders how COAS General Ashfaq Kayani could reach the conclusion that argues in favour of the American and other foreign forces stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. His response, Frankly, I have my doubts, to the question whether he thought Afghanistan would be ready for the international troops to leave after the planned time of withdrawal, 2014, was, therefore, anything but not in our national interests and the wishes of our people, that he, in the same breath, declared to pursue. General Kayani, who was giving his views on the sidelines of the meeting held on Friday of NATO Chiefs of Defence at Seville, Spain, and where he had gone to attend, went on to add, No date can be a final date. This has lent an evident support to the US thesis that it would have to stay put till 2034 to 'ensure that militancy does not rear its head again in Afghanistan after they have left and peace and stability are restored. This is entirely a fallacious argument designed only as a cover to keep the US hold of Afghanistan, which is supposed to have huge stocks of precious metals and minerals, and exercise hegemony over Central Asian Republics, which are known for the abundance of their energy resources. Reportedly, an agreement between Washington and Kabul, run by a US surrogate, to 'legalise a prolonged stay of US forces in Afghanistan, is in an advanced stage of conclusion. The most disturbing irony is that Afghan President Hamid Karzais request not to leave his country by 2014 is being made the basis of this agreement. No doubt, unpopular Karzai, brought to power to execute American wishes, would be signing on the dotted line and would readily go along even if he is asked to own the plea for the need of foreign troops presence in the country beyond any date. It is not beyond recall that peace and security were taken for granted in the country only a few years back, before the Americans set their foot on the soil of Afghanistan; there was no terrorist threat emanating from anywhere. With their arrival and our unwisely reckless decision to jump on the war-on-terror wagon, turmoil and restlessness became our lot. Not only life and property are safe any longer, but also jobs are insecure; for the economy has taken a nosedive. Pakistan has lost 40,000 of its sons, including 5,000 security personnel. According to an estimate, our economy has suffered a staggering loss of nearly $70 billion, causing corresponding unemployment. Indo-US machinations are working to destabilise the country. The corrupt and incompetent leaders foisted on the nation by the sponsors of anti-terrorist war have taken full advantage of the peoples misery and made matters worse. We have reached a pass that defies identification. It does not stand to reason that we should be wishing the agents of our troubles to remain here.