President Hamid Karzai, who is accustomed to blowing hot and cold in his attitude towards Pakistan, is apparently passing through a kindlier phase. In an interview with a private Pakistani TV channel, he voiced brotherly feelings towards the country. His remark, "Afghanistan will stand by Pakistan, if attacked by the US," astonished the audience and apparently the interviewer as well. Probed further, he declared that even in the case of an attack by India, or for that matter, by any other quarter, Afghans would side with Pakistan. Seen in the context of the climate of tension between the US and Pakistan, the strategic partnership agreement he signed with India not long ago, and on top of it all, his periodic outburst against Islamabad, most recently accusing it of masterminding and even carrying out the murder of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, his statement is, indeed, a significant about-turn. Mr Karzai argued that Pakistans generous treatment of the five million Afghan refugees, who had fled the country during the Soviet invasion and provided shelter and taken care of by Pakistan, had strengthened the spirit of brotherhood among the people of Afghanistan for their Pakistani counterparts. He added that he could not possibly overlook that help extended at a critical juncture of Afghanistan's history and betray a brother...despite all that the Pakistan establishment has done to Afghanistan. But notwithstanding all his goodwill gestures, Pakistan may be forgiven for wondering how long the Afghan President will continue to hold such kindly sentiments for Pakistan. During the very same interview, he seemed to be toeing the American line about the location of terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan. He said that the so-called Taliban Shura was headquartered at Quetta and the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups were based in Pakistan. Despite the serious nature of the allegations about terrorist strongholds in Pakistan, our government should seize the opportunity of his commitment to defend the territorial integrity of our country and build further brotherly relations on the basis of this overture. In the process, it should be possible to convince him that no terrorist group is operating from the Pakistani soil for the nefarious purpose of destabilizing Afghanistan. President Karzai also vented his grievances against the US, asking it to stop entering Afghan homes. US and NATO troops are reported to enter ordinary peoples homes on the pretext of conducting night raids to get hold of Taliban suspects, but in reality they cause not only civilian casualties, but also outrage among the population that regards the sanctity of homes as a matter of honour. The Americans have dismissed the feeling, perhaps, on the ground that the invasion of their land has, in any case, turned the Afghans against them. Mr Karzai should realise that stabilising Afghanistan without the presence of US and other foreign troops is the only long-term solution that can pave the way for reconciliation within estranged sections of Afghan society.