To stumble twice against the same stone, is a proverbial disgrace. Cicero The US and its NATO allies have done exactly what was expected of them in Afghanistan. The 48 countries have now decided that by the end of 2014, all battlefield assignments will be handed over to the Afghan security forces. This process will begin next year (i.e. 2011) and will complete by 2014. In the meantime, three attempts have been made by the American administration and its puppet regime in Afghanistan, headed by President Hamid Karzai, to strike a deal with Afghan factions, but they have miserably failed. Indeed, without the support of these groups, neither can there be peace in the war-torn country, nor can the Karzai government survive. Peace negotiations between the leaderships of the US/NATO and the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups in Maldives failed because the Afghan leaders had demanded fresh, free and fair elections. At the same time, they want a share in the government according to their strength on the ground - a proposal that was not acceptable to the US administration or its puppet government in Kabul. Having been frustrated in their attempts to cut a deal with Afghan warlords, they have resorted to an often repeated demand, which is Pakistan should expand its military operation against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda hiding in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For this, the US wants Pakistan to divert all its troops and fire power from the eastern to western border, so that the occupation forces can carry out their mission comfortably in Afghanistan. The best possible route for the US to achieve such an objective could have been to nudge India towards a settlement with Pakistan on the issue of occupied Jammu and Kashmir. But the US has not only shied away from playing a productive role on this issue, but the leadership in Washington has also closed its eyes on Indias interference in Balochistan. It is well aware of the fact that India has established several insurgent training camps in Afghanistan, besides providing financial assistance and sophisticated weapons to them, and these militants are creating chaos and lawlessness in Balochistan. Despite this, Admiral Mike Mullen has the audacity to say that Pakistan needs to take practical steps against terrorism. Furthermore, the policymakers in the US, reportedly, are exerting pressure on both the Pakistani political and military leadership to allow them to strike the areas in and around Quetta by expanding the CIA operations, including drone attacks. According to reports, the Pakistani leadership has rejected US demand to expand drone attacks to certain areas in Balochistan, but has agreed to allow the CIA to increase its presence in Quetta. Apparently, the US administration has not realised that their policy of inflicting damage to the Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership has miserably failed. Because during the 200 plus drone attacks carried out by the foreign forces in Pakistan, at least 2,000 civilians have lost their lives as compared to 30 terrorists who were killed. These attacks have created immense hatred for the US that even after providing Pakistan with massive funds to help prop up its rapidly declining economy, the Americans would find little sympathy for them among the people of this country. Having said that, it has become more important that the Pakistani leadership redefines its foreign policy goals and tries to map out a strategy that will not leave the country in total isolation after the Americans pack up and leave Afghanistan. The writing is on the wall and it is now up to our leadership to read it carefully and devise a method that will allow it to protect the nations interests in the long run. One hopes that the Pakistani leadership realises the importance of coming events. It would be prudent if it develops a policy along with other regional players, like China and Iran, so that its approach towards Afghanistan carries weight after the exit of foreign troops. Then if China, Pakistan and Iran, along with the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups, agree that the best possible solution for Afghanistan will be a truly representative government, the US may also agree to it and something positive might happen before 2014. One hopes that with the situation changing fast pace in Afghanistan, the Pakistan government remains alert to the new developments, so that it does not suffer because of another mans sin in future. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: