The Taliban terror, which swelled following the increase of US forces in July to ensure a peaceful election, hit a new benchmark. After their success in defaming the election-process and its scandalous outcome, reportedly 62 Americans including three federal agents got killed in October. This occurred while President Barack Obama was weighing his options following his prolonged deliberations in the White House/Asian tour. He withheld his final strategy so that Karzai, despite rebukes from all his mentors, could get sworn in for his second term. Before October, around 50 troopers were getting killed each month. This is bound to shock the US which is already seething with anguish. As the national draft is not enforced, the death and injury to volunteer troopers involves a broad spectrum of US citizens. Recently, a US official told me that the people were now getting genuinely concerned. Pakistan is facing constant attacks on softer targets across Indus as the military makes fresh gains in South Waziristan. On some occasions, the Taliban have denied responsibility for such attacks wherein the victims are women and children like in the case of Meena Bazar, Peshawar. People suspect that such attacks are being carried out by some other elements which want to weaken Pakistan. As the war of words between India and Pakistan has gone on for about a year, the former is considered as the prime suspect in collusion with Israel. Such a paradigm automatically invokes criticism of the US, generally, even among people who are basically against extremism. The lack of security for the people in Peshawar is making them irate against their government as the response to daily loss of life, property and peace appears to be shoddy. As the law enforces are equipped only with bravery, many of them have perished in the call of duty. The government appears to be failing to provide them the indispensable equipment used in such operations by advanced countries. COIN demands a certain degree of specialised training, equipment like scanners, cameras, Drone-surveillance, etc. This seems to be like asking for the moon from our government. As our people are dying daily, nobody appears to bother as governments would in free countries. Look at the US. President Obama delayed his Asian tour by a day, which may have serious implications, just to attend the memorial service of those killed in the Fort Hood tragedy. He has also to receive the coffins of those who get killed in Afghanistan. Such is the pressure of public opinion in a democracy. To our shame, media statements shield the powerful from taking the risk of visiting beyond their 'Red Zones' to offer fateha. This being taken as a norm, other officials also tend to follow suit. Serious resentment is building up among the people in Peshawar and soon it may escalate. The resentment targets the provincial government, which cannot even provide adequate medical relief, generally, to the victims of the bomb blasts. For the law enforcers, it is like firing with AK-47 on the latest jet bomber. As the federal government is not taken seriously by the US, no supplies are received or deployed to redeem the worsening situation. Hence its graph is falling sharply even if people overlook the NRO jolts which rule Islamabad. The US is also getting a bad name for the awful killings as people expect it to supply the wherewithal to fight against the extremists to the benefit of the AfPak and the US. Lately, CM Peshawar has announced a plan to fortify the security of his provincial capital. Given the above ground realities, Pakistan and the US must unconditionally cooperate to win peace. This appears to be a far cry. Every now and then doubts are cast on Pakistan's will to fight or its civil-army clash of interests and nuclear 'threat'. This further aggravates the image crisis being faced by the current set-up. On top of all this, the people in Peshawar are seeing their loved ones being killed every now and then while they have to behave like handicapped spectators. Besides, the Indian government appears to be acting arcane. Whenever it faces losses in Kashmir, due to the ongoing movement against its 'occupation', it starts blaming Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on CNN and on landing in Washington DC last Sunday had the same mindset. He is an honourable man with proven integrity so one would expect him to sound more genuine. Fear of the high caste mafia, who rule the roost in India while bribing some low cast leaders, made him pillory Pakistan pointedly. The burden of his charge was that the US should not trust Pakistan in AfPak as its nuclear arsenal was unsafe besides its comic governance passing for a democracy. He must have felt flattered by the Senate resolution eulogising him (India) for their exploits. Without mentioning Kashmir, he told Fareed Zakaria of the Newsweek: "As I said, we have been the victims of Pakistan-aided, -abetted, and -inspired terrorism for nearly 25 years. We would like the United States to use all its influence [to persuade] Pakistan to desist from that path." In mid-October 2009, ABC/Washington Post said: "US commanders have requested 40,000 more US troops" and found the public divided (47 percent for, 49 percent against). President Obama due to his exposure, worldview and brilliance has decided, as per Dionne of Washington Post that Afghanistan is "neither Iraq nor Vietnam." India may be a great country but while it carries the Albatross of Kashmir, peace will keep eluding this area. Pro-surge critics are pushing on to disparage Obama for his "saucy doubts and fears" a la Shakespeare's Macbeth. David Kilcullen, a COIN expert, compares Afghanistan to a ".,.building on fire, and it has got a bunch of firemen inside." A decisive push to save the building or help the firemen escape becomes inevitable. He advocates more troops soon. Obama will have to cross the Rubicon to save the US interests and Democrats' goodwill. Despite Indian pretensions, Pakistan cannot be wished out of the AfPak solution. The US should stay the course. By boosting Pakistan's COIN capacity fast, future peace gets guaranteed. India may not look very powerful if Pakistan makes unilateral peace out of desperation Moreover, President Obama is reported to have activated the closet channel contacts with the Taliban. An exit strategy seems to be the only way out without abandoning AfPak; here again Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can help as per their traditions. The writer is a former secretary interior.