Damage control measures came promptly from both sides. The joint explanatory statement to the Kerry-Lugar Bill provided a face saving for Pakistan. Referral of the matter to the parliamentary committee by the Pakistani side has put the issue on backburner; this would asphyxiate the anti-America outcry. Overall, despite the fact that conditionalities would stay in letter, morally Americans have abdicated the leverage to implement them in spirit. So both sides can take a sigh of relief and claim that its a win-win situation. However, the public reaction to the Kerry-Lugar Bill reflected the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. The public was highly disappointed on three counts, firstly the contents of the legislation; secondly the way it was being defended by some local zealots, at par with holy gospels; and thirdly by the prevailing perception that native cahoots were hand-in-glove with the drafters of the legislation either through acts of commission or negligent omission. For a change, Indian lobbyists did not attract much credit The Kerry-Lugar document has indeed shocked the people of Pakistan, because despite all the sacrifices of the armed forces and the economic hardships suffered by the nation as a whole, the much-awaited legislation has brought only peanuts of an aid along with a string of humiliating conditionalities. It brought discontent to the armed forces for the reason that despite public and private praise for professional excellence in their role in GWOT, the Kerry-Lugar legislation was spitting venom of mistrust and contempt towards this institution and casting aspersions on the integrity of its leadership. Undoubtedly, the reaction by the armed forces was logical and befittingly articulated. This fiasco created frustration at a number of places in America as well. The US administration and the Congress were let down because they expected that the bill will accrue laurels, as according to their perception, it was a document, par excellence, for development of a long-term partnership with Pakistan through substantial economic help. Pakistani nation is accustomed to the strings attached to American aid Memories of Glenn, Symington, Pressler and Brown amendments, as well as the ensuing arm twisting are still fresh. However no one expected that Platt class of restrictions would be imposed or we would be brought down to the level of a lowly client state. Some of the terms are so intrusive that even our city or district governments are not used to this kind of invasive micro management Nevertheless, since SEATO, CENTO days, Pak-US relations have survived a number of such stumbling blocks. These bilateral relations are to the advantage of both sides. So, both parties have learnt to live with varied interpretations of legislative instruments. Almost all bilateral documents of understanding have had different interpretations for the consumption of American and Pakistani consumers; yet these inhibitions have never caused a critical rupture in bilateral ties. Hopefully, the Kerry-Lugar shock shall also be absorbed in due course. And both sides would live happily thereafter. Moreover, post-rumpus high level visits from the American side confirm that the worst is over and soon it will be business as usual, at least at government to government level. However, at the peoples level the crack may not heal soon, because this event has reinforced the prevalent perception that Americans are working on a long-term plan to destabilise Pakistan. Strings attached by the US Congress to the military assistance legislation are likely to further reinforce this perception. Emerging perception has it that the Americans have plans to stay in Afghanistan, militarily, for times to come. Their strong military presence is governed by their long-term national objectives in the region. Stationing of a heavy military contingent would need proportionate justification. Continued instability could provide requisite raison detre. Hence, sustenance of status quo in the ongoing turmoil in this region is being perceived as a sought after line of action. Pakistan is paying the price of faulty COIN strategy that the Americans have been executing in Afghanistan. The operations have been aimed more at causing an exodus of extremist elements to neighbouring countries (read Pakistan) than at eliminating them. This passing on of buck has resulted in causing perpetual mayhem in our tribal areas and beyond. It is because of this reason that Afghanistan appears calmer than Pakistan. As regards operational competence of the occupation forces, they have practically fortified themselves and are operating under the shadow of fear. Local agreements have been reached at a number of places, whereby the occupation forces have withdrawn to hardened garrisons, after handing over day-to-day administration of such areas to Taliban. By and large, the initiative has passed on to Taliban. Conversely, Pakistan is under the pressure of the 'do more mantra. Recovery of small arms of American origin from the extremist elements fighting Pakistani troops in the Malakand Division points towards the state of discipline and morale of the occupation forces, as well as incongruence of American and Pakistani objectives. Another factor that needs our attention is that Afghanistan is getting Indianised at a pretty fast speed. It would be difficult to repudiate this encroachment after the departure of the Americans, if at all they decide to quit. General McChrystals 'Initial Assessment takes note of the negative effects of this menace being radiated into the Pakistani territory. This proliferation of Indian influence has conveniently been ignored by the Americans over the previous years. Moreover, in the context of recently initiated operation Rah-i-Nijat, the American attitude was of indifference when it came to collaboration at operational and tactical levels. Some of the vital border checkposts on the Afghan side, adjoining the operational area, have been abandoned by NATO led security forces. This is likely to facilitate trans-border influx of personnel and logistics in support of extremists. Furthermore, a high profile suicide attack in Sistan-Balochistan province of Iran targeting the high command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards by an allegedly American biased outfit, Jundullah, could not have come at a worse time. This has caused an uncalled for bad taste between Pakistan and Iran. America as a nation appears to be loosing resolve and commitment towards GWOT. Public appeal and support for continuation of military operations is diminishing. Most of the countries contributing towards ISAF composition no longer have the stomach to continue doing so. There are disturbing reports that some components of ISAF have been paying protection money to Taliban There are glaring contradictions vis--vis dubious American designs and Pakistans overly simplistic and unconditional association with American objectives. Hence, there is a need to initiate a national debate to reassess the viability of our Pak-US policy in Afghanistan context, and take corrective actions. The writer is a retired air officer of the Pakistan Air Force. Email: khalid3408@gmail.com