Afghan President Hamid Karzai has done something which heads of state normally do not do, but which is nothing less than habit for him: retract remarks he had made earlier. However, it was probably only a matter of time before President Karzai's weak knees buckled under the pressure from the US. His retraction of his statement, which was being viewed with favour in Pakistan and Afghanistan, of supporting Pakistan in case of an attack from India or the US, has been retracted. His spokesman relied on the standard politicians excuse of the remarks being misinterpreted. Though President Karzais remarks were based on the sound historical experience of the Afghan refusal to attack Pakistan during its wars with India, the remarks obviously did not sit well with the USA, which no doubt expected from the President whose chief patron it has been, or India, which has developed an interest in Afghanistan precisely because it does not want it neutral during any war it imposes on Pakistan. The original remarks were probably made so that President Karzai could remain relevant to Afghans, who are only too well aware of the difference between a neighbour with which there are deep bonds of friendship and an occupying force. However, the retraction came when, on more sober reflection, President Karzai realised that he had threatened the support which kept him in office. At the same time, the USA should realize that President Karzai was merely reflecting not just an Afghan resolve to stand by Pakistan, but also unease at the constant killings of innocent Afghan civilians by US and NATO forces. Because of the US-dependent nature of the Karzai regime, Pakistan should neither take comfort from Mr Karzais original remarks, nor be shocked by this retraction. Pakistan must rest its policy on what has been lacking since the Musharraf era: principles. We will also have to end our war alliance with the USA, for the sake of our own survival and to stop suffering the indignity of daily threats and insults which are becoming more and more difficult to stomach.