President Karzai had serious discussions during his recent visit to Washington DC. In an attempt to raise his own profile at home after the ridicule heaped on him following the charges of rigged election, he may have succeeded in some way. The US, realizing that it had no better option, tried to make the best of a bad bargain for cutting its losses in the war against Taliban. It appears that the two parties are stuck with each other and Karzai cannot be treated as a Diem in South Vietnam, his disrepute for known corruption notwithstanding. Amid the 'outbursts of Hillary Clinton and the shrewd statesmanship displayed by her President, whatever emerged as a joint-policy may be no better than being old wine in new bottles. Karzai appears to have persuaded the US administration to further postpone their much-vaunted June-attack on Kandahar. As per the propaganda war, this was planned to be a follow-up to the Marjah/Helmand offensive, which the US claimed to be a great success initially. On the ground, however, they met fierce resistance for about six weeks but even now the forces are holed up there and remain under threat. They are, reportedly, distributing big cash as goodwill money among the locals to stay safe. For the execution of this policy, private contractors are also said to be doing a great job not only in the south of the country but also in parts of north. Karzai has been pleading for abandoning the plan to attack Kandahar like Marjah through, what is called 'operation Mushtraq which stands for something jointly conducted by the US troops and Afghan counterparts. This, he claims, would help his 'charm offensive whereby he wants to win over his 'estranged brothers among the Taliban, etc. In a way his prayers were answered. Tactically, this is only a puny palliative and no solution as per the ground realities. The last week turned out to be pretty demoralising for the foreign forces. Bagram base, the bastion of US forces and atrocious detentions, was attacked by the Taliban on one night. A day later, a Kabul suburb saw a similar attack. On Sunday, Kandahar Garrison of US forces was also raided in an equally daring fashion. Though the casualties in all these strikes were, reportedly, 15 soldiers with many more injured yet the message conveyed was clear. Much against the propaganda of the last three months to the effect that the Taliban were dithering due to lack of people, arms, etc., and were facing serious divisions, the hits spoke loudly of the position on ground. In addition, it projected the launch of the spring offensive, which the Taliban had announced earlier on. Throughout the history of Afghans, spring has always been the start of forays against any foreign force, generally, by the locals. It is a fact that the Taliban have no access to the latest weaponry nor have an air-force. The US has indiscriminately used its air force against them till General Chrysthal ordered its very discreet use. He probably feels that the civilians killed as 'collateral damage create dangerous ill-will among their surviving families. In most such cases, people have joined the Taliban to avenge the killings of their dear ones, as it is obligatory in the Afghan culture. Though McChrysthals orders are not always followed, yet there is considerable improvement in the gung-ho attitude adopted by the troops under George W. Bush. Lately the US troops also offered compensation in terms of money for the damage done to a family. Though they never apologise, as one officer explained sometime back that an apology would be tantamount to admission of guilt as per their law, yet making some amends is a good gesture. After nine years, the Americans do not seem to have learnt that in the Afghan way of life, a public apology is a prerequisite, which is to be followed by damages determined by a jirga. This is like unintentionally proving what Rudyard Kipling, a scion of British colonialism, had said: East is east, and West is west and never shall the twain meet. Despite carrying the huge 'white-mans burden, the course of the contemporary times, he still had great respect for the people, who successfully defied British suzerainty in the high hills of Afghanistan. President Obama addressed West Point cadets last Saturday evening with the stuff that appeared to be beautifully-worded platitudes. He upheld the move to deploy more forces in Afghanistan, which he had revealed to them in his address six months back. The burden of his argument was that though hard times were ahead for the foreign troops, they will still prevail due to their valid stand. This is like John Bolton, the neo-con, saying the US has no other way but to win in Afghanistan. All this is either wishful thinking or a negation of history. The US had a chance to cultivate tremendous goodwill of Afghans when the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001. Afghans, generally, had no love lost for the authoritarian ways of the Taliban, as it also interfered with their autonomy. However, the total dependence of the US on warlords and poor response to the need for reconstruction of the battered country were self-defeating. The US forgot that Afghanistan had suffered at the hands of the Soviets and then more atrociously in the US attacks in October 2001. Under the garb of democracy, it was a field day for corruption, insecurity, warlordism, unemployment, etc. The US has a history of supporting corrupt regimes when it suits its interests, particularly in Asia. It was this very antic that made the Americans lose so badly in Vietnam and it appears to be the business as usual even now which is fraught with dangers for their allies and the US itself. No wonder the Taliban started gaining ground around 2005 in Afghanistan. The local population having lost faith in the new system under the US now views the foreign forces in a different light and more of them tend to support the Taliban. It is a danger also for the surrounding countries but the US appears to have missed the boat. Even Pakistan is doing some dangerous dribbles, unknowingly, which may ricochet with an awful cost later. The writer is a former Interior Secretary.