GENERAL Kayani has done some much needed plain talking at the two-day NATO meeting in Brussels, where he has told NATO members to understand Pakistans strategy and the comprehensive approach to the problem of FATA - similar to what the US and NATO were now contemplating in Afghanistan. He also pointed out that unless there was cooperation between NATO and Pakistan, the enemy could not be defeated. General Kayanis remarks come at a time when the US leadership seems to have forgotten the vital fact that Pakistan is a vital ally for its efforts in Afghanistan, because President Obama in his latest State of the Union address chose to completely ignore this critical allys role in support of the US in Afghanistan. Yet, the US knows only too well that without Pakistan they will be nowhere. At a time when the US has still to turn the military tide in Afghanistan, General Petraeus admitted that the Pakistan military had broken the back of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). That is why the Pakistan military needs to now focus on its more holistic approach to isolate the TTP-Al Qaeda remnants from the tribals. Also, at a time when the US military is becoming increasingly war weary - with General McChrystal stating that as a soldier, my personal feeling is that theres been enough fighting with reference to Afghanistan and US Defence Secretary Gates recognising that the Taliban are part of the political fabric of Afghanistan. The UN has moved to remove five Taliban leaders from the Terrorist List and Karzai has gained support for dialogue with the Taliban in Afghanistan from the neighbouring states. So, unless there is a covert agenda for Pakistan, the US call for Pakistan to continue on a suicidal military-centric approach in FATA has little rationality to it. Beyond this, General Kayanis reiteration of the need for NATO to recognise Pakistans role in the fight against Al Qaeda and to give it a bigger role in finding a solution for Pakistan was also timely. Pakistan, as a neighbour of Afghanistan and as a state that has paid the heaviest price for the US-led war there post-9/11, has to ensure that its interest are not sacrificed. It also has to ensure that its hostile neighbour India is not allowed space in Afghanistan. Unless the US and NATO are prepared to concede this ground, Pakistan will find it difficult to continue its vital cooperation. Also, as General Kayani pointed out, to have the vital trust between NATO and Pakistan, there has to be meaningful intelligence sharing. Kayanis blunt message to NATO on military matters needs to be emulated by the political leadership for strategic cooperation with NATO in Afghanistan.