IT is his nations firsthand experience of stepping right into the veritable bear trap of Afghanistan and carrying the scars of a humiliating defeat to this day, that former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev has warned the US to forget about victory in Afghanistan and to call back the troops immediately. He also blamed the US for meddling in Afghan internal affairs and politics in the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in the country. His statement that if the US had not armed the militants, Afghanistan would not have to go through such turbulent times today neatly sums up the great game that has been played in the country. However, at this point in time there is no option available to the Obama Administration to get out of the catch-22 situation, except withdrawal of troops in the quickest possible time. And indeed, the Americans have already been made a dreadful example of, like the Russians. The fact that the US generals are now desirous of negotiating a truce with the same Taliban whose scalps they were after post-9/11 and could not have conceived of ever talking to, is proof of how the superpower is utterly bogged down in the Afghan quagmire and is desperately itching for a face-saving exit. Apart from the fact that the US has been suffering heavy casualties, the political side presents an equally dismal picture as the Karzai regime that has been installed has virtually no chance of surviving once the occupation forces are gone. Although it is too late, the US government must pay heed to the words of Gorbachev and learn the lesson from the Soviet experience. At the same time, it must be realised that inclusion of Pakistan, especially in the reconciliation process with the resistance is indispensable. The current policy of destabilising Pakistan through drone attacks targeting neutral groups along with civilians would only serve to multiply the troubles faced by the US in its so-called war on terror.