Of late America's next putative president Barack Obama, the first African American to potentially grace the White House, has swung by Afghanistan to have an inkling of how international efforts to make mincemeat of extremist elements are forging ahead. During his fleeting visit, Obama has met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. He also had breakfast with the US troops in Kabul and an informal chat with them about their experiences in the country that stands plagued by vicious forces of violence. The low-down on the visit is that it was a link in the "senator's chain" of shoring up his foreign policy credentials. Over and above, it was also aimed at setting off Republican searing laceration that he does not have the makings to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces. To say the latest, this visit can be dubbed as a political stunt. During his visit, Obama has pressed for the US troops to be pulled out of Iraq and sent without further delay to Afghanistan to fight the diabolical War On Terror. He has called for at least two more brigades to be sent to Afghanistan to put down insurgency. All this lends colour to the fact that Obama is also subscribing to Bush's off base views about Afghanistan and he is going to be under the heels of the same military-petroleum complex that has pulled the strings of Bush's imperial-minded presidency. It seems that Obama is still wet behind the ears. If Obama thinks that the Afghan resistance can be smashed by more brute force, he is away off the beam. He knows damn all about the underlying geopolitical or tribal facts about Afghanistan. If there will be a surge in US-NATO troops and more places bombed, all this will add up to a fiercer Afghan resistance. A troop increase will enhance nationalism because the Afghans are substantially anti-American. So pushing for an expansion of America's military presence in Afghanistan is hogwash. In point of fact, even after six plus years the war in Afghanistan drags on. There is no scintilla of peace, human rights, democracy and reconstruction in the country. Terrorism and insurgency are at their apogee. US-NATO forces are spilling the blood of innocent civilians that has swelled the ranks of the Taliban. The picture that emanates from Afghanistan is that Karzai has his toes curled and himself barricaded into the palace. Law and order has flown out of the window and Afghanistan's name is being bandied about as a failed state. The Taliban have made the foreign troops to face many reverses. What tees one off is that America learns the hard way. It should have learnt a lesson from the British and Russians in Afghanistan. In the 19th century, the British Empire recoiled in horror and suffered unconscionable losses when it invaded Afghanistan and erected a puppet regime in Kabul. The puppet fell in a trice when the British could not asphyxiate resistance. By 1842, Afghan mobs turned on the Englishmen who remained in Kabul and killed 16,000 soldiers. However, Bush waved aside these facts when he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan and now he is writhing with embarrassment. The fact of the matter is that the US has gone into a country that is not accustomed to allowing others or their puppets as Karzai to take over the country. Obama is cynosure of all eyes at this time as he is going to be in the Hot Seat. The result is in the lap of the gods as the situation is a real cliff-hanger. Received wisdom has it that brutal tactics will not work miracles and America cannot for life romp to victory in Afghanistan. So being mindful of these facts, Obama should not go for any retrograde step. He should put his thinking cap on the issue of Afghanistan and go for the policy of political settlement to put an end to the exasperating Afghan war. "To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war," as Winston Churchill once remarked. It is high time to force the pace of efforts towards stabilising Afghanistan and going back to the drawing board. The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: irfanasghar99@yahoo.com