Wednesday U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to end the Afghan war before he leaves office.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is waiting nervously for new US strategy, worried that a U.S. troops surge would widen the war but also keen to see a robust U.S. commitment that would convince the Taliban to talk.
He said he would announce the results of his long-awaited review soon and it would include an exit strategy to avoid "a multi-year occupation that won't serve the interests of the United States".
There are nearly 110,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including 68,000 Americans, more than half of whom have arrived since Obama took office. He is now deciding whether to fulfil his commander's request for tens of thousands more, Reuters reports.
It was also reported, Obama's National Security Adviser General James Jones last week visited Islamabad carrying a message from his boss to Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari. The New York Times reported Monday that in the letter, Obama urged Zardari to rally his nation behind a joint campaign against militants who fight the Pakistani government and those who fight U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan. Obama was also reported to have demanded more decisive action against al-Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan's tribal areas. In return, he reportedly offered a range of fresh incentives, "including enhanced intelligence sharing and military cooperation."
The problem, of course, is that Obama's letter may have gone to the wrong address. As a weak and unpopular President scarcely seen in public and now the object of growing vilification at home, Zardari is in no position to lead a popular movement against militancy, much less to redirect his army's focus. As ever, it is the all-powerful military establishment that will make the key decisions in Pakistan, TIME reports.
Meanwhile, a suspected US missile strike in Pakistan's north-western tribal region on Friday killed at least eight militants, while 13 more died in clashes with Pakistani troops, officials said.
The US airstrike took place in the Machikhel area, situated near the region's main town of Mir Ali, in the North Waziristan tribal district.
'We are receiving reports of at least two explosions which left eight militants dead,' an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
The local administration in North Waziristan, a known hotbed of Taliban and al-Qaeda members, confirmed the attack, but did not give details about casualties or the target, Monsters and Critics.com reports.
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