Top U.S. and Pakistani experts have urged the Obama Administration to focus more on economic and political dimensions of a solution to Afghan insurgency as they warned against opposing temptations to pull out precipitously or escalate militarily since both moves would destabilize Pakistan and the region. Testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the security and foreign affairs experts argued that defeating the Taliban insurgency must not rely on force alone. The hearing took place as President Barack Obama and his top national security aides weighed options for a way forward in Afghanistan, where eight years after the launch of a counterterror war, the U.S.-led international forces are struggling to contain an expanding Taliban insurgency. John Kerry, chairman of the influential panel, set the tone for examination of possible strategies with a candid observation that any U.S. strategy in Afghanistan must take into account the fact that it would have profound repercussions for neighboring Pakistan. Steve Coll, head of The New America Foundation, a Washington-based public policy institute, shared the view that neither an abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. forces nor a troop surge is the answer to troubling Taliban insurgency. He called for pursuing a more sustainable solution. It would make clear that the Taliban will never be permitted to take power by force in Kabul or major cities ... it would seek and enforce stability in Afghan population centers, but emphasize politics over combat, urban stability over rural patrolling, Afghan solutions over Western ones. And it would incorporate Pakistan more directly into creative, persistent diplomatic efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and the region. Maleeha Lodhi, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, pointed out the adverse effects a U.S. military escalation may bring for Islamabad and the region. It will lead to an influx of militant and al-Qaida fighters into Pakistan, she feared. Dr Lodhi warned that a surge in U.S. troops would enhance the vulnerability of U.S. and NATO ground supply routes throughout Pakistan, and result in more Afghan refugees pouring into Pakistan. It could endanger, erode and unravel the key public consensus that has been achieved in the past one year to fight the militancy, she said. The choice for the United States should not be between an open-ended escalating military engagement and cut-and-run from Afghanistan. Both could be disastrous for the region, for Pakistan, and, I think, for the United States, too, she cautioned. A quick withdrawal, she said, would repeat the strategic mistake of the 1990s when the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan to the chaos that nurtured al-Qaeda. Nor should the West risk being trapped in a Vietnam-style quagmire, a war without end and with no guarantee of success. The former diplomat and now a scholar at Woodrow Wilson Center pointed out that Pakistans stability has been gravely undermined by the twin blow-back from Afghanistan. First, the Russian occupation --- two million of the three million refugees are still in Pakistan today. Second, the unintended consequences of the 2001 U.S. military intervention which, increasingly pushed the conflict into Pakistans border region and further fueled the forces of militancy. A military escalation, she advocated, is unlikely to succeed because more troops will inevitably mean more intensified combat even if the stated aim is to protect the population. The primary target, al-Qaeda, can be neutralized in Afghanistan and in the border region with Pakistan if it is rejected and ejected from the Taliban sea in which it survives. Military escalation will push the Taliban even closer to Al Qaeda. An escalating war will also intensify regional rivalries among neighboring paths, she said citing Pakistans concerns about Indian involvement in Afghanistan. Milt Bearden, a former Central Intelligence Agency, who worked as station chief in Islamabad, called for a broader and deeper understanding of the regional security dynamics, cautioning that happenings in Afghanistan are bound to impact Pakistans stability. Whatever we do, whatever measures we take, will affect Pakistan as the central element in this drama. But moreover, I think that we will be unable to come up with a policy that makes any sense unless we step back a few meters, look at the entire region, and try to understand what everybody is up to. He also reminded of the lessons the history of recent military involvements in Afghanistan offers. The Soviets spent 10 years, with an average troop strength of 120,000, said Milt Bearden. This was always enough to fuel an insurgency that matched every effort that they put out to quell the insurgency. But it never, ever was enough to defeat that insurgency.There is no, in my opinion, there is no possibility for the United States to provide enough troops in Afghanistan to pacify the situation, he said.