The government coming to power as a result of Feb 18 elections in Pakistan seemed determined to negotiate with those who would lay down their arms and opt for a peaceful course. It wanted to restore peace because people detested the army action. To show their good intentions and to assess government's future course of action, the militants suspended their offensive against the government. But PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, after meeting George Bush in Egypt, returned with a transformed mindset. Instead of reconciliation, Mr Gillani talked tough against tribesmen and vowed not to negotiate with the hard-line militants, which was the reflection of Mr Bush's mindset. Why is US administration averse to our peace negotiations with the tribesmen? It realises the talks have no chance of success. Negotiate about what is the question. People of an independent country cannot reconcile to occupation of their homeland by the invaders. Freedom-loving Afghans, having lost countless of their men, women, and children to US-led invasion, would never allow the foreigners to continue to occupy their land. Even the US would like to negotiate with the Taliban but with an imperial attitude: Listen rustics, we have occupied your country and we are here to stay, define your terms for good behaviour. Moreover, there is not much difference between the militants, extremists, and Pashtoons when it comes to fighting an enemy. In this respect, to believe that majority of them inhabiting the southern regions of Afghanistan are different from Pashtoons living in our tribal areas is misleading. Ethnically, linguistically, and historically they share the same roots. A thread of common lineage inextricably links them regardless of the Durand line between them. Pashtoons have a long history of resistance in the past to protect their freedom. But what is US compulsion to occupy Afghanistan? Mullah Umar and bin Laden are both out of the scene, if at all they were remotely responsible for 9/11 that nobody in his right mind believes, not even majority of the westerners. Laden kept alive in graphically fabricated tapes and Mullah Umar nowhere to be found, why punish the rest of the Afghan men, women and children. Secondly, what brand of democracy runs America, where a large majority of its people are against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan yet the death and destruction in both countries continue unabated. American people seem helpless against the policies of the neocons, an extension of the powerful American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC). They have no recourse against the machinations by the octopus-the Jewish lobby. American public grieves only when it receives the flag-draped coffins of its soldiers. Lower middle class families of the soldiers realise that their sons, returning in caskets, had not been defending the frontiers of their country but had, in fact, been protecting the interest of military-industrial-complex and large corporations. Who are the sufferers and beneficiaries of the war? Sufferers are the families of economically disadvantaged whose sons lose their lives or they are grievously wounded to remain wheelchair-bound for life. And who are the beneficiaries, the fat cats? Consider the war in Iraq. US military supported by its armament industry, known to finance the election campaign of many congressmen and senators, invaded Iraq to destroy its infrastructure, buildings, dams, and virtually anything standing. Of course, it took care to secure the oilfields first. After destruction appeared the builders. Enron, Bechtel, Halliburton, Arthur Anderson to name a few, enjoying political patronage, grabbed the main rebuilding contracts. For instance, former secretary of state George Shultz appointed Chairman of the Committee for Liberation of Iraq was at the same time Director of Bechtel group. He first liberated Iraq then Bechtel clinched $680 million contract for its reconstruction. Does it ring the familiar bell - first to destroy then to rebuild. The situation in Afghanistan is no different. US agenda is to deploy armed forces of other countries to shore up its puppet regime, when done, award juicy contracts to the sharks-the conglomerates. A top American commander, Gen David Petraeus, claimed on May 22 that the next 9/11 style attack on US was expected from FATA in Pakistan. He based his judgement on CIA intelligence reports, which are only as much credible as reports on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. When Senator Jack Reed of the Senate Armed Services Committee asked if he agreed with intelligence assessments? "I do, Senator" dutifully replied the General. Senator Reed even blamed Bush administration for failing to engage Pakistan military in effective counter-insurgency operations in FATA. Gen Musharraf deployed around hundred thousand troops in the tribal areas and reportedly lost more than a thousand of them, yet the US administration remains dissatisfied with the performance. Lately the US delegations arrived in droves to browbeat the government to continue its military operations in the tribal areas instead of negotiating with tribesmen. These delegations not only met the president and the prime minister but also the army chief and a few opposition leaders. Americans do not want us to negotiate peace in FATA. They want to use our national army as a mercenary force to kill our own people and be paid for it. Who is running this country anyway? Is it the US or the government elected by the people? E-mail: