NEW YORK - An influential American newspaper Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to visit Pakistan and explain to the Pakistani people his strategy for the region that has raised concerns in the country. "Presuming security needs can be met, President Obama should visit Pakistan so he can tell Pakistanis directly that their fears of abandonment or domination are unfounded," The New York Times said in an editorial: Pakistan and the War. "Mr. Obama also must keep nudging India and Pakistan to improve relations. That may be the best hope for freeing up resources and mind-sets in Pakistan for the fight against the extremists," the editorial said. The Times said: "President Obama has articulated a reasonably comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan, but there is no chance of defeating the Taliban and Al Qaeda unless Pakistans leaders stop temporizing (and in some cases collaborating) and get fully into the fight. "After the Sept. 11 attacks, former President George W. Bush tried to buy off Pakistans military leaders who pocketed billions of dollars in American aid and continued to shelter the Taliban. Mr. Obama must demand more while finding ways to bolster the countrys weak civilian leadership and soothe anti-American furies. "In a world of difficult strategic and diplomatic challenges, this may well be Mr. Obamas toughest. In his speech last week, Mr. Obama laid down a marker for Islamabad, declaring we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear. In private, administration officials have been even more explicit, warning Pakistani leaders that if they dont act the United States will, including with more attacks by unmanned aircraft. "Such strikes have killed several top extremists, but the program is hugely unpopular in Pakistan and Mr. Obama must be judicious about expanding it. That means three things: extremely careful targeting, no civilian casualties or as few as possible, and no publicity. Drones wont be enough. Pakistans civilian and military leaders must finally be persuaded that this is not just Americas war, it is central to their survival. In recent months, the Pakistan Army has gone after Taliban fighters in the Swat Valley and Waziristan. Yet the Army leadership is refusing to strike at the heart of the Taliban command in Baluchistan Province. "In part, they are hesitating because of legitimate fears of retaliation. But there are also many Pakistani officials and not just in the intelligence services that continue to see the Taliban as an ally and long-term proxy to limit Indias influence in Afghanistan. To change that thinking, Mr. Obama will first have to persuade Pakistanis that the United States is in it for the long haul this time. The president sent conflicting messages in his speech, promising Pakistan a long-term partnership built on a foundation of mutual interest, mutual respect and mutual trust, but also suggesting that there will be a quick drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan. "Mr. Obama privately has promised Pakistani military and civilian leaders what one aide described as a partnership of unlimited potential in which Washington would consider any proposal Islamabad puts on the table. Congress has already authorized a $7.5 billion aid package, over five years, for schools, hospitals and other nonmilitary projects. But this wont mean anything if it does not follow through and actually finance the program. The White House should also press Congress to pass long-stalled legislation to establish special trade preference zones in Pakistan... "