SPEAKING at the last session of the 45th Munich Security Conference, Mr. Richard Holbrooke underlined the difficulties in the way of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, saying it was 'much tougher than Iraq.' While pleading for more troops and equipment, he insisted that a new approach was required to turn Afghanistan around. A day earlier, while vowing to continue to work for a stable Afghanistan, US Vice-President Joe Biden had observed that "no strategy for Afghanistan can succeed without Pakistan." He also made it known that President Obama has ordered a strategic review of Washington's policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan to make sure that the goals are clear and achievable. As it undertakes a policy review the Obama Administration needs to realise the futility of the policy of reliance on military means alone to end insurgency in Afghanistan, and its fallout on Pakistan. As Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the conference, the West itself had midwifed the radical groups who have destabilized the region and are a cause of worry to the world, to defeat the Soviet Union. After achieving the objective, it turned its back on the region and the lethal forces it had unleashed as if they did not exist. The viruses of extremism and terrorism have now become highly deadly and complicated. They can be brought under control only through a comprehensive strategy that must include diplomacy and development as vital ingredients. Unfortunately, whenever attempts by Pakistan to engage the militants started bearing fruit, these had to be abandoned under US pressure, which told Islamabad to rely solely on shock and awe methods. The results were horrendous. Whatever promises were made for development in tribal areas, like the establishment of RoZs, turned out to be sheer lip service. There is a need under the circumstances to stop the drone attacks which have caused widespread resentment. To stabilize the tribal areas, large-scale economic development should be undertaken. Side by side with this, talks need to be held with those willing to negotiate to lay down arms and enter the mainstream of politics. The Obama Administration has won elections on the promises of peace in Iraq. It must not get bogged down in Afghanistan now. Pakistan has paid heavily in social and economic terms while fighting the War on Terror. It needs billions of dollars to revive its economy and undertake rehabilitation and development in tribal areas. The idea of involving other countries in the region is fine, but the nature of their involvement has to be clearly spelt out. Bringing in India into the effort without first resolving the Kashmir issue would strengthen the perception that there is a move afoot to encircle Pakistan. Mr Holbrooke's mission therefore must include the resolution of the Kashmir issue.