There is no disputing Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilanis contention that the Afghan peace process will not succeed without Pakistans participation. This view is now being shared by a large number of writers in the US as well. First of all, when it is contended that Pakistans role is indispensable to solving the overall Afghan conundrum, it should not be misconstrued as a selfish attempt by Islamabad to merely secure its own interests. Rather, it must be seen as a friendly gesture to help out a brotherly country. Pakistans inclusion in the reconciliation process assumes all the more importance given the fact that the US attempts to woo sections of the Afghan resistance have not had much success and, except for the puppet regime in Kabul, virtually the entire countrys populace is braying for the blood of the American forces. A majority of warring factions in Afghanistan, for instance the Haqqani network and sections of Taliban, are still reportedly giving the cold shoulder to the US and the fact that they are relatively less hostile towards Pakistan would make a lot of difference if we were to be made part of the talks. So Mr Gilani is right in saying that the peace initiative in Afghanistan will not bear fruit unless Pakistan is taken on board. Islamabad is also right in urging the US not to forget about the composition of the Afghan society especially with respect to the Pashtun population. Of course, there are Pashtuns in greater numbers in Pakistan as well which explains for its close cultural and historical affinity with Afghanistan and hence it would be wrong to see the Pashtuns in Afghanistan in isolation from their brethren across the border. The US bent of mind to keep the Pashtuns away from the corridors of power and their disposition to give the reins of power disproportionately to the Northern Alliance, would stymie any possibility of peace in the country. And what is more, this would prove to be disastrous for Pakistans own stability given the way New Delhi has entrenched itself in the Northern Alliance. At the same time, the Pentagons monopoly over the decision-making process concerning the war on terror and its preference to rely on the use of force rather than dialogue is also a factor that would seriously hinder attempts at bringing stability to the war-torn nation. It is precisely this very arrogance that has led the US to underestimate Pakistans position in the Afghan equation. A lasting settlement of the prevailing quagmire demands that the US brings us on the negotiating table.