June ended as the deadliest month for the foreign troops, more so the US. According to ISAFs assessment, 103 soldiers got killed while many more were badly injured. Lacking missiles and air power, which is the monopoly of the foreign troops, the Taliban have to depend on the extensive use of IEDs. Such devices are supplemented by the traditional tactics of utilising sharp shooters in surprise attacks on the enemy all over, which now includes even the northern provinces. When Afghanistan was attacked by the neocons with the help of Russia in October 2001, which appeared to be wreaking vengeance for its defeat in Afghanistan in 1980s, the northern warlords colluded with the 'allies. In the nine years of this war, even north appears to have abandoned the foreign forces on the quiet. Most of these warlords have, however, struck deals with President Hamid Karzai to have some say in Kabul which offers a way to benefit from the widespread corruption and made easy drug peddling at the international level. Despite this, for the last three years, the foreign forces feel pretty insecure due to mounting attacks; so much so that the US contractors have largely resorted to paying goodwill money to the Taliban to allow their supplies passing safely through the north. The start of July has been equally harassing for the foreign troops. While the ground realities are turning grimmer, the US appears to be upping the ante on the psychological warfare (psywar) front which it dominates, with counterproductive moves, as it has the money, the media and EU on board. Last week the US media produced hilarious gimmicks to confound all those who care to listen. Leon E. Panetta, the current CIA chief, told a popular TV show that he believed Al-Qaeda was devastated in Afghanistan due to the hits by the foreign troops and the initiatives taken by Pakistan. He thought as such, it had only 50 to 100 people available in Afghanistan for fighting the US. To his bad luck, three days later NATO put out a statement whereby they claimed to have attacked the insurgents with the collaboration of the Afghan forces and to have killed more than a hundred and arrested some more for bomb-making in the east. The mounting number of attacks on foreign troops generally undercuts their credibility in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the statements by ISAF look most wishful, if not comical, to most Afghans. On psywar, the US has great advantages like it has in arms and firepower. It declares its dead after a prolonged process which lessens the building up of tensions among foreign troops. It can kill a number of people and then concede the same after protests and subject to its convenience or interest. It has a monopoly over the media, despite the greatness of some correspondents to try independent reporting. Moreover, the insurgents lacking all such means have to bank on making an odd call to some TV channel to give their version clandestinely. Despite all such handicaps relating to having access to publicity, they impress their countrymen, who are getting tired of the status quo after over nine years. Like always the foreign troops appear to be wilting under the jihad being waged against them by the Afghans. As awful insecurity, unemployment, corruption and killing of the Afghans persist the tide is generally turning against the US. This is so as it appears to be facing a conundrum for which it has no viable answer. COIN or no COIN, General Stanley McChrystal or General David Petraeus, not much hope appears to surface for the Afghans, as well as the people in Pakistan. No wonder, the lingo used by the US administration leaders or military officials carries a lot of spin. General Petraeus uses this technique par excellence. However, it loses its charm when one correlates it to the objective conditions in the war zone. Farid Zakaria, hosting his CNN show lost his cool and went on to call Afghanistan: a very expensive solution to what is turning out to be a small but real problem. Though US casualties are nominal, yet the monetary costs are becoming horrendous, more so when their economy is sinking despite serious efforts to redeem it made by the Democrats in the teeth of opposition from the Republicans. On the face of it, despite spinning the language brilliantly, the odds appear to be rather daunting for the foreign forces. As a reflex action, the situation in Pakistan keeps on deteriorating which also raises the costs to Pakistanis, politically and otherwise. The death and destruction caused in Pakistan undermines the US goodwill further. Washingtons debate about the ongoing war makes confusion worse confounded. Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, in an address to the Aspen Institute, maintained that his country will be involved in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars for another decade. Reflecting prudence, he conceded: We are not going to succeed in either place by military means alone. Unlike some of his warmongering colleagues, he stressed the indispensability of good governance and reconstruction which could lead to a viable economic system wherein the people would develop a stake. In addition, former Ambassador John K. Blackwell spun the tale of dividing Afghanistan on ethnic lines which may show influence of his stint in India. Many Indians, including Jasw-ant Singh, aspire that their sphere of influence, if not the boundary, should extend to the Oxus. This is a dangerous formula which can rip even India apart, besides many others all-round. Moreover, if history is any guide, the Afghans would keep on fighting with whatever they may have till the injustice is undone. All such stuff must be baffling for an average American, who could not care less about world issues. He only worries about USAs security which Panetta tells him is under threat from 50 to 100 Al-Qaeda mujahids. Being ignorant about the war zone, people wonder why about $5 billion worth of atrocious bombing by their valiant forces and the unaccounted-for killings of the locals, besides the destruction caused in Afghanistan, cannot induce the enemy to submit. Apparently, the US itself is providing strength to Al-Qaeda by following anti-Muslim policies. As a final word, US President Barack Obama had to duck to the war crime committed by Israel on the peace flotilla because of the stranglehold of the Jewish lobby. He wants Turkey not to look eastwards. This is 'oxygen for Al-Qaeda like IHK The writer is a former interior secretary.