As the United States ponders its Afghan strategy, Pakistan is waiting nervously, worried that a US troops surge would widen the war but also keen to see a robust US commitment that would convince the Taliban to talk.
US President Barack Obama pledged on Wednesday to end the Afghan war before he leaves office.
He said he would announce the results of his long-awaited review soon and it would include an exit strategy to avoid “a multi-year occupation that won’t serve the interests of the United States”.
There are nearly 110,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including 68,000 Americans, more than half of whom have arrived since Obama took office. He is now deciding whether to fulfil his commander’s request for tens of thousands more.
That has raised worry in Pakistan of a spike of Afghan violence spilling over the ill-defined border into Pakistan where its army is battling its own version of the Taliban.
Those fears were raised recently in talks in Islamabad with visiting US national security adviser General James Jones, a senior Pakistani government official said.