The 'surge' of US troops appears to have gone awry rather early. In just over two weeks, the ISAF' confirmed losses are far more than in any other month. As if this was not enough of a damper, the Taliban released the video of a captured GI indicating that it was a 'drunk US soldier' who had escaped his garrison in Paktika. The details released by the US nominate him as Pfc. Bowe R Bergdahl, 23, of Hailey, Idaho who had strayed during a patrol. MSNBC also conveyed that the main Hailey coffee-shop etc carry banners Get Bowe Back and that the whole town prayed for him on Sunday. His family/town welcomed the news that he was alive though the high command decried it as a violation of the relevant law. Apparently it is in sharp contrast to the indiscriminate pounding of Afghan targets when some 'intelligence' is received by the foreign forces. The fate of the victims, generally, hardly matters, prima facie, on the assumption that all involved must be 'bad guys'. Bowe, the scapegoat, makes some pathetic disclosures on the video. He accepts being "scared" because "I won't be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner." He adds a genuine emotion by claiming: "I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them everyday when I'm gone. I miss them and I'm afraid that I might not ever see them again and that I'll never be able to tell them that I love them again and I'll never be able to hug them." Finding the war very tough himself, he claims that his comrades are demoralised. He ends up with a moving appeal: "Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country. Please bring us home. It is America and American people who have that power." The craving of the captive GI is natural and poignant. Love of one's basic background etc, generally, is a human weakness. So is it for the Afghans who are being crucified for last 30 years by the power-game foisted, generally, by foreign elements. A Pushto maxim presses home: "To each person his own country is Kashmir." This is on the same lines as 'East or West, home is the best' found in many languages. Kashmir figures for three reasons. First, it used to be the nicest of spot in the world for scenic beauty. Second, it was ruled by Afghans as well Mughals which afforded their people the opportunity to go there for work etc. Third, Emperor Jahangir had said on getting to Kashmir: "If there is haven on earth, then it is this." Unfortunately now it is inaccessible for most Muslims due to the Indian "occupation" and even Hindus can't enjoy free access because of the on-going Kashmiri freedom movement. Kashmir's standing apart, the Afghan loves his own country jealously. This is amply reflected by the popular saying: "I would not trade my Khurasan for a hundred Kashmirs." History, generally, ends up as a tribute to the permanent defiance of any foreign incursion on their land. So far, the new US strategy in Afghanistan appears to be faltering. If Bowe can be believed, the forces find their mission to be stunning. Despite the awful asymmetry of power, it gives an advantage to the local enemy. Already the British forces are dithering due to decrepit ground realities. Their countrymen, generally, see it as an exercise in futility fanned by friends. No wonder, Adrian Hamilton wrote in The Independent on last Thursday: "The one thing we cannot do is to go on as we are, led by events and the despairing claim that "we cannot afford to lose this war." He adds: "History is littered with the graves of the soldiers who died obeying that call." Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, castigated the EU/Canadian troops for their inability to fight an insurgency. Acknowledging that the administration was losing support on this war, he asked them to gird up their loins. He warned that the US would wait for a year to see if it can clinch a win. President Obama had also indicated that the current policy would be reviewed once the Afghan elections were held in August. Subsequently, Secretary Gates announced another addition of 22 thousand troops and the time span of new policy indicated was three years. Amid such hotchpotch, four more GIS were killed in Kandahar besides the crashing of a UK jet. Tuesday saw massive attacks by suicide bombers in Gardez/Khost which killed Afghan officers only. Mounting casualties add strain on the soldiers and the public opinion. NATO's retiring Chief, Schaffer, after talks with PM Brown, called the losses in Afghanistan "tragic". Elaborating the consequences of "withdrawal" for Pakistan/the area, he emphasised: "If we were to walk away, Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban, with devastating effect for the people and there-women in particular." The democratic debate also gives an image of 'to be or not to be' sentiment which can't help those who are deployed in hostile areas. In contrast thereof, the local fighter feels badly wronged by the on-going occupation and thereby the destruction and killings caused to his country and people. His history/culture leads him to fight and his motivation remains single-minded. Like many others, their culture is highlighted by the proverb: "The white rice is enjoyed by Nazar Din, the shining swords were borne by Yeel Bugh." In this spirit, he also invokes God's mercy as he treats his fight as Jihad which gives his mission an additional vigour. Despite being terribly out-gunned, he fights with the faith that if he wins he lives as Ghazi (a blessed one); if he falls a martyr he is promised the Heaven. He is also bolstered by the conviction that, as per history, the foreigners would decamp with heavy losses. As the northern warlords and Karzai are seen as accomplices of the foreign forces, it incites fierce reaction since ethnic divisions tend to assume dangerous proportions, particularly in the aftermath of 2001. On top of all that, the Afghan seriously believes that time is on his side despite being at the receiving end. This keeps the resistance-pot boiling. The US policy appears to be heavily influenced by their experiences in Iraq. History, geography, and culture point out that the two countries are different except for Islam. Despite the brave resistance put up by the Iraqis to the invasion a la WMD, asymmetry of power, internal divide allowed George W to fool his people with a 'Mission Accomplished' slogan. Initially the Sunni minority fought bravely while Shias maintained an uneasy government under the occupation. By contrast, Pashtuns are the biggest majority while the northern warlords represent, generally, other groups. The latter like Karzai are seen in a bad light as such. So far no foreign power has been able to 'occupy' Afghanistan. The cost borne by the Soviet Empire for such a lapse is rather recent history. Amid 'sound and fury', the Pashtun culture also advises: "Live together and bury the axe." Dryden's wisdom: "Thou strong seducer, Opportunity." The writer is a former secretary interior E-mail: