While it is true that president Barack Obama inherited the Afghanistan-Pakistan mess from his predecessor, George W.Bush, he is about to make it worse. He has approved a new strategy to eliminate Al-Qaeda/ Taliban terrorism and stabilize Afghanistan. The press, given to simplifying things, calls it a "military-plus" plan, and declares it superior to Bush's pure "military solution" to the Afghan crisis. The issues are complexer, and neither did Bush get it, nor does now Obama. What's this so-called military-plus plan, and why will it fail? In brief -- because the details are mint fresh -- the Obama administration plans to saturate Afghanistan with aid workers, agricultural experts, perhaps educationists, health and other technical assistants to revive the country and give the poor, backward population a hope for the future away from the Taliban. The general idea is to reach out to Afghans direct and not via the over-bureaucratized, isolated and corrupt Kabul. This is a certificate of no confidence against the Hamid Karzai government whose writ is said not to run beyond the capital city. For good measure, the surge of seventeen thousand troops is taking place, with military action against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda planned to be concentrated in eastern and south-eastern Afghanistan.

Besides, the Obama administration is moving ahead to get the major and regional powers in on his Afghan campaign. Russia is being wooed so alternate military supply routes to Afghanistan are available to NATO forces, and Europe is willing to engage Iran to do the same as Russia does, despite Iran-US differences which have not narrowed under Obama. India is being urged to restart the "peace process" with Pakistan abandoned after the November 2008 Bombay carnage. Also, the US has readied a bigger, non-military aid package to Pakistan conditioned on its greater cooperation against the Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

So why will the Obama plan fail despite some obvious improvements over the Bush scheme? To give hope to hopeless Afghans, or at least wean them away from the Taliban, is a laudable aim. But it will only work in a scenario of reasonable peace. In Kashmir in the mid-Nineties, army commanders brilliantly focussed on minimizing the threshold of violence (eliminating it was Utopian), and opened the way for assembly and general elections. Peace, or relative peace, returned to the Valley.

In Afghanistan, the violence, originating and radiating into the country from Pakistan, has shown no reduction for Obama's NGO-style peace plan to succeed. Indeed, the violence has increased, suggested by the surge and additional division-plus troops' requirement, and the decision to extend drone attacks to Baluchistan. But it will be little compared to the horror if the Taliban systematically sets about -- as it will -- killing or abducting these US civilian workers. What face will Obama have to show America?

The point is, no plan for connecting to Afghans will succeed so long the externalities that encourage and sustain Al-Qaeda/ Taliban terrorism aren't eliminated. For example, Saudi individuals and groups, less drug smugglers, are said to be financing the terrorism. Why isn't the US doing extreme rendition on them? Obama's liberalism fundamentalism won't counter terrorism anymore than Bush's neo-conservatism did.

Second, The New York Times (to quote another recent example) has exposed a hush-hush "S Wing" of the ISI that provides "money, military supplies and strategic planning guidance" to terrorist leaders like the Taliban's Mullah Muhammad Omar, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani all fighting the US and other international forces in Afghanistan. (Haqqani was behind the Indian embassy bombing in Kabul in July 2008.) Why hasn't the US sealed this ISI "S Wing" and rounded up its operatives?

What appears to be the case is that either in his anxiety to be different from his predecessor, or desperate for success, Obama is turning a blind eye to CIA or other intelligence that complicates the picture for him. Take one more input from Israel, that Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, but won't weaponize so long international pressure holds. If for helping out in Afghanistan, Iran demands nuclear-weapons-power status, what is Obama going to do? What is the American president going to do when there begins a massacre of American civilians parachuted into Afghanistan following his dream?

Do another 29 April 1975?

Get real, Mr President.

And India better stay out of Obama's reckless schemes for Afghanistan.