US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who was in Pakistan has sought Pakistan's support to prevent an expected Taliban spring offensive in Afghanistan, saying the allies had the chance to deal a "strategic setback" to the militants.
Gates said he had discussed with President Gen Pervez Musharraf and US commanders in Afghanistan how to increase pressure on insurgents on both sides of the frontier and improve coordination.
It is ironic to note here that President Pervez Musharraf has wholeheartedly extended his support to war on terrorism, but some officials in the government have defying the policy adopted by the president.
A report carried by a local newspaper of Pakistan showed the real picture. A notice outside a barber's shop in Khar bazaar of Bajaur Agency requesting customers not to push barbers to shave their beards is making some tribal youths "defiant".
Hazrat Jan, 30, terms the barbers' unanimous decision to stop shaving men's beards following militants' threats as "unacceptable".
"This is an unacceptable decision. I will roam around clean shaven as a sign of protest," Jan said.
Residents of Khar said that local barbers decided not to shave their customers following threats by militants that the practice was un-Islamic and violators would be punished.
Some 80 percent of customers visit barber shops to shave their beard and the militants' threat will hurt the barbers economically.
"We are facing a financial crisis," Amin Gul, a local barber who decided like others not to shave men's beards, said.
Subhanullah, another resident of Khar, described the militants' pamphlets as "forced enforcement of Islam". "We, as tribes, cannot accept it," the 25-year-old resident of Khar said.
The political administration has confirmed that the barbers were threatened, but it appears "helpless" in providing security to the barbers.
Security analysts, asking not to be named, said that militants would use Bajaur as a base to expand their "brand of Islam" to the northern districts of the NWFP after the southern districts "are increasingly influenced by the spread of Talibanisation".
"The Taliban are using Janikhel in Bannu as a base to spread their message across Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Karak districts. The Jandola area in Tank is a base used for similar reasons in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan," they said, adding that the Taliban had now made Darra Adam Khel a new base to spread to Peshawar.
The analysts said that security in Khar was deteriorating and the residents had now started viewing the deployment of security personnel in the area as a "security threat". They added that some shopkeepers were now stopping paramilitary personnel from standing near their shops to avoid being caught in the middle of militant action against security forces.
"People move away from government vehicles because the militants can blow them up through an improvised explosive device or remote-controlled bomb," a local journalist told Daily Times.
The journalist said that Khar residents suspected that tribal militants had distributed the 'anti-shave' pamphlets, but militant commander Maulvi Faqir Muhammad has denied that his group is involved.
The situation in the tribal areas is still tense.