The attack focuses international pressure on neighboring Pakistan, where many of the militants are said to be based.
Record U.S. fatalities there last month highlight the need for more troops, but reserves are few.
In the 'epicenter of terrorism,' democracy will benefit from an ease in US military pressure.
Officials want to ensure the change to a new administration goes smoothly.
Tuesday's deadly US incursion is under investigation, but it points up the contrast between the two nations' approaches to militants along the Afghanistan border.
Wednesday, a US airstrike killed 11 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border.
As Defense Secretary Robert Gates heads to Singapore, the Pentagon sees a turnaround in the Chinese security forces.
Taliban attacks are up, making this the worst season since the insurgency began and spurring greater Western troop deployments.