Putting the “Pak” Back in Afpak

I switched out from the climate change panel to a panel on Afghanistan featuring Spencer Ackerman, Heather Hurlburt, Robert Greenwald, Anne Richard, and Richard Smith. At one point soon after I entered the room, Hurlburt observed that everyone on the panel kept acknowledging that Pakistan is really the more important half of this equation and yet all the talk had been about Afghanistan. So she got her panelists to briefly address Pakistan. But then with that done the discussion shifted again, as if by force of gravity, back to Afghanistan.

That’s reflected my general experience of how these discussions go, and I think it’s a real problem. It’s genuinely true that the situation in Pakistan matters more and that the Afghanistan situation is worrying primarily because if its possible implications for Pakistan. That means we really do need to be talking about Pakistan.