The Coming Intensifying War in Pakistan

by Joshua Foust on 3/28/2009 · 6 comments

ALI AL SALEEM AIR BASE, KUWAIT — Talk about bad timing: I’m stuck in customs at Ali Al Saleem Air Base in Kuwait (which is itself a hellish—truly inhuman—experience I’ll discuss later) stealing patchy wifi, and President Obama goes and announces a whole new focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Needless to say, I greet his decision with wary excitement, both at the renewed focus this area will get (something I’ve been begging for for years), all the crappy punditry that will follow, and the outside chance that we might be able to accomplish something constructive in the area.

Of course, I haven’t read the plan in detail yet, and my efforts to load any of the webpages that host it have been as fruitless as a mulberry bush in winter (anyone want to help by emailing me the white paper?). But hopefully, in the next few days, I’ll be able to put something coherent, including a review of the views and phenomena we’ve explored in this space over the past year.

Now here’s hoping I survive the 15-hour flight, the psychological trauma of a 0530 run to CIF, and a string of flights back home. Ugh.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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sikander Hayat March 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm

People who understand this region of Afghanistan Pakistan know very well how closely linked these two countries are. There is no practice border between to the two countries as same ethnic group lives on both sides of the border and does not recognise the international border. Also for ages, as Afghanistan is a land locked country, all its trade is conducted through Pakistan. Resolving Pakistan will resolve Afghanistan and vice versa so for the purposes of eliminating Al-Qaida, this region should be considered one continuous territory and Afpak is an apt name for it.

By Sikander Hayat

Lee Brasher March 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Hello Joshua,
Lee Brasher here. I want to tell you that I do have a great respect for your committment to the region, and I will presume your experinces will only hone your viewpoints. As a soldier I was sent to Afghanistan. It was a good experience as far as that goes. As an academician, you have furthered your understanding and devotion to Afgahistan and to the region. You have more guts than anyone would only learns from books and lectures.You should be commended for this.
Ali A-Saliim totally sucks but the PSBs do what they can.
Hopefully, you are on a chartered flight, if not remeber that on some USAF transports the facilities can fill up quickly, esp. if the flight is packed.
Good luck and godspeed.

Capt James Richter March 29, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I hate to say this but from what I hear on the ground, Josh is a ******** that is completely clueless (or at least in denial) as to the terrible damage his program — ***************** which has seen three of its members killed and two others indicted for espionage and murder) is doing to our efforts here in Afghanistan as well as Iraq. I think it is time this “blogger” lives up to his responsibility and tell who he really works for, his deception has gone on long enough. Josh (assuming that is your “real” name: you all us all an explanation why you have decieved your readers) I assume this note will be deleted soon.

vengeance 7 March 29, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I much dislike the *** and how it operates over here but to lay the blame of the ************ by the system on Josh is a bit harsh

Joshua Foust March 30, 2009 at 5:46 am

Ritcher, you will not discuss my job here, ever. That is made clear in every place. This is your one and only warning. I will never pretend my employer is perfect — far from it — but this is not the forum to discuss this. I have blogged here about Afghanistan before my current job, and I will continue to do so after I move on to other employment. This blog is not funded, supported, screened, or approved of by my employer. As such, you will not drag them into it — I never blog about work, ever, and I will not allow someone to make this blog about something it is not.

Vengeance, I appreciate the attempt at defense, but that Ritcher fellow is way out of line. Like I said, I don’t think my employer is perfect by any stretch, but I do not speak publicly about my job for a very good reason.

vengeance 7 March 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Mr foust, can you e-mail me, I looked for contact information and found none. I have a question/situation that I’d like to?…clarify, I would rather it be this channel than others. Thanks,

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