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NYT: The War in Pashtunistan

December 5, 2009


Scott Shane examines the Pashtunistan region, and its implications for American foreign policy in the near future, commenting that "Mr. Obama's surge depends a lot on the hearts and minds of the Pashtuns - and who seems a winner."

WASHINGTON - The plan President Obama unveiled last week for Years 9 and 10 of the war in Afghanistan left a basic question begging for an answer: If Al Qaeda is the threat, and Al Qaeda is in Pakistan, why send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan?

In his address Tuesday night, the president mentioned Pakistan and the Pakistanis some 25 times, and called Pakistan and Afghanistan collectively "the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by Al Qaeda."

But he might have had an easier time explaining what he was really proposing had he set the national boundaries aside and told Americans that the additional soldiers and marines were being sent to another land altogether: Pashtunistan.

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