A Whole of Government Approach

December 17, 2009

We are delighted to introduce a new feature on the State Department’s DipNote Blog that will focus on our whole of government efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With an integrated team from 10 U.S. Government agencies, the State Department is moving forward right now with the President’s new civilian and military strategy for Afghanistan and with our strategic partnership with Pakistan.

Our objectives are clear. As the President reminded us all in his West Point speech, America was attacked on September 11th from this region, and the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the epicenter of global terrorism. The President reminded the American people and the world that we still have the same goal we’ve had since he took office: We must deny Al-Qaeda safe haven and ensure that it cannot operate from either Afghanistan or Pakistan.

In Afghanistan, we must reverse the Taliban’s momentum and weaken their capabilities as we build up Afghanistan’s ability to defend itself. Our aim is to weaken the insurgency enough that international combat forces can leave and Afghans can take the lead in their own security while improving the lives of the Afghan people. In Pakistan, we must continue to support Pakistanis as they lead their fight against extremism and strive to meet the pressing needs of the Pakistani people. We will forge a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan based on common interests, including a determination to eliminate safe haven for terrorists.

Our military commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended, but we will not abandon Afghanistan. Even as international combat forces hand over to Afghan security forces, we will continue to partner with the Afghan Army and Police. The civilian development assistance that is so important – building up agriculture, helping with rule of law, the role of women, education, health – must and will continue. Our partnership with Pakistan must be enduring, and we will persist in the face of skepticism by building trust over time.

Stability in this region is critical to nations around the world. Our objectives are shared not only by our ISAF partners, but also by Russia, China, India, and Muslim countries across the Middle East, all of which face a common threat from Al-Qaeda. Over the next few months, our interagency team will work with international partners across the globe and in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to make rapid progress.

We will use the new Afghanistan and Pakistan channel on DipNote to delve more deeply into the critical elements of the civilian effort. We hope these postings will lead to a greater dialogue on our efforts to help stabilize the region and ensure that Al-Qaeda is disrupted, dismantled, and defeated in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the course of the next few months, we look forward to regularly sharing with you some of the activities and stories of the many people committed to our success.



Soohan D.
December 22, 2009

Soohan in Pakistan writes:

Pakistan was formed in the name of religion ie Islam, & it was said at the time of formation it will be theocratic state, until the Pakistan is on earth the terrorism in the name of Religion not get its end,only the solution is in acceptance of the Right self determination Nations; Sindhis, Balochs & Pakhtoons, when these National states will be formed the terrorism willvanish it self, as Nationalism will combat Religious extremism.

Tariq B.
Minnesota, USA
January 25, 2010

Tariq B. in Minnesota writes:

Dear Af-Pak Team-
I have just returned from Pakistan after spending 3 weeks in Karachi, Lahore & Islamabd. Although it is quite remarkable to see the engagement of your team in the US with its people, but unfortunately, cannot be described the same in Pakistan.
I read every major newspaper daily in English/Urdu and watch every major political talk-show, and have not seen ANY substaintial coverage/ackowledgement of USAID engagement there. WHY? well, thare are many reasons of course, but one critical that we can manage, instead of asking for others, is to make "public message" ads and run on prime time. For example- I observed while traveling with my 7 years old son, in a train ride from Karachi to Lahore,(a 24 hours journey with frequesnt stops) that there is lack of public vigilance for suicide bombers and/or explosive devices. There is NO such compaign from the government either. The delicate balance would be to air such compaign DIRECTLY to the people of Pakistan FROM the poeple of US, not the Government of US. People are against the US policies not the country.
I will leave this here for now and would share my observations, if someone is interested.

Tariq B.
Minneapolis, MN

Tariq B.
Minnesota, USA
February 5, 2010

Tariq B. in Minnesota writes:

One potentially powerful resource that has been overlooked by the State Dept. are the Pakistani-Americans in the US.
If a pilot program is initiated, encouraging experienced Pakistanis to help State Dept. efforts to help Pakistan in various disciplines, would be extremely worthwhile.
At a time, being a white male/female get instantly with Blackwater, or CIA, Pakistani Americans can both accomplish the objective of actually helping the people and softened the image that has been in deep mistrust.
I have a plan to get this community involved, and utilize this untapped resources.


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