Join a Discussion With Ambassador Holbrooke on Afghanistan and Pakistan

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 15, 2010
Conversations With America Discussion With Ambassador Holbrooke Replay

Update: Watch the broadcast here.

On Monday, April 19, 2010, Marc Grossman, Chairman of the World Affairs Councils of America, will hold a conversation with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the Obama Administration's work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The discussion will be moderated by Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. The event will be streamed live on DipNote at 12:30 p.m. (EDT). You will have the opportunity to participate through the submission of questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now here on DipNote.

This event is the first in a new video series launched by the Bureau of Public Affairs in which the State Department's senior leadership will hold conversations live, online with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations from the international affairs field. Discussion topics will include foreign policy and global issues. These forums will provide a view of how leaders from the foreign affairs community engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues and how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

Comments

Comments

Janet
|
North Carolina, USA
April 15, 2010

Janet in North Carolina writes:

1. AQ Khan is under house arrest in Pakistan after helping Korea, Pakistan and Libya develop their nuclear programs.

2. Pan Am 103 bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was returned to Libya in 2009 under house arrest.

3. Libya's Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi has declared himself king of Africa in the plan to reform the Caliphate (57 OIC countries)

Taking these three factors into consideration can we conclude that the myth of (a small isolated group of radicals) al Qaeda being the driving force behind Islamic terrorism isn't necessarily accurate? What steps are being taken to educate the public and government officials on this situation?

Elizabeth D.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
April 15, 2010

Elizabeth D. in Washington, DC writes:

My fiance is in Afghanistan and many members of his company have been killed because they are not allowed to shoot at the Taliban because of the "winning the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people strategy... has this become more important than our troops lives?

Laura G.
April 15, 2010

Laura G. writes:

1.)When the West fights in Afghanistan, it's disaster. Look how the Afghan war destroyed the Soviet Union! Why does the U.S. think the outcome will be any different for us? Are the people running the show really so arrogant?

2.)When are we going to stop supporting Israeli apartheid and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine? (@MiddleEastMnt-Action is essential to prevent another round of ethnic cleansing in Palestine http://snipurl.com/vi860)

Andrew S.
|
Minnesota, USA
April 15, 2010

Andrew S. in Minnesota writes:

We're spending too much on Defense appropriations and not getting enough for our dollar. When are we leaving Afghanistan and Iraq?

Masood
|
California, USA
April 15, 2010

Masood in California writes:

Current adminstration is doing excellent job engaging people on important issues. Looking forward to participate through submitting questions.

Follower P.
April 15, 2010

FAP writes:

Please articulate the U.S. policy for our goal for Afghanistan. Exactly what do we intend to see in the next 3-5 years? What is the end state of our involvement once the security piece is stable?

Follower of Afghanistan Policy

Tanveer B.
|
Oregon, USA
April 16, 2010

Tanveer B. in Oregon writes:

CRS Report for Congress Updated May 24, 2005 -- Can WAC President explain why WAC is still supportng Mushraf? The Oregon Chapter of WAC invited Musharaf for a talk!!! Also, how come that CRS report [given in 2005] so clearly pointing out the foly of Supporting Musharaf but USA still did it -- Please read this excrept from the report:

"Many analysts believe the advance of democracy and civil society in Pakistan is key to the long-term success of stated U.S. policy in the region, although the 9/11 Commission Report implies that in the short run, anyway, supporting Musharraf is an absolute necessity. At a July 2004 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, all three private witnesses, who were veteran Pakistan watchers, agreed about the potential problems inherent in a perceived U.S. preference for bolstering Musharraf’s authoritarian leadership at the expense of Pakistan’s democratic institutions and civil society. One witness offered that Musharraf is best seen as a 'marginal satisfier' who will do only the minimum expected of him. He recommended that, 'The United States must alter the impression our support for Pakistan is essentially support for Musharraf.' Doubts about Musharraf’s popularity have been echoed by a leading Pakistanianalyst, who contends that all of the Pakistani president’s major policy shifts after September 2001 have come through compulsion by external pressure or events and that, while the direction of Pakistan’s policy change has been appropriate, 'the momentum of change is too slow and awkward and unsure to constitute a critical and irreversible mass.' Many leading Pakistani commentators insist that only byallowing the country’s secular political parties fully into the system can the country realize stable and enduring democracy."

Jesus A.
|
California, USA
April 16, 2010

Jesse A. in California writes:

Question: Ambassador Holbrooke...in brief what is the overall economic strategy for the United States for the countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Tanveer B.
|
Oregon, USA
April 26, 2010

Tanveer B. in Oregon writes:

My question to the Panel is: How will US react to the UN Report on Benazir Bhutto's murder. Especially as the UN Report clearly places the blame of Benazir Bhuttos murder on Ex General Musharaf: The real culprits responsible for Benazir’s Murder: Commander Colonel Jehangir Akhtar, was present at the hospital through much of the evening. At one point, the ISI Deputy Director General, Major General Nusrat Naeem, contacted Professor Mussadiq, the head supritendent of General hospital, through Colonel Jehangir’s cell phone. When asked about this by the Commission, Major General Nusrat Naeem initially denied; This Nusrat Naeem is lying – The next one named in the UN report is the relative of Musharaf’s wife Major General Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad, then Director General of Military Intel – Now as the report has been made public it's imperaive that US and all other UN members stop providing protocol to Musharaf and instead hand him over to the Pakistan Government - This will be the best and easiest way to win the Hearts and Minds of 160 Million Pakistani who love Bhutto! I'm sure no sane policy maker will like to miss this opportunity -

Sumit B.
|
India
April 16, 2010

Sumit B. in India writes:

I am Sumit from India working with IT company and have great interest in Indian and US diplomacy .I would like to put up question to the US council affairs given below-:

1)If the UN and other Intnl sources knows the terrorist camps are there in pakistan and jehadi groups why there is not an intnl treaty to demolish those camps and put them to justice .This is the disrespect to the human sentiments and to the nation as whole .

2) I belong to India and have seen and seeing also in Kashmir, Mumbai that the govts are not giving more attention on Human rights and security and there should be a platform where people can communicate with the govt on security issues and the concern should be take seriously .

3) I will happy to see one day when US and India will come clean on security and human rights and open govt plan to communicate with the public .

Z
|
Georgia, USA
April 16, 2010

Z. in Georgia writes:

In an ideal situation, what role would be played by militants like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the Afghan government?

Again, in an ideal situation, would government power in Afghanistan be more centralized or diffused?

What does the capture of Abdul Ghani Baradar mean for U.S. efforts to negotiate with moderate elements of militant groups?

Annabele M.
|
Indiana, USA
April 16, 2010

Annabele M. in Indiana writes:

What's is the best way to protect Pakistan's nuclear arsenal from falling into the wrong hands? Is nuclear security our main concern here or targeting terrorists?

Shelia
|
California, USA
April 16, 2010

Sheila in California writes:

Is Pakistan a failed state? How can the interntaional community help? What will India do?

Ejaz F.
|
Pakistan
April 16, 2010

Ejaz F. in Pakistan writes:

Dear Ambassador Richard Holbrooke,

The acute shortage of Energy is severly effecting the economic growth of Pakistan.

What cooperation & assistance the US Government could be expected to initiate in liason with the Government of Pakistan for the production of Electricity?

Danny C.
|
California, USA
April 16, 2010

Danny C. in California writes:

I would like to know what kind of agriculture can replace the Poppy Fields in Afghanistan. My thought was to utilize astronomy and agriculture so the Islamic strengths from their history (science and agriculture) will create peace. I wanted to add several Planetarium platforms to educate the children about the times and seasons for the new crops you propose to them.

Samir K.
April 16, 2010

Samir K. writes:

There is an old proverb in Afghanistan "To each person his own country is like Kashmir." This phrase originated when Kashmir was known as ideal beautiful spot like a paradise.

As of now Kashmir is in the grip of brutal insurgency. So when Kashmir is not in good condition how come do you expect Afghanistan to become normal anytime soon. There are too many linkages between the two that cannot be overlooked.

Pakistan too has been harping on same phrase that Kashmir issue should be solved and peace in entire South Asia will follow. Are you planning in any way to help resolve this 60 year old dispute that can give rise to another nuclear war?

ADNAN K.
|
Pakistan
April 26, 2010

i am Dr. Adnan Khan and i belong to village Sultanwas Distt Buner Pakistan. silly as it may sound but its very extremely important for me individually that i want Mr Holbrooke to use his influence in expediting my visa processing which has taken a 6 months since i applied for the visa at the Islamabad embassy office of the USA on 23rd October 2009 and the only information about my visa is that its still under processing. i belOng to that very family which suffered the most being a part of the village Sultanwas that suffered the brunt of the war on terror spearheaded by the UNITED STATES and Mr. Holbroke would agree with it.

Adnan khan s/o Sultan zeb
passport number KS4111581

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
April 16, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Would Ambassador Holbrooke please illuminate us as to how we can overcome over a hundred years of Western colonialism in this region? What are we doing to show them that we not are just following in the footsteps of Great Britain and Imperial (and Soviet) Russia? Is there more that we can do?

Katherine B.
|
Utah, USA
April 16, 2010

Katherine B. in Utah writes:

Pres. Obama has recognized the critical importance of access to postsecondary education and training as an important counter to poverty here at home and as a vital component of American competitiveness in the global economy. As such he has announced efforts to try to create new opportunities to extend college access to more young people here in the U.S. As the United States seeks to invest in the social and economic stability of Pakistan, isn't access to education and training equally important for Pakistani young people?

Is there a role that the U.S. can play in helping improve access to such educational opportunities for the young adults in Pakistan that might help counter the appeal message of radiacal jihadists?

chris a.
|
Australia
April 17, 2010

Chris A. in Australia writes:

Hi Richard firstly I would like to say you did a fanatsic job with Cyprus and secured its future and sercurity within the EU: This has now placed the ball squarely in Turkey cousrt weather they want to part of the EU family or carry on with there backward thinking: With Afghanistan I think not only islamist from Pakistan BUT from all parts of the world are have there finger in Afghanistan because they dont want the US and it allies to succeed: It would not surprise me that Iran, Syria and others including Turkey islamis are secretly funding the taliban: What do you think?

Bethanie
|
Pennsylvania, USA
April 17, 2010

Bethanie in Pennsylvania writes:

First I want to say that this is really an awesome opportunity. This is really a creative way to show that yall are including and actually talking to non govt people on these important subjects. You guys are really on the cutting edge when it comes to technology and engagement, and this is a great addition...

Can you explain what you mean by "integrated civilian-military plan"? Who are these civilians? Is it safe to insert them into a military operation/conflict zone? What is this plan?

Thanks again

Han
|
South Korea
April 17, 2010

Han in South Korea writes:

One of the obstacle to win the Afghanistan war is the Talibanizing of Afghan.

There are many reasons for them to be a member of Taliban, but the biggest is because of money.

Winning the war cannot only be done by winning the battle. More important than having better forces and power is gaining public sentiment.

What could make us earn public sentiment in Afghanistan, then?

The solution is to create jobs and provide Afghan publics to develop themselves in very shortly,

However, it is difficult to create many jobs in Afghanistan currently and shortly.

It is because of lack of capital, infrastructure, and so on.

USA may end the war themselves, but cannot win Taliban and Al-Qaeda alone.

If the war ends in this way, Afghanistan will subordinate capital, industrial, and political actions within the Chinese territory.

The answer is, Set up a labor intensive business in Afghanistan to reduce antipathy against US and win popularity, and separate popularity from Taliban.

I have one idea, and would like to send this idea to whom it may concern.

milt k.
|
California, USA
April 17, 2010

Milt K. in California writes:

1. Gen McChrystal's first battle was militarily successful. However, per news reports we definitely failed to restore confidence for the civilians given that at night the Taliban came over and continued harassing the people who had accepted damage claims from the US. This showed poor intelligence and lack of proper plans to prevent the bad guys from acting so freely in undoing all that we did. Simply said I believe this strategy will not work when you enlare it to apply in the whole country. Am I wrong on this? Are we going to contiue it again?

2. Subsequently to the above experience we found Karzai having second thoughts about his Western Allies. Wow. Now we have even bigger issue in Afganistan: namely that as far as all definitions are concerned this is now a failed state since it has no leadership that we can count on. Then how do you expect to succeed in #1 when there is no reliable government to turn the freed cities to it?

My conclusion is stop all military campaigns. Wait until the next election and hope you have an honest candidate. Then ensure you have someone you can trust and Afgans can trust. Only then proceed with country building. Else, get out without face saving.

Elaine M.
|
Hawaii, USA
April 17, 2010

Elaine M. in Hawaii writes:

Why does our policy fail to acknowledge that our military presence in both Pakistan and Afghanistan stimulates, causes, and encourages the Islamic fundamentalists to attack? After all, they want paradise and killing Americans is a sure way to get there. Many military historians agree that a foreign occupier cannot succeed against this sort of enemy. The more I read about the middle east's history, the more convinced I am that we simply are not on the right path.

Muhammad K.
|
Pakistan
April 26, 2010

Muhammad K. in Pakistan writes:

There are my two questions for Ambassador Holbrook,

1. To start the war against terror was the choice of the US government. They started it near the bordering areas of Pakistan, threatened and forced Pakistan to join this war, which destroyed their infrastructure, national fabric and damaged their society physically, mentally and economically. The US officials were speaking loudly for their conferred favors and proudly showing their wallets to Pakistani officials. Is it not disgrace and against the moral of 180 million people?

2. The Afghans and Osama bin Laden were not capable of 9/11; the world would not be fooled any more on this point, do you agree?

M.AKRAM N.
|
Pakistan
April 17, 2010

Akram N. in Pakistan writes:

For stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan,I will like to forward following Ideas to Sir Richard Holbrook for his Kind consideration.

"Union of Afghanistan and Pakistan"

The only solution to the present problem of instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the Union of these two countries based on principles of Democracy and Federalism. In history, Durani Empire was composed of all the areas in which today's Pakistan and Afghanistan are located, and during the Mughal Empire together they were a single country. In the initial period of the British Empire, they were also the same country.

Later, some forces that had vested interests kept a distance between these lands. Consequently, border areas between these two countries became hiding places for criminals of both countries, thieves of automobiles and other stolen goods. They are stored in this region. This large uncontrollable area is a base for many evils.

Here narcotics are grown; addiction is destroying the youth and humanity. Because the region is not developed and poverty is rampant, people are attracted to extremism and militancy.

Union of both countries will make the single government more responsible in stabilizing this region and in satisfying the nationalistic pride of its inhabitants. People will be able to serve humanity as other large nations of the world do. Otherwise, this region will always remain a nuisance for the world. It destroyed Soviet Union. It may also take down the western world, which will be a great blow to the development of Science and Technology, especially Medical science.

Advantages to the world:

Control of terrorism:

Instability in this region is causing great damage to humanity. Soldiers of many countries are sacrificing their lives just to eliminate terrorists from these countries. In the presence of a unified government, it will be easier to control terrorists.

Control of extremism:

As a unified nation composed of multiethnic groups such as the Punjabis, Sindhis, Baluchis, Pashtuns, Urdu speakers, Tajiks, Persians and Hazaras, and as a multisectarian society such as Sunni and Shiites, it will become impossible for any ethnic group or religious sect to find any future in extremism.

Stabilization of the region:

Although it is now that the problems of this region have gained attention, it has suffered from instability for a long time. People here are finding no hope, no future for themselves, partly because of interference from foreign countries, such as the British Empire, Soviet Union, USA, China and India. When they were unified under the Durani Empire, the region was stable. The same was the case during the Mughal Empire.

There are three main groups in Asia, i.e. the Chinese, Hindus and Muslims. Chinese and Hindus are satisfied with their states of China and India. The Muslim population in Asia is greater than the Chinese and Hindus combined. However, having no comparable state of their own they experience the stress of inferiority. That element too is causing instability and irritation amongst common Muslims. By creating a unified state of Pakistan and Afghanistan, a sense of satisfaction, pride and respect of having a national state will be achieved. That might lead to normalization of relations with the rest of the world and stability.

Solution to economic problems

At present, both countries are burdens on others, and pose barriers in exploring the resources of Central Asia by the world. After stabilization, it will be useful not only for Central Asia and for the World, but also for the new unified nation itself.

Advantages to Afghanistan:
o Through unification, Afghanistan will cease to be a land locked country. The union will promote freedom of people of Afghanistan to travel and engage in economic activity,
o Extremism and terrorism will come to and end, as the people will become more engaged and involved in adjusting themselves in the new union. Utilization of raw products of Afghanistan will increase.
o Security and military expenses will minimize.
o Doors to Pakistan will open to Afghanis who look for jobs in Pakistan.
o Shortage of food products in Afghanistan will decrease and it will increase the utilization of raw products of Afghanistan.
o Linking Central Asia via Afghanistan to the rest of the world will generate extraordinary development.

Based on above observations, suggestions and predictions, it is clear that unification of Pakistan and Afghanistan will be fruitful for everyone in the region and for the world at large.

Hashim K.
|
Pakistan
April 17, 2010

Hashim K. in Pakistan writes:

Q. The weapons of mass destruction were not there in Iraq but they were with the US and the US used them nakedly in this area. Murdered several hundred thousand innocent people. The history will remember this period as the act of the US even crueler than Changaz Khan. These are the crimes against humanity; will the US President return the Nobel price for peace which is not NOBLE any more with him?

Q.2 The Drone attacks in Pakistan even with the resolutions of the parliament are criminal and illegal acts. we did not declare war against the US so the US does not have any right to attack in our territory. If we forward all the record of destruction and loss of our property and lives to the international court of justice, war crime courts, American courts and UN general assembly how will you defend it?

Muhammad K.
|
Pakistan
April 17, 2010

Muhammad K. in Pakistan writes:

How you see the role of the US embassy in Pakistan, the common people are complaining their involvement in destabilizing their country. If they call international monitors and UN agencies for a search operation of the US embassy in Islamabad to recover the illegal weapons, spying equipments and other record of their involvement in extra ambassadorial activities. Will you open your embassy for that purpose?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 17, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Question for Amb. Holbrooke,

What do you think it will take to convince a "timber baron" to put his weapons down and plant trees, along with all his followers in the Korengal valley?

Sir, may I suggest something and see if it makes sense to do while you ponder this?

Pardon me for suggesting that "god's law" is something he'll surrender to when he sees sat. photos over decades that shows the extent of deforestation in Afghanistan, and you appeal to his pride that this is man's work, and that since a man's law forbade cutting trees and put him out of work, Karzai can put him back to work planting trees and please God in bringing his country full-circle by restoring its natural God given resources, for all Afghans. Never mind putting food on people's tables with some money in their pockets.

( I'm proposing this idea after reading the recent Wash. Post article describing the "misunderstanding" we have had with the locals)

Thanks for taking the question, and I hope the logic of diplomacy makes a profound difference to the peace of this nation, and our's.

Dwayne
|
Oregon, USA
April 18, 2010

Dwayne in Oregon writes:

Do you see this situation in Afghanistan & Pakistan as a US issue, global issue, or something else? Are we open to solutions that don't reflect US culture, world view and/or philosophy?

Pages

.

Latest Stories

April 22, 2009

Every Day Is Earth Day

About the Author: Billie Gross serves as a Public Affairs Specialist in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science at… more

Pages