Af-PakStrategy: A Survey of Literature
President Barack Obama unveiled his administration's comprehensive new strategy to deal with the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan on 27 March 2009. Since then there has been considerable debate and criticism, not the least of which concerns the term used by the administration and others – the “Af-Pak” strategy. As National Security Advisor General James Jones put it, the United States “will treat Afghanistan and Pakistan as two countries, but as – with one challenge in one region”.
This survey of literature aims to analyze the ongoing debate on the Af-Pak strategy. The existing literature can be broadly categorized into the following themes. Firstly, from the US perspective – most articles and reports see the strategy as harmful to US interests. Some see it as beneficial and very few focus on the motivations of the administration in linking Afghanistan and Pakistan. Second, with regard to Pakistan – most articles and editorials opine that the strategy is against Pakistan’s interests. Very few praise it, while some explore why the US should concentrate more on Pakistan. Third, from Afghanistan’s viewpoint – numerous articles focus on how the Af-Pak strategy is a deterrent to peace and development in Afghanistan, and very few praise the new strategy. Lastly, the Indian viewpoint does not see the Obama administration’s strategy as beneficial for Indian interests