Obama’s First Interview from Afghanistan

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Portions were just broadcast on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Calling the situation in Afghanistan “precarious and urgent,” Obama said the United States cannot wait until the election of a new President before it starts making plans to shift more troops into Afghanistan.

What struck me most was his tough talk about Pakistan, whose dysfunctional government has not been effective in going after the training camps on its border–the place from which, in the nightmares of U.S. intelligence and military officials, the next attack on U.S. soil is most likely to be launched. “The U.S. government provides an awful lot of aid to Pakistan, provides a lot of military support to Pakistan,” Obama told CBS correspondent Lara Logan. It is time, he said, to “send a clear message to Pakistan that this is important to them as well as to us. That message has not been sent.”

How would he send that message? One clue is a bill that Obama is co-sponsoring in the Senate with Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden and ranking Republican Richard Lugar that would triple humanitarian aid to Pakistani, but cut military aid, if the government does not do more about the terrorist activity on its border.

UPDATE: Commenter Stan explains the rationale here, which is something I should have done:

US humanitarian aid to Pakistan is peanuts compared to military aid… So what they are trying to do is to appeal to the moderates in the country why sending a powerful message to the military that inaction will not be rewarded…which has been the case under current US administration…

More on that Biden-Lugar bill.

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