30 Issues: Pakistan and Afghanistan

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Former New York mayor Ed Koch, now partner at Bryan Cave LLP and radio host, says the next president should pull out of Afghanistan before Iraq.

Steve Coll, president and CEO of the New America Foundation, staff writer at the New Yorker Magazine and author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, with Barnett Rubin, director of studies and senior fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, and Tariq Ali, novelist, historian, one of New Left Review’s editors and the author of The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, will talk about what the next president faces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sabahat Ashraf, a writer/blogger who makes his living as a technical writer in Silicon Valley and covers events in Pakistan, and Sarah Chayes, founder of the Arghand Cooperative based in Kandahar and former NPR reporter, will talk about Afghan and Pakistani society.


Tariq Ali, Sabahat Ashraf, Sarah Chayes, Steve Coll, Ed Koch and Barnett Rubin

Comments [40]


bunch of smug bl show comments as usual.

long live Hizzoner!

Oct. 30 2008 07:32 PM
hjs from 11211

how much would it cost to modernize Afghanistan. bet it's cheaper than war without end. GWOT!

Oct. 30 2008 11:55 AM
O from Forest Hills


I was dreaming of this wonderful man I love and didn't sleep.

I am very pro Obama.

I do think though that the government should turn to psychics to help. I think bin Ladin, I will write that so I don't mess up again, bin Ladin is in Pakistan in the mountains. I think he is hiding in an underground cave system. It sounds like a James Bond movie with Pierce Brosnen, but truth is stranger than fiction. I am a writer I should know.

Police use psychics and mediums to solve cold crimes, I think they should use them to find bin Ladin and to bring him in.

Oct. 30 2008 11:54 AM
AWM from UWS


I knew there was a reason. I thought someone had hijacked your handle.

Oct. 30 2008 11:50 AM
James B from NYC

Maybe we can negotiate a deal with the Taliban. If they give up Bin Laden & the entire Al Queda organization to the US Allied coalition for trial at the Hague we will withdraw our troops from the Pushtun parts of Afghanistan. If they don't we will undertake to mobilize on a scale comparable to the force needed to utterly subdue them WHEREVER they are - in the Pushtun parts of BOTH Afghanistan & Pakistan - perhaps enlisting India which would be happy to finally be rid of it's only real security threat. The war of radical Islam is against Jews, Christians, Hindus, moderate (most) Muslims AND Liberals & Secularists of ANY stripe. Time for a grand coalition to bring them down - the world can do it. Even China, Pakistan's only major ally could probably be persuaded to join the effort, or at least remain neutral, as it is increasingly concerned by radical Muslim separatists in it's far western provinces.

Oct. 30 2008 11:47 AM
AWM from UWS

So now Obama thinks that his diplomatic success depends on the contrived perception that he thinks he is an international "hotshot?"

Brian, Brian, Brian... this is lazy stuff!

We know you don't like him but TRY HARDER!

Oct. 30 2008 11:46 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Thank you for clearing that up. Get some sleep O.

Oct. 30 2008 11:45 AM
O from Forest Hills

NO! I meant Osama Bin Ladin. I am tired. I slept five hours and I am under pressure.

I meant Osama!

The names are all getting mixed up. I am not trying to be cute or anything. I didn't even realize I was writing that.

Like I said, I am tired, SORRY!!:(

Oct. 30 2008 11:43 AM
Dude from Astoria

The bombing of the Marriot hotel was in retaliation of Karzai meeting with the Indian government and establishing alliances and consulates in Afghanistan. The Taliban which have a safe haven in the mountains in Pakistan view India as an enemy.
There was a great show on this on PBS a few nights ago.

Oct. 30 2008 11:43 AM
peter from brooklyn

The Pakistan government also has to deal with Indian Terrorists

Oct. 30 2008 11:42 AM
AWM from UWS


Do you read or do research?

Obama and McCain DO NOT have the same views on Afghanistan!

Oct. 30 2008 11:39 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

O FROM F: it is clear that your intent is to be disrespectful to the Senator. I am sure you think you are being clever, NOT.

Oct. 30 2008 11:38 AM
hjs from 11211

o, why do u keep saying Obama? is it a joke? not sure i get it

Oct. 30 2008 11:37 AM
AWM from UWS

As far as diplomacy in that region is concerned, Pakistan should be our first priority. Any unstable country with a nuclear arsenal should be first priority.

Oct. 30 2008 11:36 AM
detv8 from nyc

hey moderators, since you edit my comments, how about editing #17 "obama in the mountains" given where the b and the s are on the keyboard, this is hardly a typo.

Oct. 30 2008 11:35 AM
hjs from 11211

and there's so much poppy being grown in Afghanistan the the price is falling.

Oct. 30 2008 11:34 AM
Ralph Talarico from Hoboken

How can we succeed in Afganistan if the ISI is undercutting our position

Oct. 30 2008 11:34 AM
O from Forest Hills

Psychics have often helped to solve police investigations.

Maybe the government should listen to psychics to find Obama, that is my point, hjs.

There are many charlatans, but some people have a gift and pick up on knowledge but no one listens so, oh, well.

Oct. 30 2008 11:33 AM
Gerard Forde from Florida

Two things.
Brian should play over and really listen to the Koch segment of today's program.
About a month ago, Stephen Sackur interviewed Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Adviser on the BBC program HARDtalk. Brzezinski discussed the role the next president should play in educating Americans about the geography, history and politics of the rest of the world. It is unfortunately no longer available on the BBC iPlayer, but it should be required listening for all our "Pundits" like Mayor Koch.

Oct. 30 2008 11:32 AM
Mark from New Jersey

I am utterly baffled by the decision to give Ed Koch airtime here.
The former mayor is a charming, voluble, opinionated fellow, who already has his own radio segment(!), albeit on a different station, but no discernible foreign policy credentials.
What's he doing here?

Oct. 30 2008 11:27 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

This is the solution:

Diplomacy with Afghanistan and Pakistan and India behind the scenes.

Also put 200,000 troops American as well as NATO in Afghanistan and tell the rest of the world that they have to help Afghanistan become a contributing country in the world.

Afganistan can not fail.

Find Bin Laden and kill him and all around him.

Afganistan must be on the road to a peaceful welcoming country otherwise we will be attacked again and lose all credibility.

Oct. 30 2008 11:27 AM
hjs from 11211

i'm hoping ur post was a mistake

Oct. 30 2008 11:25 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

These segments are supposed to be enlightening. That's the assumption. So why is Ed Koch of all people -- parochial politician par excellence -- opining on this subject. Does he represent anyone but himself. Or is his the extreme position that everyone else can react to. In which case, you gave him too much time. Mostly it was embarrassing.

Oct. 30 2008 11:24 AM
O from Forest Hills

Obama is in Pakistan in the mountains not in Afghanistan. They need to focus on the mountains.

They are in an underground cave system like what was used by Christians to hide from the Romans way back when.

He is losing power in the ranks and there is some fighting among themselves.

Focus on the mountains in Pakistan near watersources and underground caves and watersources.

Oct. 30 2008 11:22 AM
KC from NYC

purple fingers were in Iraq, as I remember. fyi.

Oct. 30 2008 11:18 AM
Tony from Downtown Brooklyn

Ed Koch? Seriously? Was Joe the Plumber not available to discuss economic theory? Was John McCain too busy to come on and explain The Google? What qualified guest canceled at the last minute and required WNYC to bring on a has been former mayor to ramble about something he has absolutely no expertise in?

Oct. 30 2008 11:15 AM
DM from Brooklyn

As a reporter who has covered Afghanistan and Pakistan I am mortified that you have Ed Koch bloviating on your air as some sort of expert.

Ask him about the actual good work he did for low income housing (much of which didn't mature until he was out of office). Ask him about the awful job he did in responding to the crack epidemic. Ask him about Stanley Freidman and Donny Manes. But don't ask him about Afghanistan.

He reads the papers and he mouths off. Save it for the mah jong table.

Very disappointing.

Oct. 30 2008 11:14 AM
Robert from NYC

Bronx cheer on Bloomberg and Ed's opinion of him. I am back is disagreement with him. Big bag of wind.

Oct. 30 2008 11:14 AM

Mayor Koch has zero expertise or credibility on foreign policy matters. please make a note of it, brian and company.

Oct. 30 2008 11:14 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

Mr. Koch is dead wrong. Afghanistan can not be allowed to fail.

I agree we should get out of Iraq ASAP however these troops should be re-deployed to Afghanistan.

Also Obama when he's president should immediately meet with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan and work out a plan to eliminate the Taliban and Al Qaeda on the border.

We should also be helping the Afghanis build a strong and reliable infrastructure.

If we leave the country will fall into chaos.

Oct. 30 2008 11:13 AM
Lorenzo from NY/NJ

As proof of how far right the country has gone as a whole you only need to listen to this Democrat..

Oct. 30 2008 11:12 AM
detv8 from nyc

why would you even ask hizzzoner about this subject. he wasn't even be able to come up with the term mujahadin. Who cares about Koch?
"bomb them from safe areas" yeah, like we tried to do in Tora Bora right. This is the president that YOU SUPPORTED ED KOCH.

[[This comment edited. Please remember the posting policy and remain civil.]]

Oct. 30 2008 11:12 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Oh boy Ed Koch is on...keep him on a short leash Brian

Oct. 30 2008 11:10 AM
Robert from NYC

I can't believe I agree with the "late-period" Koch (I always agreed with the "early-period" Koch) BUT I do agree we should be out of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Oct. 30 2008 11:10 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

Ed Koch is great, but what foreign policy experience does he have to be commenting on this??
Why not check in with David Dinkins on this subject too?

Oct. 30 2008 11:10 AM
AWM from UWS

McCain told the country...

"I’ll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I’ll get him. I know how to get him. …I’ll get him no matter what and I know how to do it."

That's it? Talk about resting on your assumed advantage on national security.

Is this a plan? No. This is vague and presumptuous at best. Coming from a man who wants most of the military's resources focused on Iraq, where bil Laden ain't, it becomes even more troubling.

Oct. 30 2008 11:09 AM
hjs from 11211

Koch wants the "terrorist" to have safe haven?

Oct. 30 2008 11:09 AM
KC from NYC

Does the former mayor regret his strong, vocal support for George W. Bush?

If not, why not?

Oct. 30 2008 11:09 AM
hjs from 11211

any truth to the stories that Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, former head of Inter-Services Intelligence, the principal intelligence body of Pakistan, gave money to 9/11 plotters?

what connections still exist between the Taliban and some members of the Pakistan's government

Oct. 30 2008 10:58 AM

I am basing my views on the books "Military Inc. Inside Pakistan's military economy" by Aeysha Siddiqua and the book "Descent into Chaos" by Ahmed Rashid. I also saw the Frontline episode on Afganistan.

Is the way to contain the Taliban, and to prevent the collapse of Pakistan, is to oversee the orderly break up of Pakistan?

Maybe the Pashtun's could be isolated as a separate country.

The Balochs don't view themselves as Pakistani and perhaps a new nation composed of the Sindh and Punjab provenances could be constituted.

That way if the nukes are with the Punjabis, they can be out of the hands of the taliban.

Oct. 30 2008 10:41 AM

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