Asia Society hosted a discussion on these matters with speakers Sarah Chayes, founder of the Arghand Cooperative in Afghanistan, and Nicholas Schmidle, a former fellow of Institute of Current World Affairs who was recently expelled from Pakistan for reporting deemed unacceptable by the government.
Chayes and Schmidle argued that the Taliban need to be brought into the political process, that only when local populations are satisfied with their governments will the threat from the Taliban diminish, and that in the cross-border region Pashtun identity trumps both the Afghan and Pakistani ones.
Most importantly, as the speakers and members of the audience noted, the cost of grain has skyrocketed in each country since 9/11, making access to affordable food a defining factor both in Pakistan's recent elections and in how Afghans regard their government in Kabul.
Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, former US Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of the Asia Society, moderated the discussion.
Listen on Demand (1 hr., 8 min.)