Foreign Policy

Pakistan: You Can't Afford Not to Care

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Probably no better time than when Obama is assuring us his predator drone strikes will not evolve into ground troops in Pakistan for the Concerned American to learn a thing or two about this land whose security and stability we have taken under our mighty, mighty wing. This "Idiot's Guide to Pakistan" from Foreign Policy might help.

For example, didja know:

….the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are not part of the North-West Frontier Province. The two are separate entities in almost every sense of the word. While the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) is, well, a province with an elected assembly, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are geographically separate areas governed through "political agents" who are appointed by the president and supported by the governor of NWFP (who is also a presidential appointee). Residents of NWFP technically live according to the laws drafted by the Parliament in Islamabad, while the only nontribal law applicable to residents of FATA is the Frontier Crimes Regulations, a colonial-era dictate sanctioning collective punishment for tribes and subtribes guilty of disrupting the peace. 

Ah well, NWFP, FATA, whatever, the bombs explode the same way. Better-educated (probably), and better-armed (to be sure!), minds than ours are working on this problem even now. And may God help us all. For fans of blowback, Baitullah Massud, Tehrik-e-Taliban leader, vows an attack on D.C.