Ambassador Charles Dunbar
Professor of International Relations, Boston University
"AF(ghanistan)-PAK(istan)": New Name; Same Crisis
"Af-Pak" is the Obama administration's most complex and intractable national security problem. Seven-plus years after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two states the United States has supported with much blood shed and billions of dollars spent, are closer to failure than when we began. No troop surge, no new name for the problem, no "agonizing reappraisal" of the situation, - not even Richard Holbrooke - can alter these harsh realities. The best hope for reversing the downward slide may lie in widening the diplomatic search for a solution and a massive effort to encourage investment and ceate jobs in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.
Ambassador Charles Dunbar was a State Department foreign service officer from 1962-1993. He served as ambassador to Qatar (1983-1985) and to Yemen (1988-1991) and was charge d’affaires at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan from 1981 to 1983. After his service at the American Embassy in Kabul, he developed and helped carry out a strategy for strengthening the political dimension of the Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Earlier in his career, he served in Iran (1963-1967), Afghanistan (1967-1970), Morocco 1973-1975), Algeria (1975-1978), and Mauritania (1978-1980).
After leaving the State Department, Ambassador Dunbar was President of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs (1993-2001) and during that time taught at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, and Hiram College. Before coming to Boston University, he was the Warburg Professor in International Relations at Simmons College (2001-2004).