Elizabeth Rubin, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, has been reporting from Pakistan and Afghanistan for the past decade.


Our Strange Dance with Pakistan

Admiral Michael Mullen, left, arrives in Multan, Pakistan with Pakistan's army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, center, to visit flood-affected areas, September 2, 2010

We give billions in aid to Pakistan’s military and civilian government. Yet Pakistan is harboring our enemies and even the enemies, one could argue, of its own healthy survival. Portions of our money are being funneled into the variety of insurgent networks whose fighters are killing American soldiers, Afghan soldiers, American civilians, Afghan civilians, European civilians, Pakistani civilians—mothers, fathers, children on multiple continents. Why, asks a US army major, did all his friends die in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when the real problem is on the other side of the border? Why, asks a twelve-year-old Afghan girl in Kandahar whose family has been wiped out by US air strikes, are you bombing us? How has this come to pass?