Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sat Sep 19 15:21:11 UTC 2009

The WaPo article is at

A factor may be conflation with the DoD acronym PACAF, or Pacific Air
Forces, the name of the Air Force component of the US Pacific Command
(PACOM). The article notes that the use of PakAf may have started at the

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Victor Steinbok
Sent: Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:51 AM
Subject: AfPak

 Kevin Drum picks up on a foreign policy mongrel from the Washington
Post. Apparently, in policy discussions, a common way to refer to the
troubled "border region" (itself a problematic concept) between
Afghanistan and Pakistan is "AfPak". Nothing particularly extraordinary
here--just another very localized piece of jargon mash.

But, apparently, now there has been a switch. When the State Department
IG referred to the region in his testimony to Congress, he used "PakAf".
However, when asked if this was just his invention, he said he was not
sure and would check with the staff. According to WaPo, the man
responsible for the switch is Richard Holbrooke--because he's such a


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