Addressing Afghans

Missed this last week, but a portion of President Obama's speech on Afghanistan was directed at the Afghan people (speaking directly to foreign peoples-- a cornerstone of 21st Century Statecraft).  Obviously, not a lot of Afghans were watching the speech live, but the new media folks at the White House figured a way to make the President's words accessible to many everyday people in Afghanistan. From Katie Stanton (soon to be of the State Department):

Looking at data on, we don’t have a lot of traffic coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan because Internet penetration in the region is relatively low at 2% and 11% respectively. However, mobile penetration is much higher. 52% of the 177 million people in Pakistan have at least 1 mobile device and 30% of the 28.4 million in Afghanistan.  Given this trend, we produced short video clips of the President’s segment to Afghans and had it dubbed in Arabic, Dari, Pashto, and Urdu in order for them to be distributed locally on mobile devices.

I do wonder how many people in Afghanistan have cell phones that are capable of playing video, but I think this is important regardless. Yet more evidence that our government is thinking seriously about engaging not jut governments, but peoples around the world.