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Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari Addresses National Guard Forces at US Naval Postgraduate School

 

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari addressed an audience of U.S. National Guard during a January 29 visit to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In a speech on security and reconstruction challenges, Haidari told the deploying forces that the Taliban lacks a unifying vision for the country, but they “fully exploit weak state institutions on the district and village level that lack the necessary resources and capacity to deliver basic services to people in southern Afghanistan.”

He discussed the status of the judicial and police reforms in Afghanistan, which have received the least amount of resources and attention from the international community over the past seven years. “In any counterinsurgency, police and the judiciary constitute the eye and arm of the government, and if these two key institutions are absent or too weak to do their jobs well, the government loses its legitimacy in the public eyes,” said Haidari. He traced the problem to the defective lead-nation security sector reform framework, citing a lack of coordination among lead-nations and a lack of resources for effective implementation of each reform, particularly in the police and justice sectors. “We do not need so much firepower against the Taliban but a capacity surge to enable the government institutions to protect the population and to maintain their active support for the peace-building process in Afghanistan,” said Haidari.

In addition, he pointed out that as long as the Taliban insurgents enjoyed easy and safe sanctuaries in Pakistan, it would be hard to establish durable peace and security in the Afghanistan. “Al Qaeda and the Taliban have regrouped across our borders, and do not only threaten our security but that of the whole region and world,” Haidari stated. He noted that terrorism and drug-trafficking are inter-linked transnational security problems, which have to be fought on global scale, not in Afghanistan alone.

Haidari called for unity of effort among all military and civilian entities helping secure and rebuild Afghanistan. “Every actor’s exit strategy in Afghanistan must be to enable us, the Afghan people and government, to stand on our own feet in order to drive our country’s rebuilding process,” he said. He pointed out that there is no shortage of strategic frameworks for putting Afghanistan’s reconstruction on the right track, referring to Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy. However, the international community “must realize that security is globalized, as demonstrated by the connection between the tragedy of 9/11 and the abandonment of Afghanistan. Our partners understand that they have high stakes in providing the long-term resources and support necessary to stabilize Afghanistan and thereby the whole region.”

 

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