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Political Counselor Haidari Speaks with National Guard Training Team

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari was invited to participate in the Leadership Development & Education for Sustained Peace (LDESP) workshop for the US National Guard Embedded Training Teams (ETT) at the Ft. Riley in Kansas on June 27. Members of the ETT will soon be deployed to Afghanistan to train the Afghan National Army (ANA). Haidari gave a presentation to the ETT on “Afghanistan’s Stabilization: Peace, Governance, and Prosperity,” discussing the overall peace-building environment in which they will be helping build the capacity of the ANA.

Noting Afghanistan’s achievements in partnership with the international community, Haidari discussed the sources and symptoms of insecurity and weak governance in the country. While he praised the success of the Bonn Process that helped establish the key executive, legislative, and judicial institutions, he said that the parallel process of building institutional capacity in part through the Security Sector Reform had faltered due to a lack of resources and strategic coordination across the lead nation implementers.

Haidari singled out the police and judicial reforms as the key elements of the state-building process in Afghanistan. “It is common sense that the legitimacy of any government depends more immediately on the basic public goods such as law and order and public security. The two critical sectors, justice and law enforcement, that should provide these services have never received adequate attention and investment from the international community over the past six years,” Haidari stated. Consequently, the Taliban and drug traffickers have been able to capitalize on the gap—corrupting the underpaid, under-trained, and under-equipped legal and law enforcement institutions.  

Haidari stressed, however, that unless the insurgency’s external support ended, any number of foreign forces would be unable to stabilize Afghanistan. “Frankly speaking, we need to fight the Taliban on the other side of the border, in the well-known towns and villages of Pakistan’s NWFP and Baluchistan provinces bordering Afghanistan,” Haidari said. He informed the National Guard trainers of the forthcoming Regional Peace Jirga between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which President Karzai initiated last year to help end cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan with the support of the people on both sides of the border.

Haidari drew the attention of the deploying trainers to Afghanistan’s supportive “human terrain” for international peace-building. “In Afghanistan, having people on our side is one of our greatest strategic assets in the war against terrorism. We can maintain and enhance this support if we deliver the promised aid to change people’s lives for the better and do everything we can to avoid harming them. Civilian casualties could compromise our peace-building efforts—an objective that the Taliban are trying very hard to achieve,” Haidari emphasized. He spoke about the recent civilian casualties as a result of the high altitude air bombardments on the Taliban targets which often happen to be in civilian areas. “Collateral damage can be avoided through good planning and close coordination with the Afghan security partners. Our loss in the battle of hearts and minds is always the enemy’s win—we should prevent this from happening by all means,” Haidari noted.

 

On behalf of the government and people of Afghanistan, Haidari thanked the US soldiers and their families for their support and sacrifice to stabilize Afghanistan. “Your support will go along to secure the future of a nation that have suffered the most since the end of the Second World War, and I wish you the best as you embark on such an important mission” Haidari told the deploying soldiers. 

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