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FOX News Interviews Ambassador Said T. Jawad

Interviewer: Jane Skinner

10.25.2006


MS. SKINNER: We're going to talk a bit more on the war on terror now. And foreign fighters are said to be on the move. They're said to be turning their attention back to Afghanistan now, armed with the terror tactics that we often have seen in Iraq: roadside bombings, suicide bombings, et cetera. Joining me now is Said Jawad. He is Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, and he joins us here in the studio. Ambassador, thank you for being here. We have heard NATO commanders in the last several weeks say that we have this window -- it's not a very big window -- to convince the Afghan people that they have to believe in their government and not resort back to the Taliban, as we've seen this resurgence of the Taliban, which was a bit unexpected in parts. How do you get your people -- and will you be able to get your people -- to believe in their government and to put, you know, their eggs in that basket, so to speak?


AMB. JAWAD: Sure. Well, the people of Afghanistan have very actively participated in the political process. They have elected their president. They have elected their parliament. And most of the institutions are in place. The problem is that the Afghan government does not have the ability to deliver services and to provide protection, because of lack of resources or limited resources.


MS. SKINNER: So they need more money?


AMB. JAWAD: They need more money, and also to build the capacity of the Afghan government by more training, building the capacity of the Afghan police force to provide protection for the Afghans, and the national army.


MS. SKINNER: You know, some would make the claim that the United States and other nations have given them a whole lot of money, and they haven't seen a lot of -- enough progress in construction projects. There aren't enough jobs for these people. Just throwing more money at the problem -- will that actually solve it?


AMB. JAWAD: Well, the money should be spent in the right place. But the Afghans have -- as I mentioned, they have participated in the political process. They would like to partner with the international community, with the United States. But they have to see an improvement in the daily life. Still 95 percent of Afghans does not have access to electricity. So there are some really basic needs that has to be taken care of.


MS. SKINNER: You know, it's almost an unthinkable thought -- we would -- it would have been the unthinkable five years ago, after we went in and routed the Taliban there in Afghanistan, but now we're talking about the possibility that we could actually lose this militarily. How optimistic are you?


AMB. JAWAD: No, we are certain that we aren't going to lose. We see a spike in terrorist activities in Afghanistan due to a variety of reasons. One is the transition to NATO that provides an opportunity for the Taliban to test the willingness of the NATO to fight, the lack of resources to the Afghan government to provide protection, but more importantly also the inspiration and the support that they are getting in the neighborhood of Afghanistan.


MS. SKINNER: You know, also I want to touch on this drug problem. The figures coming out of there about the growing of opium there are really pretty mind-boggling, the U.N. drug office saying enough this year -- enough opium grown to make 610 tons of heroin -- that's beyond what the world is even demanding, what the market is even demanding -- and that there are 3 million Afghans involved in the cultivation of this. That seems at first blush like a problem that is out of control, that can't be controlled.


AMB. JAWAD: It is a problem. It is a serious problem because the proceeds of narcotics feed into terrorism. It undermine everything that we've accomplished in Afghanistan, but yet we are working. We have had a lot of progress in many provinces. In certain provinces of Afghanistan, we have had 95 percent reduction. In certain areas, we are not doing as well as we should. That's why we are working with the international community to provide for better alternative livelihood for the farmers, but at the same time, which is our part, to provide for interdiction in law enforcement.
Unfortunately, there is no silver-bullet solution for the problem of narcotics. We have to emphasize providing alternative livelihood, building of national institutions, and most importantly, providing security and services in the provinces where we have most of the problem with narcotics, this is where there's -- the government is not strongly present, and the terrorists are encouraging people actually to do narcotics.


MS. SKINNER: Ambassador Said Jawad, ambassador from Afghanistan to the United States. Thanks so much.

 

 

 

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