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Ambassador Said T. Jawad Interviewed by Michael Holmes on CNN's "Your World Today"

CNN's "Your World Today"
06/21/2006

HOLMES:

The U.S. military warns that southern Afghanistan will experience a surge in heavy fighting before NATO forces take control of the region. That will happen later this summer. The warning comes after coalition and Afghan forces say they killed 20 Taliban militants during a raid.

More than 10,000 U.S., Afghan and coalition troops are trying to crush the Taliban insurgency in the south. It is an area where the government does not have a significant presence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


COLONEL TOM COLLINS, COALITION FORCES SPOKESMAN:

Again, there's going to be a lot of fighting. There's going to be a lot of activity. But by the end of the summer, you will have significantly more troops down there as NATO progresses into the area. And the Taliban is ultimately going to lose in that area. They will never, ever take Kabul. They will not topple this government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)


HOLMES:

Well, they are in control of other parts of the country. To discuss whether the offense against the Taliban ultimately will be successful, let's go now to Washington and Said Jawad. He is the Afghan ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Ambassador, thanks for your time.


JAWAD:

You're welcome.


HOLMES:

I'm curious that the Taliban really has not been stronger since the war began in 2001, despite the presence of tens of thousands of coalition troops. Why is that?


JAWAD:

Well, what you're seeing is a spike in terrorist activities due to the fact that NATO is phasing in. And since the political process is being successful in Afghanistan, then Taliban are trying very hard, actually, to show their presence.

And right now, with a massive military operation under way, we are sure that there will be a serious blow to the Taliban. That military operation is also accompanied with measures to enhance the capacity of the Afghan government, to deliver services, and to be present. One reason for the strength of the Taliban is that we were not provided adequate resources to be present at a district level, at a provincial level, to defend people.


HOLMES:

You mentioned the success of a political process. Certainly on some levels, there has been success. But, I mean, the truth of the matter is the government of President Hamid Karzai has never looked weaker. It controls really only the towns and generally during daylight hours only.


JAWAD:

That's not true. We are facing security challenges in five provinces, mostly in outlying areas. But the political process, the participation of the Afghan people, the formation of the parliament, they're all being in place.

What we need to do is to enhance the formation of the national institutions in Afghanistan, especially the security institutions, such as the Afghan national police force, to deliver services and to be able to protect the Afghan people on the countryside.


HOLMES:

But it's been nearly five years since the U.S. invasion and the ousting of the Taliban. Are you surprised that the situation still is so precarious in much of the country, that there still is so much violence?


JAWAD:

As I mentioned, adequate resources were not allocated to build the capacity of the Afghan security institution, especially the police force. And that military operation also entails specific measures to enhance the capacity of the Afghan government.

It is a global war against terror. There are many other factors that are being contributed to the increased terrorist activities, the war in Iraq, the continued presence of the training camp outside Afghanistan. So there's a combination of manufacturers. It's not only actually the shortcoming on the part of the Afghan government. There are many reasons why the Taliban could not completely be defeated.


HOLMES:

Do you think that the militias that seems to operate fairly easily in the south are going to make things very difficult for NATO forces in the months ahead?


JAWAD:

They will Friday their utmost. We are sure that NATO is really committed. They would like to test the commitment and the capability of NATO, and I think this is a mission that NATO cannot fail. And if there is a serious blow to the Taliban during this summer, it will make it very difficult for them to come back or to be a political force in Afghanistan.


HOLMES:

One other thing aside from the politics, although it is linked with politics, I suppose, is that many Afghans are complaining of a massive rise in criminal activity, almost mafia-style activity, much of it funded by drugs, the opium trade, and also corruption at certain levels of government.


JAWAD:

This is true. And it has to do with lack of strong national institutions. The criminal activities that take place is because of the lack of strong police to be present at every level. The corruption, it's like many other post-conflict countries, like many other developing countries.

The resources to recruit qualified people as chief of police or even as a government official is very limited for us. Therefore, the problem of the corruption has to do more with training of qualified people, lack of human capital, but also for having better resources to recruit more qualified people to do the job at different levels.


HOLMES:

All right, Ambassador. Thanks so much for your time. Ambassador Said Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to the United States. I hope the next few years are more successful. Thank you.


JAWAD:

Thank you.

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