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Ambassador Jawad Briefs Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University

Ambassador Said T. Jawad discussed counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts at the Ambassador’s Roundtable Series hosted by the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University on February 20. The talk gave an update on the current security conditions in Afghanistan, and also addressed other key issues such as the coordination of international efforts, profiles of terrorism, and political outreach. The discussion was hosted by Director and Associate Vice President for Homeland Security Frank Cilluffo.

Ambassador Jawad began his talk by stating that “Afghanistan is not at a tipping point as the media suggests, but at a turning point.” He argued that there is a consensus within the international community to help Afghanistan, with over 41,000 troops operating in ISAF from 26 different countries. However, the Ambassador cited the difficulty of coordinating efforts when so many different countries are present. “There are too many strategies. We can only have coordination if the players are willing to be coordinated, and nobody wants to be coordinated,” he said.

As the conversation moved into subjects of terrorism and insecurity, Ambassador Jawad clarified that, “the Taliban is not a mystery. People know exactly who they are.” Though insecurity has direct links with the poppy trade, the Ambassador clarifies that the legal economy has been growing at a much faster pace than the poppy market. Ambassador Jawad also explained that the Afghan security forces are not yet capable of facing security challenges alone. “There’s no shortage of commitment or courage but rather a shortage of training.” The Afghan National Army currently stands at 49,000 troops with hopes of reaching 82,000 forces. Training efforts are improving with a new battalion deployed every two weeks. Ambassador Jawad said that new equipment, including armored humvees and M-16s, will renew the confidence of Afghan forces.

Commenting on the recent election in Pakistan, Ambassador Jawad said that Afghanistan and Pakistan “are fighting the same war with the same enemy.” He called for a single set of policies to deal with regional problems. The Ambassador also expressed Afghanistan’s interest in ensuring that Iran continues to engage Afghanistan in a positive way.

Among his top priorities for efforts in Afghanistan, Ambassador Jawad called for the continued building of security institutions and the de-coupling of Iraq and Afghanistan.  “The American people have shown that they do care about Afghanistan and we are very grateful for the support and goodwill of Americans,” he said.

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