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Ambassador Jawad Outlines New Strategy in Harvard Speech

Ambassador Said T. Jawad delivered a policy speech at Harvard University on March 11 where he outlined a new strategy for overcoming security and development challenges in Afghanistan. The speech, which was delivered at the university's John F. Kennedy School of Government, addressed security, regional relations, development, negotiations with the Taliban, narcotics and corruption.

In the speech (Full Text - Video), Ambassador Jawad outlined the shortcomings that led to an increase in security incidents and decrease of confidence in the Afghan government and its international partners in 2008. "The security situation deteriorated due to the limited number of troops on the ground, the total negligence of building the police force and judicial system, the underinvestment in building the national army, and the meager resources applied to building the capacity of the Afghan government to deliver services and provide protection to its citizens," he noted.

As part of a new strategy being crafted by the administration of President Barack Obama, Ambassador Jawad used the speech to highlight a number of important points that were recently proposed by a high-level delegation during a visit to Washington. Among them was a surge of U.S. troops; the building of the capacity of the Afghan government to deliver services and provide protection; the elimination of havens for terrorist training and support in Pakistan; making the fight against narcotics part of the mandate in the fight against terror; the setting of clear parameters in reconciliation talks with the Taliban; the enhancement of civilian and military coordination between Afghan and international forces and the increase of reconstruction funds and improvement in aid effectiveness.

He also stressed the need to work with Pakistan to address the regional dimension of terrorism. While he recognized the close relations that exist between President Hamid Karzai and President Asf Ali Zardari of Pakistan, Ambassador Jawad pointed out that the Pakistani military must match its capacity to fight terrorism with the civilian government's commitment to do so.

Ambassador Jawad also called on the U.S. and international community to increase development aid and channel more development funds through the Afghan government. He cited the National Solidarity Program as a success story to be emulated; pointing out that it has yielded 46,000 small-scale development projects in 22,000 villages throughout Afghanistan for just $560 million in grants.

On negotiations with the Taliban, Ambassador Jawad stressed the importance of setting clear parameters, speaking from a position of strength and having a coordinated and consistent approach. He outlined three different factions of the Taliban, and noted that there are certain reconcilable groups that should be approached. Regardless, he says, "Negotiation and reconciliation with the Taliban will succeed only if we talk to them from the position of strength and with a clear and strong stand on human rights, women’s rights and the Afghan Constitution.  These are principles on which there cannot be concession or compromise."

Ambassador Jawad also used the speech to cite many of the accomplishments made in Afghanistan since 2001, including the 6.4 million children that recently returned to school throughout the country. He also refutes the calls of policymakers and pundits to reduce expectations for what can be accomplished in Afghanistan. Calling the Afghan people "resilient, moderate and pragmatic," Ambassador Jawad states, "A peaceful, pluralistic and prosperous Afghanistan is not a luxurious dream of the Afghan people and government. It is a necessity for peace in Afghanistan, stability in the region and security in the world. Let me be clear on one point, we are not imposing Jeffersonian democracy on Afghanistan – we are preventing the imposition of dictatorship, terror and tyranny."

Speech: Full Text of Ambassador Said T. Jawad's Remarks (Link) (.PDF) (Video)

Related News: Afghan Envoy Urges More U.S. Troops (Boston Globe)

                      Afghan Envoy Assails Allies as Halfhearted, Defeatist (Wash. Post)

                      Afghan Ambassador Welcomes More U.S. Troops (Harvard Gazette)

                      Afghans Should Handle Taliban Talks: Envoy (AFP)

                      Afghan Ambassador Speaks (Harvard Crimson)

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