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Afghan mission: NATO's raison d'etre

By M. Ashraf Haidari

Baltimore Sun

In "Afghan alarm" (Opinion • Commentary, March 25), Karl F. Inderfurth rightly cautions against NATO's possible failure in a country where the stakes for international security and the chance for success have never been as high in the recent history of post-conflict international intervention.

We know from 9/11 and other terrorist attacks that threats to global security are increasingly transnational in nature. Non-state actors are more dangerous today than state actors were during the Cold War. Thus, securing Afghanistan embodies NATO's post-Cold War raisons d'etre, which must be strongly reaffirmed at the Bucharest summit.

A word of caution, however: Achieving victory is neither cheap nor easy in Afghanistan, a country destroyed for the past three decades. But Afghanistan is not Iraq, and key to international success in Afghanistan is the continued optimism and support of the Afghan people for the NATO forces in the war against terrorism and drugs. With the Afghan people firmly on the side of the international community and their forces, victory against a desperate enemy - who has failed to articulate anything resembling a national vision in seven years - is only a matter of strong international unity, resolve and recommitment.

The writer is the political counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC.

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