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Ambassador Jawad Interviewed on Bloomberg and Al Jazeera

Ambassador Said T. Jawad addressed the new U.S. strategy towards Afghanistan, relations with Pakistan, President Barack Obama's outreach to the Muslim world, and civilian casualties and the U.S.'s response to them in two extended interviews with Bloomberg and Al Jazeera on April 10.

Speaking to Al Hunt on Bloomberg's political talk-show "Political Capital," Ambassador Jawad discussed standing security challenges in Afghanistan and their solutions. "We are grateful for the willingness of the administration to increase our troops," he stated. "In the next five to seven years we will reach the degree of capabilities that the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police require. We need a combined 400,000-person security force in Afghanistan. Of course, if we remove pressure on the security of Afghanistan by dealing with the sanctuaries of the terrorists in Pakistan, then we can have peace and security in Afghanistan much faster."

Continuing on the issue of Pakistan, Ambassador Jawad recognized that while Pakistan's civilian government is committed to fighting terrorism, the Pakistani security forces are not. "The new civilian government of Pakistan is committed to fighting extremism, but they don't have the capabilities to do so. The Pakistani security institutions don't see extremism as a serious threat to Pakistan, the region and the world. They see India as the main threat."

Ambassador Jawad also spoke about President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world. "President obama has energized young people all over the world. The speech and the visit to the mosque in Turkey sent very clear signals that the United States is with the moderate forces of Islam and Muslims who are suffering, who are the prime victims of terrorism and extremism in their own countries," he said. He added that he hoped the U.S. would extend this outreach by easing visa restrictions on Afghans and other seeking to visit the U.S.

Responding to concerns about a new law that would impact the rights of Shia women in Afghanistan, Ambassador Jawad forcefully stressed that the law would not take force. "This is not the law yet, and it will not become the law, because it contradicts some important principles of the Afghan constitution," he clarified. The law is being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court, he pointed out, and would likely not be published in the country's national gazette, thus preventing it from taking effect.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ambassador Jawad spoke about civilian casualties, recognizing that they are a human tragedy while commending the U.S. military for adopting a new policy of quickly apologizing for casualties incurred during military operations. "If there is a proper apology, and there is a good explanation, and that's exactly what we have been asking from our American friends in the past...then I think the people understand," he said.

Related News: Interview with Ambassador Said T. Jawad on "Political Capital" (YouTube)

                      Afghanistan Won't Legalize Forced Marital Sex (Bloomberg)

                      Afghan Envoy Defends U.S. Raids (Al Jazeera)


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