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Political Counselor Haidari Speaks at International Affairs Forum

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari gave a lecture entitled, "Governance, Security, and Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Challenges and Opportunities" at the International Affairs Forum in Traverse City, Michigan, on May 21.

Held at the Milliken Auditorium on the main campus of Northwestern Michigan College, a large audience consisting of board members of the IA-Forum, students, and the public attended the lecture and participated in the Q & A discussion on the key issues of the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Haidari thanked the American people including those in the State of Michigan for their strong support and goodwill for the Afghan people. "The war in Afghanistan is all about the security and prosperity of people; people here, people in Europe, and people in Afghanistan. And I think without support from the people in our respective countries, it is going to be too hard to succeed against our common enemy—an enemy that no longer recognizes borders as we know from the tragedy of 9/11 terrorist attacks masterminded in Afghanistan," Haidari said. He added that the Afghan people had been very optimistic about restoration of peace and justice in Afghanistan and thus continued strongly supporting international presence in the country.

"More than 5 million Afghan refugees spontaneously returned home within three years following the fall of the Taliban, which is a strong endorsement of the strategic partnership we have sought with the United States so that Afghanistan is no longer isolated and a no-man's land torn apart by state and non-state actors in our predatory region," Haidari said. He added that the government and people of Afghanistan had so far made significant progress, in spite of a lack of aid resources and effective implementation of assistance. "We have achieved the fundamentals of a democratic government, as well as equal rights for men and women in our society. But these achievements need to be consolidated or they will also turn into challenges," Haidari noted.

"We, therefore, welcome the new strategy for Afghanistan adopted by the Obama Administration to surge additional forces and increase civilian assistance to bolster our security and development efforts," he said. Any amount of aid, however, Haidari said could not help secure Afghanistan unless the military and intelligence institutions of the Pakistani government sincerely committed to targeting the leadership of the extremist Taliban and their operational infrastructure in well-known safe havens in the NWFP and Baluchistan border regions of Pakistan.

Haidari cautioned the American and European publics against impatience with war efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. "Look at how many people our nations have lost to this war for freedom and democracy. Afghans have continued to take the brunt of a war that actually began in 1979, and the consequences of neglecting Afghanistan's post-Cold War reconstruction continue harming all of us today," he noted. Haidari urged the audience to write their representatives in the US Congress to keep supporting Afghanistan until the country’s people and state institutions firmly stand on their own.

Related News: Afghan Embassy Counselor To Speak (Grand Traverse Herald)


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