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Political Counselor Haidari Addresses Brigade Forces at Ft. Polk, Louisiana

Political Counselor Ashraf Haidari visited the United States Army Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he addressed the commander and forces of the First Maneuver Enhancement Brigade on “Security, Governance, and Development in Afghanistan” last month. He extended the gratitude of the Afghan people and government to the brigade leadership and its forces for deploying to Afghanistan to help secure peace there. “You are going to my country not just to protect your national interests but to help a people that have suffered the most since the end of the World War II. Afghans want nothing but peace and look forward to welcoming you and supporting your efforts to achieve our common objective of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan in a secure region,” Haidari told the deploying forces.

Haidari reviewed the achievements of the international community in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. He pointed out that despite negative press about the overall situation in Afghanistan, notable progress had been made in the key sectors of security, governance, and development in Afghanistan. “It is important to keep in mind that Afghanistan was one of the least developed countries in the first place, and then thirty years of war followed that have destroyed almost everything that we had accomplished over the short course of building a modern nation-state in Afghanistan. So, in many ways, we are not rebuilding anything but building everything from scratch,” Haidari noted.

Because of the sheer magnitude of Afghanistan’s rebuilding needs and the country’s geographic location, consolidation of Afghanistan’s early achievements in governance, security, and development to an extent which Afghans can sustain on their own demands a long-term commitment of the international community, Haidari noted. “We have developed a blueprint—the Afghanistan National Development Strategy—that should help to guide us and our international partners to address urgent rebuilding issues now and to secure the future of Afghanistan,” Haidari said. He added that “in many ways, our strategy resembles the post-war Europe Marshall Plan in scope and vision, which we will present to the international community in the forthcoming Paris Conference in June for long-term support.”

A full copy of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) can be viewed here.

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