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Ambassador Jawad Hosts Luncheon for Woodrow Wilson Center Board of Trustees


On June 4, the Embassy hosted a luncheon for a distinguished group of 50 scholars and members of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and guests from the Woodrow Wilson Center, including President Lee Hamilton, President of the Wilson Council Sam Donaldson, Chariman of the Board Joseph Gilderhorn, and Board Members the Hon. Robin Cook, the Hon. Bruce Gelb, the Hon. Charles Glaser, Ambassador Denice Kux and Ms. Susan Hutchinson. The Wilson Center is a nonpartisan institute for advanced study and a neutral forum for open, serious, and informed dialogue. It brings pre-eminent thinkers to Washington for extended periods of time to interact with policymakers through a large number of programs and projects.

Ambassador Jawad thanked the Woodrow Wilson Center for their continued support for Afghanistan and for hosting both President Hamid Karzai and himself for speaking engagements in the past.

In his briefing on security, the Ambassador emphasized that while the Afghan National Army and Police are getting stronger with enhanced training and resources and the Taliban are losing ground on the military front, Afghan civilians continue to be terrorized by the Taliban and Al Qaeda through IEDs and roadside bombings. Across Afghanistan last year, the number of roadside bomb attacks almost doubled and suicide bombings grew nearly 500%. Afghanistan has already suffered 59 suicide bombings in 2007. “Recent tragic events such as the suicide attack in Kunduz in which three German soldiers were killed and the Chinook helicopter that was shot down in Helmand killing seven ISAF soldiers is a sobering reminder of the need for continued and enhanced assistance to the stabilizing process in Afghanistan,” said the Ambassador.

The Ambassador explained that the main theatre of military operations is Sangin and Kajaki districts in Helmand, with skirmishes also occurring in Uruzgan, Kandahar, Farah and Ghor. The enemies of Afghanistan are trying to prevent the restoraction of a major power plant and water dam in Kajaki. However, the Ambassador said, “The Taliban’s Spring Offensive has not materialized, which can be attributed to ISAF and the ANA’s own aggressive joint offensive through Operation Achilles and Operation New Year.” Ambassador Jawad also warned against underestimating the destructive influence of regional powers.

In a brief discussion of civilian casualties, the Ambassador warned that as military action increases, international military forces must prioritize the protection of civilians. In a two week period in May, Afghanistan suffered 90 civilian casualties as the result of Coalition air strikes. “The Coalition recognizes the psychological component of the war, and that every civilian death undermines the mission and risks further alienating the people,” said the Ambassador. “The Coalition must continue to engage the population in the wake of civilian deaths. The goodwill of the Afghan people is our most important asset in this mission.”


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