JavaScript Menu, DHTML Menu Powered By Milonic


Join our e-mail mailing
list and receive our
monthly newsletter free
of charge

News and Views

Political Counselor Haidari Speaks to Naval Academy and Foreign Service Institute

Political Counselor M. Ashraf Haidari gave a lecture on "Security, Governance and Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Achievements, Challenges, and the Way Forward" to the Georgia Army National Guard 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, on August 27, 2008. Against the background of Afghanistan's recent past, Haidari noted that Afghanistan and her international partners had achieved key milestones towards establishing the key institutions of a permanent government with considerable progress made in rebuilding infrastructure, expanding access to basic healthcare, and providing education to an increasing number of Afghan girls and boys across Afghanistan.

"Although Afghanistan has received far less security and development assistance compared to other recent post-conflict countries, we have made considerable progress that unfortunately gets eclipsed by daily reports of worsening security in Afghanistan," Haidari said. He pointed out, however, that some of Afghanistan's achievements had begun turning into challenges or bolstering the existing challenges because the international community had faltered to help consolidate them. "Take, for example, our institutional achievements to fight narcotics. We have established more than a dozen counter-narcotics institutions, but they all lack capacity and the resources to do their jobs effectively," Haidari noted. "When institutions are just created but never strengthened to serve people, they simply fall prey to corruption and peace spoilers who capture them to advance their interests," he added.

In addition to a lack of aid resources, aid ineffectiveness, and weak coordination among civil and military programs of the international community, Haidari singled out deteriorating security as the most concerning challenges facing the Afghan people. "If cross-border terrorism as the main source of insecurity were off the table, we would address other challenges overtime, but it is security that the Afghan people demand more than anything else and we all need stability to help rebuild Afghanistan now and on the long run," Haidari pointed out. Thus, he stressed that the international community should take the fight to the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan "where they are allowed to hide in safe sanctuaries, where they get trained, where they get financed, where they get brained washed and finally deployed across the border into Afghanistan to target innocent civilians and international peace builders."

Haidari assured the Brigade Combat Team of popular support for international forces whom Afghans view as liberators. But he warned that the Taliban were dying to change that perception across Afghanistan. "One tool in their hands to do so is to hide among civilians and then provoke military action by the Afghan and international forces that could lead to many civilian casualties," he noted, referring to some of the recent incidents in the south and east of Afghanistan. He asked for zero tolerance for collateral damage in order to avoid losing Afghans’ support against the Taliban—who are desperately trying to capitalize on popular grievances to further destabilize Afghanistan.

Haidari urged the international community to "cease the many opportunities before us to consolidate our achievements in every sector, learn lessons from seven years of nation building to ensure strategic coordination in our aid efforts and aid implementation, secure the full and sincere commitment of the Pakistani government to end cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, and to address transnational challenges such as terrorism and drug trafficking on a global scale not just in Afghanistan or our region."

He concluded by expressing the deep gratitude of the Afghan people to American forces for risking their lives and leaving their families behind to help build peace in Afghanistan.

Haidari also discussed the situation in Afghanistan with a group of senior American diplomats at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia in late July 2008. In light of mounting military casualties in Afghanistan during the months of June and July, Haidari discussed the key sources of instability in the country and urged the diplomats, who were going to be posted in Afghanistan, to help seek durable solutions to the challenges facing the Afghan people.

"Unless we recognize that the challenges facing Afghanistan are interconnected with domestic, regional, transnational, and international dimensions and to make a serious effort to address them through an integrated strategy, I believe it would be too hard to stabilize Afghanistan on the long run," Haidari noted. Domestically, he said that Afghanistan suffered from weak state institutions lacking the resources to deliver on the basic expectations of the Afghan people engulfed in poverty. Regionally, he noted that Afghanistan faced the threat of cross-border insurgency that is ever gaining momentum and strength in Pakistan from where the Taliban daily launch terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan. Transnationally, Afghanistan faces the twin threats of global terrorism and drug trafficking that capitalize on the country’s domestic, regional, as well as international challenges—the latter emanating from a lack of strategic coordination among international civil and military institutions that intend to help secure and rebuild Afghanistan.

Haidari noted that the four challenges would continue to intensify and pose an increasingly dangerous threat to stability in Afghanistan. While appreciating bipartisan American support for Afghanistan, he said that stronger US and NATO commitment and leadership were needed to address the four challenges that destabilize the country and undermine international security. "What is happening in Afghanistan today is no longer disconnected from problems outside our borders and beyond our region that demand global attention and action," Haidari said. He emphasized that "in Afghanistan we still have the chance to win the peace, as the Afghan people continue to be on our side, and particularly if we firmly recommit to consolidating our achievements over the past seven years and to strengthen the Afghan government and focus on enabling the Afghan people to stand on their own feet to rebuild and defend their country on the long run."

Home | Contact Us | Sitemap © 2006 Embassy of Afghanistan and GlobeScope Inc. All Rights Reserved.