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Embassy Row: Five Years Later

by James Morrison
The Washington Times

 Afghan Ambassador Said T. Jawad is appealing for "regional cooperation" and "robust support of our friends," as his country struggles against resurgent Taliban terrorists suspected of operating out of remote areas of neighboring Pakistan.

"We call on our international partners to double their efforts to help us build the capacity of our society, military and governance institutions to compensate for the slow progress of the past five years," said Mr. Jawad, reviewing Afghanistan's progress since the U.S.-led liberation in October 2001.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have become so strained that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf hardly spoke to each other during their joint White House visit with President Bush last month.

 Mr. Karzai has complained that Gen. Musharraf fails to prevent Taliban militants from raiding Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan. Gen. Musharraf insists that his government is doing its best to fight terrorism.

Mr. Jawad, in remarks released yesterday, did not mention Pakistan, but his call for "regional cooperation" was a clear reference to the dispute between the two countries.

He also acknowledged the vast increase in the opium trade, centered in rural areas of Afghanistan where poppies are the main cash crop of many farmers.

"Terrorism and drug trafficking pose the most serious challenges to the international peace-building effort in Afghanistan," the ambassador said. "Neither can be fought and eliminated without sincere regional cooperation and the robust support of our friends in the international community.

"There is now broad consensus that, unless the sources of ideological indoctrination -- financing, training and equipping terrorists are permanently shut down -- stability will be hard to maintain in Afghanistan and the world."

Mr. Jawad noted that his country has achieved significant political and economic reforms, despite the constant threat of Taliban terror.

The army has trained about 30,000 soldiers, while the national police have trained 40,000 officers. Nearly 6 million boys and girls attend school. Thirty-four percent of the students are girls. The Taliban enforce extremist Islamic laws to prohibit girls from getting an education.

Trade with the United States reached $330 million last year, an increase of 33 percent from 2004, he said.

"I strongly believe that a combination of political, economic and military efforts, along with sincere regional cooperation, should help consolidate our democratic gains toward sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan, in our region and in the world," he said.


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