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Ambassador Jawad Discusses Afghanistan's Progress at the Council on Foreign Relations

Ambassador Said T. Jawad traveled on Wednesday to New York where he joined Mr. Barnett R. Rubin of New York University and Mr. James Traub of the New York Times in a public conversation titled, “Afghanistan Update.”

In his remarks, Ambassador Jawad contextualized Afghan history, explaining that Afghanistan has twice been a victim of the Cold War. “During the Cold War, we pushed back communism in Afghanistan, but fell victim of a parallel invasion of extremism, which was infused into Afghan society by neighboring countries or foreign institutions. When the Cold War ended, the Afghan people demanded the engagement of the United States, but it did not come as we were perceived to have lost our strategic significance.”

The Ambassador countered the notion that the Taliban have gained support in the past year and stressed that the Afghan people believe in partnering with the international community. “The fact that Afghans are demanding the engagement of the international community is an important asset…for the region and for global security,” he said. The Ambassador explained that instability has been a result of the destruction of Afghanistan’s traditional leadership through decades of warfare, and the continued ideological, financial and logistical support for terrorism outside of Afghanistan’s borders. The Ambassador highlighted the need for increased resources for the Afghanistan National Police, explaining that, “the entire province of Uruzgan, the size of the state of West Virginia, had 45 police officers to fight narcotics and Al Qaeda.” Responding to questions from the audience, the Ambassador emphasized the importance of joining military operations with a concerted effort to build the capacity of the Afghanistan’s security institutions and improve the government’s ability to deliver services. Improvements to the health, judicial and educational infrastructure of the Afghan people are key to winning the peace in Afghanistan. The international community must continue to fight terrorism as a phenomenon while fighting terrorists as individuals.

To listen to an audio recording of the discussion, click here

To read a full transcript of the discussion, click here

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