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Letter to the Editor: The War in Afghanistan

by Ambassador Said T. Jawad

New York Times

To the Editor:
In “One War We Can Still Win” (Op-Ed, Dec. 13), Anthony H. Cordesman makes an important point: Afghanistan is not Iraq. Obvious distinctions are often overlooked.

International troops in Afghanistan continue to enjoy the support of the Afghan people. Afghans have come a long way in building a pluralistic state.

President Hamid Karzai recently condemned the lack of action against the regional sanctuaries for terror that Mr. Cordesman identifies. As long as these safe havens remain in our region, Afghan civilians and international troops will continue to die.

The international community must be unified and clear: Shut down the training grounds and stop using extremism as a policy instrument.

Mr. Cordesman appropriately recommends a substantial increase of needed security and development aid to Afghanistan.

Afghans have been promised and are entitled to dividends of peace, but the government has not yet been provided with adequate means to offer measurable improvements to their daily lives.

Afghanistan’s national army and police require better training and deserve decent salaries.

Larger investment in building our national institutions is more cost-effective in the long run. Such an infusion of aid will yield results on the ground within months, not years.

Said T. Jawad
Ambassador of Afghanistan
Washington, Dec. 13, 2006

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