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Exclusive: Hakimi sees enduring US commitment to Afghanistan


by Lalit K Jha on 3 March, 2011

WASHINGTON (PAN): The Afghan ambassador, in the post for less than a month, has said he strongly believes the US is committed to a long-term enduring partnership with Afghanistan.

Eklil Hakimi also said he saw a strong role for the Afghan diaspora in developing and stabilising the country.

 “As  a strategic partner with Afghanistan within the US, I see the enthusiasm and willingness to have a long-term and enduring partnership with Afghanistan,” Eklil Hakimi told Pajhwok Afghan News in his first interview to the Afghan media after taking over his new diplomatic assignment in Washington.

Hakimi, who has previously served as his country’s top diplomat to China and Japan, presented his credentials to Barack Obama, the president, at the White House on Feb. 23. “The United States is our strategic partner and having a partnership with a clear vision in the years to come, with a clear definition, is something both sides are committed to. That needs to be happening in the near future,” he said.

The two countries are comfortable in their shared goals as well as expressing their differences, he noted.

He described Obama as a “very intelligent man” with a long-term commitment to Afghanistan. “The meeting was an excellent opportunity to develop our close relationship with the United States,” he said.

 “I conveyed to President Obama a message of sincere gratitude from President Hamid Karzai and the people of Afghanistan for strengthening the existing strategic relationship between the two countries. I assured him that while I am here, I will try my utmost to strengthen this relationship further and further,” he said.

“The president kindly said his team will work closely with our embassy for our mutual and common goal. The two presidents should have regular contact in the future, which they have had in the past,” he said.

Referring to his previous posting in Japan, he said the country has played a very crucial role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. “While I was there they announced a package of $5 billion in assistance to Afghanistan over five years,” he said. China, also is playing a role in reconstruction of Afghanistan, he said.

Hakimi said Afghan expatriates are crucial to the development of Afghanistan. “Today we have a vibrant expatriate community who continue to have deep and personal links to Afghanistan. By engaging them in the important role of assisting in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, they will be able to provide formal networks and the establishment of international ties,” he said.

“We already have a committed and strong expatriate community who are well established in American society but continue to have a dream of a better and peaceful Afghanistan. They are in many ways representatives of the mosaic and diverse culture of Afghanistan,” Hakimi said.


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