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War on Terrorism
Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

December 5, 2003

Ambassador Kirkpatrick, a Board Member of the FDD, moderated a discussion with Ambassador Jawad on the challenges of constitution-writing and state-building.

Also attending, in addition to FDD Distinguished Advisor Jim Woolsey and FDD President Cliff May were Steve Clays, Special Advisor on National Security Affairs to Vice President Cheney, Mahmood Karzai, of the Afghan and American Chamber of Commerce, Frederick Star of the School of Advanced Studies, Ken Weinstein, vice president of the Hudson Institute and AEI scholar Michael Novak.

Ambassador Jawad has served as Chief of Staff to President Hamed Karzai. He has served also as his spokesman, press secretary and Director of the Office of International Relations. He is fluent in Pashto, Farsi, French, German and English.

The top ten points raised in the discussion:

For most Afghans, security remains the top priority challenge.

Economic development is next in importance. There has been economic progress - Kabul, in particular, is a bustling city, vastly different today than it was under the Taliban.

At the same time, there is a real danger of Afghanistan developing a narco-economy, dominated by war lords.

The legacy of communist and Taliban rule remains a problem as well.

The Taliban and al Qaeda should not be seen as in any way substantially different. They represent the same ideology - and the same threat to Afghanistan and the West.

Osama bin Laden is almost certainly living in the tribal territories of northwestern Pakistan, possibly in Nuristan, in the Hindu Kush mountains.

Mullah Omar may still be in Afghanistan, though he probably moves back and forth across the Pakistani border. (Bin Laden would be reluctant to move into Afghanistan frequently - he'd be too easily recognized as a foreigner.)

The US effort to find bin Laden does not appear to be as aggressive as it needs to be. For example, there is apparently no US presence in Nuristan.

The Pakistani government could do much more to fight the terrorists based in Pakistan and crossing the border into Afghanistan.

In writing a new Afghan constitution, it will require a creative effort to strike a balance between modernity - in regard to the relationship of religion and government, women's rights, free enterprise and foreign investment - and tradition.

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