This Sunday marks the six-year anniversary of the initial U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. In an interview with ThinkProgress, Said Tayeb Jawad, the Afghanistan Ambassador to the U.S., said the military incursion “was something that the Afghan people demanded.” He explained, “Every Afghan knows that there’s no way for us to have a better life except for the assistance and partnership of the United States.”
While emphasizing his strong support for the initial invasion and a continued presence, Jawad said there have been at least two major mistakes that have contributed to the rise in violence:
1) Underinvestment in financial and military resources. “In the past five years, there was an underinvestment in building the infrastructure in Afghanistan, including the quality of life of the Afghans.” Jawad said U.S. presence “should have been very robust from the beginning” and “assistance should have been much stronger.”
2) Failing to fight terrorism in a comprehensive manner. “From the very beginning, the mission targeted was more or less at going after individual terrorists.” Jawad argued, instead, “we should have been fighting terrorism as a phenomenon, and include in our fight not only terrorist individuals but also warlords, narco-traffickers, and many others.”
While “expectations have not been met” for the past six years, Jawad said the new leadership in Congress gives him hope for the future:
My engagement with the new leadership in Congress and the Democrats in Congress indicates that they are even more committed to pursue the war in the original front of the war against terrorism and to help out Afghanistan.
While repeatedly expressing his hope for a continued U.S. military and financial presence, Jawad said the “long-term solution is to help build the Afghan forces, the Afghan national army and the police force.” “It’s our own country,” he said “we would like to defend it ourselves. Give us the know-how, the skills, and the equipment and we will do it.”
“Afghanistan is winnable and achieving victory in Afghanistan is easy. The people are your partners. All we need to do is invest in building the capacity of the Afghans to defend their own country,” Jawad concluded.