e-Ariana01/25/2013By M. Ashraf Haidari [Printer Friendly Version]
David Ignatius’ Jan. 16 op-ed, “Afghanistan’s improving ways” breaks more than a year of silence on the fact that Afghanistan is not a lost cause and that the assistance of the American people has helped transform the country’s war-shattered society, polity, and economy in ways that Afghans never experienced in their past history. Last November, the Asia Foundation survey of the Afghan people captured the points made by Ignatius, reporting that “over half of Afghans think the country is moving in the right direction (52 percent), an increase from 2011 (46 percent) and 2010 (44 percent).”
However, these improving trends reveal the work-in-progress nature of American and international achievements in Afghanistan. These gains, having cost more than two thousand American lives and billions of taxpayers’ dollars over the past decade, must be irreversibly sustained, if the US were to achieve—in the recent words of President Obama—its national security interest of having “a stable, sovereign Afghanistan that was a responsible international actor, that was in partnership with us…” Indeed, these policy goals are attainable, provided that, as Ignatius notes, the US continues to capitalize on the many emerging or hidden potentials of Afghanistan, helping Afghans firmly stand on their own and be America’s most trusted ally in South Central Asia, much like South Koreans in Asia Pacific.
M. Ashraf Haidari is the deputy ambassador of Afghanistan to India. He formerly served as Afghanistan’s deputy assistant national security adviser, as well as deputy ambassador to the United States.