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Afghans Say They Like the New Strategy

Last month, the Afghan government sent a delegation to Washington to advise the White House strategy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Several delegates expressed some fears that the Obama administration would adopt a “reductionist” approach to Afghanistan.

Now take a look at this statement, released this morning by Afghan Ambassador Said Jawad. Notice that the Afghan government is portraying itself as a key contributor of the strategy:

“We are very grateful to President Barack Obama and his administration for the efforts that have gone into producing this new strategy for victory in Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Jawad. “The new strategy is significant because it is comprehensive and incorporated the input and insights of diverse voices.” [...]

“During the visit of our senior delegation, we were able to share a number of issues of importance to the Afghan government, including expanding the Afghan security forces, enhancing the capacity of our state institutions, increasing and more effectively using development assistance, and looking at the terrorist threat in a regional context,” said Ambassador Jawad. “This new strategy took our perspectives into consideration.”

Also interesting: the next round of formal discussions with the Obama administration and the Afghan government about the future course of Afghanistan strategy will come in May.

Finally, on the circle-squaring front, check out the way Jawad’s statement slyly inserts “democracy,” a word that Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta emphasized in his public talks in Washington and that the Obama speech spoke of only in the context of Pakistan.

“We are happy to see the new U.S. strategy touch upon the many inter-related issues that will be key to success in Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Jawad. “Security, development, democracy and regional cooperation are all vital elements of a victorious campaign for Afghanistan’s future.”

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