Why Afghanistan is a worthy cause

By M. Ashraf Haidari

Letter to the editor of San Francisco Chronicle

In “Why Afghanistan is a lost cause” (Op-Ed, July 11), Joel Brinkley abuses Afghanistan’s dire socio-economic conditions to justify pessimists’ call for premature withdrawal from Afghanistan. But he fails to acknowledge that these worst social indicators, because of decades of imposed conflicts on Afghanistan, were also caused by our alliance with the West against the former Soviet Union in 1980s. State collapse and further poverty resulted from America’s negligence of Afghanistan’s post-Cold War reconstruction in early 1990s, which made the country a no man’s land where Al Qaeda masterminded the tragic 9/11 attacks, killing more than 3,000 Americans.

Moreover, Mr. Brinkley simply forgets about the many strategic opportunities for success in Afghanistan. These include our democratic achievements so far that must be consolidated; our natural resources valued at $3 trillion that must be exploited for long-term economic growth; popular support for the NATO forces that must be capitalized on against our common enemies; or our resilient and enterprising young population that must be harnessed to rebuild their homeland. Afghans are not hopeless. Victory is possible. But the United States and its allies must stay the course to win this necessary war for our nations’ shared security.

M. Ashraf Haidari is the Political Counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC. His e-mail is haidari@embassyofafghanistan.org

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