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Staying the course in Afghanistan path to peace

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MateenK View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22-Jul-2017 at 11:41am
In his July 18 op-ed, “Could mercenaries end America’s longest war?,” Richard Cohen disregarded the transformational, multifaceted progress made by the Afghan people in partnership with the international community. The values of democracy, pluralism, liberty and free enterprise that Afghans and Americans share continue to be institutionalized in Afghanistan. Our success in this worthy endeavor is based on sound policy and strategy, enshrined in a compact between Afghanistan and our international partners: the Self-Reliance Through Mutual Accountability Framework. This underpins the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, the five-year blueprint for ending Afghan dependence on foreign aid. Steady progress has been made under reforms undertaken by the National Unity Government.

Private security firms can’t be trusted to operate as permanent, state-run militaries that adhere to national and international rules of war. As we know from Iraq, for-profit mercenaries do not always follow those rules. Afghanistan has seen failures, wasted aid resources and human rights violations by security contractors and their subcontractors. Any effort to privatize stabilization of Afghanistan can be a recipe for a man-made disaster that must be avoided at all costs.

Afghanistan isn’t “a chronic disease” but a center of international cooperation at the heart of a rising Asia where the United States has far-reaching interests that converge with those of Afghanistan and its neighbors. Staying the course to prosecute a war in support of a robust, results-oriented diplomatic campaign to end that war should guide the way forward.

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