Ambassador Mohib Welcomes New U.S. Policy Toward Afghanistan

On August 21, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a prime-time speech to the nation and outlined his administration’s policy in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.

Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib welcomed the new U.S. strategy in a statement, saying it was the result of intense deliberations and took into account both countries’ needs and considerations. 

Click here to read Al Jazeera’s interview with Ambassador Mohib and here to listen to his interview with BBC Newshour.

Ambassador Mohib was also interviewed by BBC Pashto, translated below. Click here to view the original.

[Ambassador Mohib]: Whatever we discussed with the US government has been considered in [this new] Afghanistan strategy. Our first request was [that they] consider the conditions in Afghanistan when setting troop levels. Instead of setting troop levels first, the number should be based on an evaluation of conditions in the country. The second request was not only to fight a war against terrorism but [to also] consider economic and diplomatic ways to end terrorism. If we don’t employ diplomatic and economic ways to end terrorism, lasting peace [by military means only] will be hard to achieve. The third request was on the subject of safe havens in Pakistan. If we don’t address these safe havens, the chances of achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan and successfully ending this war is dismal. 

 [Interviewer]: Did you specifically ask the US government for a clear policy in dealing with Pakistan? 

[Ambassador Mohib]: The Afghan government has discussed the existence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan with the US as well as the fact that Pakistan’s financial support for the Taliban is a huge threat to Afghanistan. Before now, the US has never given Pakistan such a clear message [about the need to] eliminate terrorist safe havens [on their territory], or said that Pakistan should assist the Afghan government in a positive manner.

[Interviewer]: President Trump also mentioned that the US will be ensuring the Afghan government is following up on promises made? What does the US government mean by this and is the Afghan government ready to take on those responsibilities?

[Ambassador Mohib]: It’s been three years since the Afghan government began working very hard to implement reforms and results can now be seen. For the first time, the Afghan government has brought high level officials to court [on] corruption [charges] — we are very serious about [eradicating corruption]. We have achieved quite a bit but there is still more to be done. We would like to implement further reforms that will bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan. 

[Interviewer]: President Trump also mentioned that the US will no longer be nation building in Afghanistan. He said it’s the Afghan government and Afghan people’s job to build their nation. Is this bringing additional pressure on the Afghan government? 

 [Ambassador Mohib]: No. Afghanistan [already] has a government agenda and policies to rebuild the country. We have a framework for cooperating with the international community —  this framework for self-reliance [that] includes reforms for stability, development and improvement of the country was presented at the London Conference in 2014. We are still working very hard on this. Our goal in Afghanistan is self-reliance … [to] stand on our own feet and not rely on international economic and security support.