The Future of the U.S.-Pakistan Military Partnership

Shuja Nawaz

Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, testified before the House Armed Service Committee about the future of the U.S.-Pakistan military partnership.

His prepared comments are reproduced below.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, Members of the Committee, I am honored to be asked to speak about this important issue before your committee today. We at the Atlantic Council recently produced a report on Pakistan that offers detailed suggestions on aid for that country.

The United States and Pakistan have had a roller-coaster relationship, marked with highs of deep friendship followed by estrangement. The two countries now are partners again in an attempt to roll back the tide of obscurantism and militancy that grips Afghanistan and Pakistan today. Yet, a deep distrust marks this relationship arising out of the pattern of engagement. This distrust is rooted in both perceptions and reality.

The United States befriended Pakistan most often when it had autocratic rulers and provided the most aid to Pakistan during periods of autocratic rule when Pakistan was seen as an ally of US strategic interests in the region.  The intervening periods of civilian rule often were marked by distance and coolness. And a strong perception was created over time in Pakistani minds that the United States did not understand or care for Pakistan’s domestic needs or security concerns.

Mr. Chairman, Pakistan lives in a tough neighborhood. It is in the shadow of India, a major nuclear power to the east, and powerful neighbors such as China, Iran, and an unstable Afghanistan. Internally it is wracked by a rising militancy that is attempting to force its convoluted view of Islam on a largely moderate population. Pakistan has suffered repeated military rule and corrupt civilian governments that often were in the hands of a feudalistic elite or family-run political parties. Over shadowing all this is a powerful and well organized Pakistan army that repeatedly used its coercive power to take charge of the country.

Today, the United States and Pakistan are at a new crossroads: there is an opportunity to forge a new relationship between the people of the two countries and to overturn the historical patterns. Civil society in Pakistan is on the rise and deserves support. The Chief of army staff of the Pakistan army is publicly committed to withdrawing the army from politics, and the new Administration in Washington is committed to a strategy to help build Pakistan via a long-term assistance program that will strengthen its defence while improving the economy. If Washington succeeds in these efforts, it will help break the yo-yo pattern of the US-Pakistan relationship.

But there are challenges to overcome:

  • The US must ensure that its aid is not seen solely in support of its battle in  Afghanistan and directed largely toward the border region of Pakistan
  • This aid must not be seen by the people of Pakistan as short-term and aimed at propping up any single person, party, or group.
  • The US and its allies must attempt to reduce the causes of regional hostility between India and Pakistan.
  • Pakistan needs to ensure that its government prepares viable and practicable plans for using economic aid effectively and efficiently and controls corruption so aid reaches the poorest segments of society.
  • The government of Pakistan also needs to craft a broad consensus in support of a strategy to fight the militants, and strengthen the hands of the silent and moderate majority.
  • Pakistan also needs to accelerate the doctrinal shift from conventional military thinking to counterinsurgency and build its capacity to reclaim the areas of militancy. The civilians can then hold and re-build those areas.

Certain key elements of US aid will be needed in this regard:

  • First, there must a focus on building up police and para-military capacity to isolate militants from within the communities.
  • Second, community-based assistance and a heavy investment in infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are needed to help aid reach target communities directly. The current system of aid flows must change so aid money is not soaked up by expensive overheads in Washington, Islamabad, or provincial capitals.
  • Third, the ability of the Pakistan army to fight a mobile militancy should be enhanced by proving it more heli-lift capability, helicopter gunships, transport, and night vision goggles.
  • Fourth, the IMET training program for Pakistan’s military needs to rise dramatically and additional training needs to be organized in the country and in the region to expose larger numbers officers at all ranks to new thinking on counterinsurgency.
  • Finally, I suggest strongly that the current Coalition Support Fund model of reimbursement for Pakistani operations in the border region should be ended. This is a cause of deep resentment in the army and civil society since it makes the Pakistani army a “hired force” and makes this America’s War not Pakistan’s own war. Let both sides agree to the objectives, benchmarks, and indicators of success and let the US provide aid for those broad objectives without detailed accounting.  We need to rebuild trust between these two allies. Questioning reimbursement claims has the opposite effect.

Mr. Chairman, I do not believe in blank checks. Mutually agreed conditions of aid, rather that unilaterally imposed conditions are the best way of engendering trust. We have to make sure that we set targets that help Pakistan achieve its potential, while ensuring its security and integrity. Creating a safe neighborhood in South Asia will help toward that end.

Thank you Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee. I am prepared to answer your questions.

Ghani, Ashraf – Transcript

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Welcome to everyone.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council.  And I say that partly because we record, so it shows up, then, on the transcript, and people will then Google and – let me, first of all, tell you what an honor it is for me to introduce this report, and introduce my friend Ashraf Ghani.  Ashraf and I met – when was it, in –

MR. GHANI:  In 2003.

MR. KEMPE:  In 2003.

MR. GHANI:  Yeah.  When you came with General Jones, I think.
MR. KEMPE:  Yes.  You were in your job as finance minister.  And I had flown in with General Jones, when I was working for The Wall Street Journal as editor in Europe.  And we met at your home.  And I remember you forecasting that things were turning in a problematic direction, if we didn’t understand what was happening in the narco-economy: what was happening in terms of corruption; what was happening in different ways.  

And, at that point, people were relatively optimistic.  And so it was quite prophetic – sadly prophetic, I’m afraid.  But I do remember you talking about how property prices were moving in your neighborhood in an astronomic way, because of the drug money coming in and buying up things, which was one of the early indicators of what was going on.

When I came to the Atlantic Council two years and a couple of months ago, we built an International Advisory Board, of sitting chairmen and CEO’s of globally significant companies, and Cabinet members – former Cabinet members of some renown from key countries.  

At that point it wasn’t so much I was determined to have Afghanistan represented on the International Advisory Board, because not all countries in South Asia are.  But I was determined to have Ashraf Ghani because he’s a person who understands the world; understands his region; understands his country.  It’s very rare to meet someone who understands the local politics of the various regions of Afghanistan, as profoundly as he understands the workings of the United Nations – both of which are somewhat arcane to me.  

This is the – I want to also thank two members of the Strategic Advisors Group.  Ashraf Ghani is on the International Advisory Board, which is a group of these businessmen and politicians I told you about, but he also is a member of the Strategic Advisors Group.  This is actually a working group of the Atlantic Council.  It was co-chaired by General Jones.  He was one of the co-chairs until he took his new job and left as chairman of the Atlantic Council.  

The co-chairs are now Senator Hagel, who is the new chairman of the Atlantic Council, and Tom Enders, the CEO of Airbus.  It has European and U.S. members.  And it was in that guise that I first talked to Ashraf, and we talked about how the long-term goals weren’t really known.  For all the resources we were putting into Afghanistan, the long-term goals weren’t obvious.  And, secondarily, the short-term actions there were not attached to any long-term goals, because there were no real long-term goals.

At that point, we came up with the idea that there had to be a 10-year framework for Afghanistan.  Little did we know that we were developing and implementing strategy – because it was always thought to be an implementing strategy.  But, suddenly, we had an Obama plan, behind which to put this implementing strategy.  And if you’ll see in the report, they fit pretty well.

So I want to turn over to Ashraf, but I also want to say that Ashraf’s work – our work on Afghanistan, our work on Pakistan – inspired me, over my Christmas vacation, to lose a lot of time recruiting Shuja Nawaz to lead a new South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council.  This is a joint project of the Strategic Advisors Group of the International Security Program.  And the South Asia Center – it’s the second major report to be released in four months at the Asia Center.  The first one was on Pakistan – honorary co-chairs of Senator Hagel and Senator Kerry.  

And they are a part of our attempt to stay in front of this story.  Senator Kerry called our initial report on Afghanistan seminal.  He said the report on Pakistan should be read just as closely.  We feel that this is a good follow-up on those two reports and should be read just as closely.

It is our attempt – we also had the ambassadors of Pakistan and Afghanistan here – two weeks ago, Shuja?  That drew a lot of attention.  They were quite blunt.  In diplomatic speak, we could say they were “frank.”  These two reports we’ve put out this year reflect our attempt to put South Asian affairs in a broader regional context, that includes not just Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, but also understands that this is all interlinked with the Gulf; with Russia; with neighboring China; and with neighboring Central Asia.  And so we’ll continue to work those issues.
I’m sorry that I’ve done so long of a warm-up, but I wanted to put all this in context.  This is a report that’s been long in the making.  There’s no one better-equipped to write it and to speak about it.  And, Ashraf, thank you so much for producing this important work.

ASHRAF GHANI:  Thank you very much, Fred, for the very generous introduction – but, even more important, for your friendship and support.  And thanks to Shuja for enormous work.  And your colleagues and the members of the board – both Frank Kramer and Julian French – for commenting.

The goal that the new administration has put to the American public is very clear:  it is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return.  But this is a goal that has been put to the American public.  What is the means for realization of this goal?  

A more capable and accountable government.  Hence comes the issue of implementation.  There are two messages in the strategy:  One is about disruption; the other is about creating a capable state.  I would argue that the creation of the goal of a capable state requires a midterm framework.  This is not a goal that can be realized through short-term action.

But how do we create a medium-term framework?  By connecting short- and medium-term actions together to backward mapping.  Meaning that we need to have a picture of where we want to be in 10 years from now, so that actions that can start today lead to that.  Unless there is a road map, there cannot be benchmarking.  Measurement cannot come from short-term actions, because the unintended consequence of those will be greater than their intended consequence.

So the first challenge becomes:  What is the current context?  I am offering a framework that is defined by threats, weaknesses and assets.  The business literature is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  We’re changing, because of this driver.

What are the threats?  Three of them are well-known.  Al Qaeda, because it’s a global threat.  It has a regional manifestation, but the “tango of terror” is regional.  If you’ve looked at the recent pattern, there is an event in Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan, followed by India.  That threat is regional in nature, and it is really a tango.  And we need to understand that all of us are threatened by this threat in common, yet the response of our three countries is individual.  And it often is involved blame games among us.

And, until now, the United States has not focused on the regional nature of the threat.  It has focused on country-specific nature of the threats.  Elevating the game to the regional dimension is really important.

The second threat is insurgency.  I will not elaborate on the full dimensions that are in the paper, but highlight one thing to you.  This is probably one of the best-financed insurgencies in the history of insurgency.  Roughly 400 to a billion and a half dollars a year are at their disposal.  Their sources of finance are getting more diversified, more consolidated.  And because of that, they do not need long lines of supply, et cetera – they can buy a lot of things, in a cash environment.

Three is narcotics.  It’s a very large part of a small economy.  And the threat of narcotics is again global.  Just look at the way it changes from a gram of heroin being worth a dollar twenty in Afghanistan to being worth $32 in Europe.  The path is spatial, the networking global, and it’s integrated.

The fourth part is the one that I want to really emphasize as a threat, because that’s not what usually one associates as a threat: it’s bad governance and corruption.  My argument is that bad governance and corruption have created the vacuum to allow for the three other threats to be consolidated.  Unless we, and until we, address this central issue of the threat that emanates from bad governance, we are not going to make a break.  

Stakeholders in instability now are more consolidated, more organized, than stakeholders in stability.  The great tragedy of the last eight years was that the nature of governance was not understood – not – (inaudible).  When Afghans reformed, the international community was not ready; and when the Afghans retreated from reforms, the international community closed its eyes and ears, and was in denial.

There’s a very good study by the World Bank and UNDP that, for instance, documents on the criminalization of the drug economy, as how criminal interests took over state institutions, very specifically, and turned them from protection of people into protection of criminals.  So now we deal with the task of bad governance as the critical issue.

Weaknesses.  There are two fundamental weaknesses.  And we’ve usually – my colleague, Clare Lockhart and I, in our book, “Fixing Failed States,” have called these the “double failure.”  There’s a failure on the part of the international system, and there’s the failure of the Afghani lead.  The failure of the Afghani lead is that it’s still vested in the war economy.  Our usual mistake in transitions from conflict to seeming peace – because it’s not environment of post-conflict – is that people don’t realize what a fundamental obstacle invested in war economy is.  

And we need to understand this.  The failure of international financial institutions, in particular, to understand this, and to invest in creation of legitimate economic institutions, is a fundamental issue – because the challenge here is to articulate an agenda that would guarantee both the interests of the elite and that of the population.  That requires game-changers.  Those kind of game-changers have not been put in place.

The failure of the international system is that it’s 20th-century institutions that simply cannot meet the needs of the 21st century.  They’re made for a different era.  You have U.N. agencies coming, with all kinds of alphabet that nobody understands, but their main function, supposedly, is to provide technical assistance.  Now I can buy all the technical assistance I need from Nepal, at one-hundredth the cost and 10 times the efficiency.  Why would I need the U.N. agencies?  Or on the ground.  So the design of these institutions needs reworking.  

The other major failure that confronts U.S. decision-makers is USAID.  USAID is a shell of its former self of the 1960s and ’70s, denuded of capacity for delivering development.  It’s a contract-management agency that is largely beholden to the Beltway bandits, and does not have the personnel and the resources to supervise its contractors.  So it’s the problem of the principal and the agent.  The agent has become much more powerful than the principal.  Net result:  out of one dollar of U.S. assistance, 10 cents to 30 cents gets to the ground.  The rest ends up along the Beltway.  That is not what the American public wants, or not what the Afghan public wants.  

That’s the negative side of the story, and I said this is 5 percent of my work.  Ninety-five percent of my work is actually a positive.  My message, contrary to my message of 2003 to Fred, when I was beginning to become pessimistic and warn against the signs that people were ignoring – I’m quite optimistic today that we can get Afghanistan right.  It is very difficult, but it’s by no means impossible.

Why this message?  First, what are the assets?  First, geology.  The natural capital of the country is fantastic.  The recently completed U.S. Geological Survey is very good news.  Afghanistan is not Iraq, so let’s not mistake, but it has enough natural resources to provide the basis of a sustainable economy that would be an alternative to a drug economy.

Second, it has water.  We have 80 billion cubic meter of water a year, and we pump 60 billion of it to our neighbors, without getting advertising in return.  But water, during the next 10 years, is going to become as valuable as oil, if not more so.  So it provides the basis.

Its location, that has been the source of enormous problems in the last three decades, actually makes it the natural connection between South Asia and Central Asia.  It is the only place that can give Pakistan strategic depth in the true meaning of the sense, meaning economic and relational.  So the dynamic can change, from lose-lose to win-win – as well as between South Asia and the Middle East.  

The other is that, contrary to headline news, there’s a series of major institutional successes in the last six years.  I’ll mention two.  One is called National Solidarity, a program of block grants rural development that has given 20 to $60,000 to each village in Afghanistan and has truly covered the country.  From Ambassador Holbrook to Senators Levin and Durbin, to Bob Zoellick at the World Bank – everybody has reviewed these and are stunned by the results.  Democracy at the grass roots is possible and is working.  People have bought in.  Self-management social capital is enormous success.

Second is the telecom.  We went from having 100 mobile phones in 2002 to having 7 1/2 million phones today.  The largest single taxpayer outside custom revenue comes from the telecom sector.  It took six weeks of work, because it was about transparent licensing.  Four companies, each worth more than $600 million, are operating in Afghanistan today.  So it’s not about risk – it’s about how risk-management tools are brought in.  

OPIC, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, has made commitments of more than $1 billion to Afghanistan, and the amount that has been recalled is infinitesimal.  What it brings is the issue of design.  When institutional design is approached the right way, it’s not the context but the design that makes the difference.  

This brings me also to the international assets.  First, in the wake of the global financial crisis, it is incredibly gratifying to see the international community commit both forces and resources to Afghanistan.  President Obama has walked the walk; he has not simply talked the talk.  To commit more forces in this time is an act of both courage and statesmanship.  But, also, the commitment of resources that that entails is quite a significant statement.  

However, with that comes the question of conditions.  It’s a second chance.  Afghans have to do our part – otherwise, it will be a delimited engagement.  International commitment is not going to be there forever – but it is here, and we need to utilize it.

The issue now that forces and resources are committed is regarding the strategic utility and utilization.  Forces in themselves are not the answer – it is the strategy that is going to use them that is the issue.  If these forces are deployed within a counterinsurgency doctrine, the results could be enormously beneficial.  If they are used in other ways, the results could be counterproductive.  So there is the question of choices that arises.

But we also need further imagination.  And I think imagination has been largely lacking because of a simple issue.  The United States, Europe, Japan have not really known what to offer for development of Afghanistan, and the Afghans have not known what to ask for.  

What do I mean by that?  First of these are guarantees.  OPIC has not been matched by Europe.  Europe should become, really, an engine of now not just providing aid, but providing financial architecture.  From Hermès in Germany to Lloyd’s in London to others, really need to be brought together to provide what OPIC has demonstrated – the utility.  And the framework should extend both to Pakistan and Afghanistan, not just to be limited.

Second is green financing.  If 40 of the world’s worst polluters come together to finance the hydropower in Afghanistan, Afghanistan within four to six years could become a major exporter of electricity in the region.  Northern Afghanistan alone has the potential of producing 10,000 megawatts.  Overall, the country could be a major drive of new energy.  And if energy is put on the table, the dynamic will change in the region.  If Europe was about coal and steel Afghanistan and Pakistan could be about energy and transit, and then built on that kind of foundation.  

And third is trade.  And in terms of trade, our first port of call is NATO.  NATO is not buying from us.  NATO is bringing tons of water from abroad, not to mention grapes and other things.  It’s enormously ironic to see Frenchmen eat French grapes in Afghanistan, while we export grapes.  Buying Afghan first could change the dynamic of agriculture radically.

That’s the assets in the question:  How do we prioritize state building?  My recommendation and argument is that we need to tailor the strategy into four orders of institutions, hence the 10-year framework.  So let me very quickly go over these.

First order core function – law and order.  The emphasis overwhelmingly is on security.  In my judgment, this is the wrong emphasis.  We need to reframe security within law and order.  If we go for security without framing it in terms of law and order, we’ll end up with repressive security institutions.  

Second is public finance.  We are leaking 70 percent of our revenue today in Afghanistan due to corruption and mismanagement.  Afghan revenue can be doubled or tripled very quickly, if the political will existed, in a series of mechanisms.

Third is administrative control.  Afghanistan has five levels of government: the village; district; municipality; province; and the central.  We are a unitary system – we are not a federal structure.  Our American friends often confuse our provinces with their own elected governors, and this has produced a lot of unintended results.

These five levels need to be brought together.  It’s not a question of centralization or decentralization – it’s the question of alignment.  And, again, National Solidarity provides one example.  I designed other programs, for other levels, but they were not followed.  

And the fourth is human capital.  Not one university in Afghanistan is functional.  We, together – the Afghans and our international counterparts – have delivered the youth to the arms of the Taliban and irrelevance.  We need to invest in youth.  Two billion dollars is gone in technical assistance.  And Afghanistan’s ranking, in Transparency International, has dropped from 117 in 2005 to 176 – namely, the fifth most-corrupt country – in the same time.  There’s surely something wrong with this recipe.  If we invest in the Afghan higher education and technical education, one could change the dynamic.

The second-order institutions is, simply put, about jobs.  The most common definition of a Talib is an unemployed youth.  Seventy-one percent of Afghans are under the age of 30, and 40 to 60 percent of these are unemployed or suffer from hidden unemployment.  My goal would be to create 1 million jobs in two years.  And five sectors – agriculture, mining, construction, transport and information-communication technology – can provide this.  

In agriculture, the goal should be to raise the income of rural Afghans from $1 a day to $4 a day.  Why $4 a day?  That’s the tipping point in which production of opium does not make economic sense.  You can have any amount of investment in repressive institutions to contain narcotics.  You won’t get there, unless it’s simultaneously accompanied by an agricultural development.  And the irony is, the United States knows how to do this better than anybody.  

A county in Nebraska or Oklahoma has all the knowledge that is required to transform agriculture in Afghanistan.  And not only did you do it in your own country, after the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, you did it fantastically in East Asia.  We just need to draw those models, rather than the Beltway models.

Here my emphasis is on building the market.  We have not paid sufficient attention to building the market, because there was a feeling, during the height of the 1980s and ’90s, that the market was a natural institution.  It is not.  It’s a social construct, and it’s an institution-building process.  And this requires innovative approaches.  And, again, I would emphasize the use of NATO as the first port of call.

Our third-order institutions are about infrastructure.  In creating the global linkages, I have mentioned the hydro potential, then roads and railways, are critical as the next linkage.  China is going to be the greatest purchaser of the mineral resources of Afghanistan, and two things are required if Afghanistan is going to benefit.  One is rule of law.  We need the right contracting arrangements.  The extractive industries’ initiative and transparency is the key requirement.  Second is the railway.  All of Afghanistan’s potential exports are bulky – and without investing in the railway, it will not happen.

It is really ironic at times to see, with hindsight, what one was requesting and was being rejected.  In the Berlin conference of 2004, I requested $27 billion for eight years.  And we had a huge fight, for over four months, because our international colleagues wanted to give us 1 billion, and I was asking 8.2 as the first installment.  I got 8.2.  But the thing that they took out was $500 million for railways.  And today, every single military planner is coming back and is willing to put three times that amount to secure NATO supply routes.  Sometimes locals do know best.  (Chuckles.)  And I think local wisdom, at times, has to be appreciated in commitment.  

The third part is social policy.  We need an activist social policy, but it’s a social policy that is to balance the market and redistribution together.  I offer one example.  We have 700,000 disabled in our country.  An artificial foot costs between $3,000 and $15,000 in Europe or the United States.  So it’s outside our affordability limit – and, hence, you see these people.  But you know what?  India has created an artificial foot that costs $40.  It’s called the Jaipur foot.  It does not require immense imagination to produce the Jaipur foot by Afghan women in poor urban neighborhoods who are unemployed, to hit two goals at the same time.  A new social contract can be arrived at, that is both affordable and drives both the economy and the polity.  

And related to this is, we need to approach development through creation of platforms.  The National Solidarity program that I brought to your attention is a platform for rural development.  A lot more could be built on it.  For instance, in my count, 40 percent of the country could be provided with power through microhydro, and within two years.  Thirty-5 percent of Nepal has this, so it is not outside the range.  But one needs to think institutionally and create the linkages.

The fourth-order institutions, first and foremost, are about three things.  First is public borrowing.  Municipal borrowing could become an engine of municipal change.  We have to get outside aid to trade in borrowing capability.  But here is the constraint.  One hundred countries around the world, Iraq being the worst, cannot spend their money.  Everybody talks about the need for money – very few people talk about the expenditure constraint.  The expenditure constraint is removed when you have a proper construction industry and the rules and regulations.  And that is the lubrication when public borrowing becomes a driver of efficiency.

Second is regulation.  Regulation is often considered a luxury.  But it was failure of regulation in Afghanistan that created the deepening of the criminalization of the economy.  So things that look like luxuries at times become very necessity.  And here, particularly in terms of public cultural environmental assets, is critical.

I’ll give you just one example.  I pay $400 a month for my Internet service in Kabul.  What I would like to see is the first country that is Wi-Fi-free.  The taxes that you will get from Internet are a fragment of the economic benefit that we could have if we created a Wi-Fi-free country.  So one has to jump over a lot of things, because if we had a Wi-Fi-free country, with spectrum, education in the remotest areas could be brought to access.  Market relationship would change; efficiency transparency will increase, et cetera.  

Then, again, we need to come back to the centrality of human capital, because there are two predictors today of development: natural capital and human capital.  We have the natural capital, but we do not have the human capital.  And here what is required is a 10-year framework of the capabilities that are going to be required, and relentlessly investing in them.  

For instance, if mining is as important as I’m arguing it is, then we need at least 500 people who understand the legal aspects of mining contracts.  Or 500 other people who are going to understand every aspect of copper.  We have probably the second- or third-largest copper deposits in the world.  These things cannot be done unless there’s a framework.  

What’s the strategic justification for the medium-term objectives?  First, the country has had a history of stability.  The first eight decades of the country – those of you who are old enough to have been on the Hippie Trail will recall that you went through Afghanistan paying $20, and you were never stopped.  The last 20 years are an aberration.  And those 20 years were the results of Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and then the decision of the West, and the Arab governments, to fight it.  They are not typical.

Second, there has been a national consensus for state-building and institutional success between 2002 and 2005.  Thirdly, the most-important factor: the Afghan people want to buy into the process of globalization and change.  You know what we want?  We want to be ordinary.  My desire is to be able to go back to the village where my family has been for 400 years, and sit under a tree without a bodyguard.  I cannot do that.  There are 50 gangs in my province.  But that desire for ordinariness is what drives the foundation, and provides us with a sense of justice and peace.

And here I think American military innovation is the next key strategic justification.  COIN, or the counterinsurgency doctrine, connects to deep Afghan cultural roots – namely, the quest for justice.  Thompson, who first worked in Malaysia, put the equation best:  Legality plus construction plus results should equal government.  Illegality plus destruction plus promises should equal insurgency.  

Today, unfortunately, the first half of the equation is not there.  But because COIN recognizes the centrality of government, COIN in Afghanistan is to be seen as a medium-term.  It’s not going to be like Iraq, with a quick surge.  This is going to require four to 10 years, at the minimum.  And that is the important issue.  And, lastly, internationally, donors now understand the costs of incoherence, and, I think, already – (inaudible).  Everybody is talking about coordination, but not knowing.  

So how do we get to those goals, given the current context?  Five quick observations.  One – get the elections right.  The game-changer is not the insurgency and counterinsurgency battle to the finish.  The game-changer is to produce a legitimate election, that the next government of Afghanistan can have a mandate for governing.  

Two – make this international strategy coherent.  We don’t have a coherent international strategy.  Incoherence has been the name of this.  It’s called “strategy” on paper, on the ground – it’s been advertising but strategic.  Lower the objectives, by all means, or elevate them, but make it coherent – and stick to them.

Three – prepare a series of new national programs, along the models that I suggested.  Four – use national solidarity as a platform.  And five – because everything cannot be done at the same time, invest in creating eight model provinces this year.  Afghanistan has 34 provinces.  If we can demonstrate success in eight provinces, we would have regained the initiative vis-à-vis the insurgency.  

The final message:  It is doable.  Afghanistan is difficult, but not impossible.  South Korea in the ’50s; Singapore in the ’60s; and other places – Malaysia – all demonstrated enormous difficulties at the beginning.  But there were changes that shifted the direction from incoherence and improvisation to coherence in pursuit of a clear strategy.  And that give us the winners.  

I hope, 10 years from now, we can celebrate the successes of a joint venture and adventure.  Thank you.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ashraf.  


MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ashraf.  I think I undersold you in the beginning when I said someone who knows the local situation intimately but understands the global context intimately.  I think you’ve just heard a presentation on somebody’s country and its context in not only the regional order or global order – which is stunning – and that’s the reason we have published this report.  Also for those of you who are here, we will do a full transcript of this proceeding so that you will also get Ashraf’s ideas off our Web site as soon as we can get it up there.

Let me also acknowledge Joe Snyder here, the former head of our Asia program, who got our Pakistan work on the report that we got going last year.  I’m going to start with a question, but I’m going to turn to the audience right away, so please get ready.  Here’s my first question – and I hate to go to news from today when we’re talking and we’re trying to have a longer gaze, but just as you can’t achieve tomorrow – just as you can’t know what to do today if you don’t know what you’re after tomorrow, you also won’t achieve tomorrow unless you recognize the dangers of today.

So the news – if you haven’t seen it already – is Secretary Hillary Clinton’s testimony today on the Hill where she talks about Pakistan posing a mortal threat – quote, “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world.”  Pakistan’s government – Reuters reads, “Pakistan’s government has abdicated to the Taliban in agreeing to impose Islamic law in Swat Valley and the country now poses, quote, a ‘mortal threat’ to the world, said U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton.  

Ashraf, I wonder if you could talk about this in two respects.  First of all, do you agree?  How would you respond to Secretary Clinton?  And second of all, are we in danger of losing Afghanistan again as a priority in America?  Before, it was for Iraq, but are we now going to go headlong in Pakistan, which one has to do, no doubt.  But at the same time, have you seen signs or are you concerned that the Obama administration, which started with a very, very sharp focus on Afghanistan – and I’m not trying to say they’re separate, but one could see some distraction from what really seemed to be a very – a real shift from Iraq to Afghanistan as the place to focus energies on now.  

MR. GHANI:  Thank you.  I studied Pakistan from 1980 to 1996.  So in some ways, I know it better than Afghanistan.  And the central issue is Pakistan has not figured out succession.  There’s been – the process of succeeding to office legitimately has not been figured.  Second, the Pakistani military is a real factor.  Afghanistan does not have the equivalent.  So in a context like this, what is – but the civil and the military have not reached agreement on rules of the game.
The fundamental issue, if Pakistan is going to shift to address that kind of situation, is going to be a civil-military alliance , realistically, because security in Pakistan has been deteriorating for 20 years.  Karachi is not ruled – the largest port in the country.  Three of Pakistan’s – from a perspective of neighbor or from perspective of scholar or World Bank official, et cetera, I’ve seen Pakistan – and then as a high rank of one government official.  

I’ve never understood what Pakistan’s national interests are.  I’ve had no difficulty understanding Iran’s national interest; I’ve had no difficulty understanding Uzbekistan’s national interest or Turkmenistan’s national interest.  But as neighbors of Pakistan, we get to be very confused as to who speaks and what is the order of priority.  And this is the challenge in Pakistan.  Because of this, it is a very difficult environment.  

Second, however, is we need – Pakistan’s need for a stable relationship with the West has not been addressed during the last 60 years.  What’s been the pattern?  Pakistan has been floated when there has been a regional crisis or global crisis and Pakistan has been dropped when that crisis has been over.  If we want stability in Pakistan and in Afghanistan, I think a 10-to-20-year framework of partnership really needs to be put in place.  

Everyone cannot be a member of NATO; everyone cannot be a member of the EU.  But more innovative mechanisms have to be devised to bring these sort of issues together.  Pakistan is suffering from fundamental insecurity – two-thirds of its borders are still not recognized.  So we need innovative mechanisms in terms of.

Now, as to the danger, David Sanger’s book, “Inheritance,” is something that everybody should read.  It is a frightening book because the risks that he indicates and underlines on the basis of very high level access to U.S. officials frightens both us in the region and should frighten the rest of the world.  And I think Secretary Clinton is highlighting those.  Now, from risk to risk management is a different issue.  Now that the risks in Pakistan are recognized, how do we arrive at the strategy that manages these risks through mechanisms of partnership that are going to be medium to long-term?

The first of these:  Do not rely on lynchpins.  We have done this before.  An individual cannot be a country.  One has to strive towards building systems and this means now being a catalyst for building regional systems.  It cannot be security per country.  You know, there’s the whole joke of socialism in one country, and of course it imploded.  But one needs security, regional arrangements and broader definition of them.  

As to Pakistan taking all the oxygen the way Iraq did, that danger is real.  And it’s because of this that I think we need to focus on the elections in Afghanistan and on the significant differences – both similarities, inter-linkages – but also differences.  Afghanistan is difficult, but its easier establish democratic institutions in Afghanistan than it actually is Pakistan, ironically, because we do not have the military as a formidable contender and stakeholder to negotiate.  

If, however, we understand, then, from a comparative perspective – not to speak as national but as a member of peer advisory board – Pakistan is a nuclear power, any instability in Pakistan will have deeply threatening effects on the region and on the world.  But having said that, neglecting Afghanistan for a third time would have a very high price and we need to be able to make sure that now the definition of U.S. strategy is regional in the focus – stays regional in terms of the inter-linkages and getting there.  

The U.S. team makes me optimistic.  General Jones, Ambassador Holbrooke, Ambassador Eikenberry, Secretary Clinton – are all an enormously good team.  So if cannot be done with this type of team, with the experience and forethought that they bring, then one would not be able to do it that way.

MR. KEMPE:  Okay, thank you very much Ashraf.  I see questions – I saw yours first and then we’ll go first.  And please identify yourself as well as you ask your question.

Q:  Good evening, my name is Andrea Kivandra (ph) from Georgetown University.  I study anthropology and this area in particular so I know you are an anthropologist by training and I’ve studied your articles during my studies.  So now my question is not so much to the former minister of the Republic of Afghanistan but to the anthropologist that, inshallah, will be the next president, hopefully.  

So you talked about democratic institutions; you have talked about changing things; and the program that you envision fits perfectly, I would say, a liberal and Western-minded environment.  Now, what I see, though, is that Afghanistan is hardly a liberal and Western-minded environment.  Half of the country – namely the Pashtun section of the country – is a tribal society and mostly rural, which probably would have other ideas and, specifically, responses to democratic institutions as we see them.

So since the 1880s, Abdur Rahman and Amanullah and Mohammad Daud – they have tried to centralize, to endorse and enforce more democratic institutions.  They have failed.  They have failed because the tribal society has rejected these advancements, has rejected these modifications of their traditional way of life.  So how do you think, now, your try – your next try – your attempt will overcome the problems that so many other people have had?  How do you treat the tribal society?

MR. GHANI:  Thank you.  It’s an excellent question and I appreciate the question.  First, tribes don’t have definitions.  Afghan tribes are not corporate, meaning that there is no estate attached to an Afghan tribe.  So imposition of the anthropological definition of an African tribe from the 1920s onto the Afghan context is a radical misreading.  Western anthropology has been extremely bad in terms of reading Afghan culture.

And if you know my work, you know, I documented the last 400 years as a process of fluidity.  Identity is not fixed.  An Afghan, by definition, has multiple identities.  That becomes very difficult for people from others to understand.  Identity is situational.  I’ll just give you one example from a Pashtun in Pakistan whose name was Walih Khan (sp) – the head of a major political party.  He was asked whether he was Pakistani.  

He said he was a Pashtun for 5,000 years, a Muslim for 1,500 years and a Pakistani for 32 years, so you judge – what’s his identity?  We need to understand that symbolic systems have flexibility.  A misreading – Khost is radically different than Helmand; Helmand is very different from Badhgis.  To generalize too quickly would be problematic – that’s my first submission to you.  So it requires reading context.  

Q:  So a local approach.

MR. GHANI:  A local approach is one part of it in this model.  The second is, you know, five million of us were refugees.  You go to an Afghan village, you ask two questions.  How many of you have been abroad?  How many of you have relatives abroad?  You will get the answer, usually, between 75 to 95 percent to one or both questions.  To think that the Afghans of today are the Afghans of 19th or 18th century would be a vast misreading.  

You know, we had electricity when we were refugees.  Now, when we talk, and talk about electricity as defining the effectiveness of the state, it’s a different set of measures.  Three, one-third of our society is urban; at least a third of us are living in cities.  Fourth is the emergence of women.  When I was talking to the elders of Khost as to who will determine the result of the election, you know what they said?  

It’s the women.  They said, it’s the women, stupid.  If you don’t get the women, you’re not going to win the election.  They are not following anybody.  So anthropology is very useful when it’s processural (sic) – when it takes the long process.  Anthropology is extremely dangerous when it’s static.  And contemporary anthropology has become very ahistorical.  

Q:  (Inaudible, off mike) – diachronic approach.  

MR. GHANI:  It’s a diachronic approach that really needs to – in your jargon – (chuckles) – to become important to them.  The question is between history and agency.  People make their history, as – it’s been frequently recognized, particularly from the Balkans, you know, history is both a constraint and an opportunity.  We have too much history.  I want to overcome our history.  And I think the way I read my people – I’ve talked, at least, to tens of thousands of people since July in a very organized process of consultation.  I don’t hear what you say.

What they want is a functioning government that is accountable to them, foreign forces that are directed by rule of law, a development discourse that really is about change of opportunities.  Then the question of which system of legitimation you put at it is much easier. Last observation on Islam:  The Islam that I’d like to see is the Islam of 1,000 years ago.  I want to go back 1,000 years ago in order to move 1,000 years forward.  

A thousand years ago, we were the center of a global synthesis that brought India, Persia, Rome and the emerging Islamic world together.  And it created the Abbasid-Ghaznavid synthesis.  That Islam is enormously confident.  You know, there was one man called Abu Rahihan al Biruni; he lived in Ghazni 1,000 years ago.  His mathematical outputs alone are 20,000 current printed pages.  We need to feel back – you know, that’s the man who transferred zero and the so-called Arabic numerals to the West.

So we need to reclaim part of our past, because our problem has been that a lot of my generation falsely embraced Western notions and lost its roots.  I stand very firmly within that global Islamic tradition of dialogue, where we are not afraid, where we know who we are in certain senses and in other senses, we converse.  So we have to shift to what President Khatami of Iran has also called the dialogue of civilization, not the clash of civilization.  That, I think, is what I read.  And I hope I’m right and that – I feel that the Afghan population – the public – is about five miles – for the first time in our history – ahead of our intellectuals and ahead of our political leaders.  I think we can govern from the center.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you for that answer.  I’m going to go to a board member of ours toward the back and then I’ll come to you second.  Before Jim Woolsey asks this question I want to say one thing since the last questioner brought it up.  We at the Atlantic Council realize that Ashraf Ghani is a candidate for president of Afghanistan.  This project was started long before that; in fact, it took you a long time to put out this paper.  (Laughter.)  We are nonpartisan in the United States, so it only follows that we’ll be nonpartisan globally.  And so we do not endorse any candidate for the presidency of Afghanistan.

MR. GHANI:  And I’m not campaigning –

(Cross talk.)  

MR. KEMPE:  No, but I want to make clear that this is not the purpose of this meeting or this is why we’re doing it.  We do endorse every word of this terrific paper and we are fundamentally against corruption and failing democracies.  So let me just say that.  Jim Woolsey?

Q:  Jim Woolsey, Stanford University – (inaudible, off mike).  I wanted to ask about the distributive generation of energy.  The water and energy projects that you talked about are extremely important but also seem to require – (inaudible) – great deal of – (inaudible).  And there’s a long history going back well before Jefferson was arguing with Hamilton about – (inaudible) – farmers, and Gandhi – (inaudible) – that suggests that global economic competitions, including energy does extremely positive things for a society.  Claire (ph), earlier, was talking to – (inaudible) – progress and work she was doing in Afghanistan on solar, wind and biomass, done locally, used locally – (inaudible).

MR. GHANI:  Sure.  Well, thank you again, Mr. Woolsey, for being here and for the question.  First experiments that took place were using literally the transformation of swords into plowshares – namely, taking the dynamo of a Russian tank and turning into an engine for generating power at the local level.  There are lots of villages in Afghanistan that are generating, you know, five kilowatts to 50.  It’s beginning; what’s the problem?  The problem is that we don’t have manufacturing capacity with control.  We have one million tons of scrap metal, but it’s fast disappearing.  

So it’s – my first proposal is precisely to make national solidarity a vehicle for delivering micro-hydro.  Essentially, the design is quite simple.  You need an engine that can last – DARPA is examining some of the engines now to see.  Then you need a patent to manufacture that engine so it can be reliable.  And third is local involvement.  There is a woman in Ghazni; she read about the fact that water could be turned into electricity.  Her husband and her sons were all working in Iran.  She mobilized the women, got stones to harness this form, then brought the men to work on the heavier stones.

Then she collected $20 per villager – she brought an association of villagers together.  Without a single NGO, without a single foreign influence, she generated power for her village.  And it’s the cleanest village, probably, in Afghanistan today.  So local initiative is extremely important in this.  But if we want to go to scale and change the dynamic, particularly for women, we need to bring to scale to it.  And that means bringing production and distribution together and then investing in it and allowing for it.  

In terms of meso-level, the French have come with – about 20 years ago – came with a method that puts the turbines in the middle of a river.  So you don’t need the great, old dams like Hoover Dam or the dams of China or others.  If you took a river – and this has been done in Canada and Thailand, as two examples – and really treated it as a network of these small to medium dams, you could generate the same amount of electricity as two or three huge dams that have a lot of environmental and social adverse cost.  And this has none.    

And that is my proposal.  We need – you know, we have this great capability in PRTs as engineers.  But they are not networked.  If we could use the engineering capability of the Army Corps of Engineers to design our electric systems, we could really move very rapidly – or bring, for instance, Norway, which as enormous experience in this regard, or Canada.  A lot of things could be done differently.

The reason I am emphasizing medium and then large power is because neither agriculture nor mining nor services can really move without power.  I’m very much in favor of small participation.   And the design of national solidarity – the way I designed it – was that in five years, the bulk of it would turn into national rural enterprise.  The model that I really have is that most Afghan villages should become enterprises.  We will not be able to afford a model of social policy that distributes forever.

So you need to generate the wealth that can pay for this.  And that, I think, brings the two together because information technology today could bring – be the critical linkage between decentralization and centralization.  Decentralization should be at the level of administrative practices.  Centralization should come from economic magnets that attract people and link them.  

Jewelry, for instance, could provide probably 500,000 jobs to Afghan women if the design connects us to major museums, to major shops and centers of outlet.  An Afghan woman can produce enormous things of quality.  Their problem is not production of quality; their problem is access to the global value chains.  Heroin is linked globally, but not the fruit, not the textile, not the jewelry that an Afghan woman can produce.  

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  Please.  

Q:  David Isby (ph).  Sir, I note your frankness in which you identify the failures of Afghanistan’s political elite as contributing to much of the current problems, and I’ve seen much of that failure results people being mobilized not to a national vision but to either ethno-linguistic or local at different levels.  How can a government, which by it’s constitution is not a federal system, incorporate its diverse ethnicity, prevent things fissuring on that line, when wealthy countries such as Belgium and Canada find intractable issues?  How does Afghanistan do that?  

MR. GHANI:  Sure.  Well, the first thing is we are the only country in South Asia that has never had a separatist movement.  That is worth noticing.  Every single province of Pakistan has had a separatist movement.  No one in Afghanistan, during the worst of our days, has raised the question – the specter – of separatism.  That speaks for a history that largely has a symbolic, common identity.  The second issue is the question of segmentation.  How do we segment really matters.  

You know, the beauty of General Petraeus’s approach to Iraq was that, you know, everybody else was dividing and subdividing Iraq into 40 categories of Shia, 25 categories of Sunni, Kurds, et cetera; he came and simplified it to reconcilables and irreconcilables.  It changed the dynamic of the strategy.  In Afghanistan, there are three numerical majorities that are economic and political minorities today.  

First are the poor.  They constitute 80 percent of the country.  Poverty in Afghanistan does not know ethnicity.  Second are the youth.  They are 71 percent of the country and again, the youth are not – both being divided and not being divided along ethnic lines.  Third are the women.  They are the third majority.  But they are a minority, politically and economically.  One has to focus on an agenda of creating the empowerment of these groups.  Where is the common bond and where is the problem?

The problem is the vacuum of a political vision.  Ethnicity filled a vacuum because the Islam ideology of resistance to the Soviets failed to deliver governance.  They became warlords and fighters, not statesmen.  The communist ideology failed to deliver because it gave us red terror.  There was a democratic project that needed to be articulated in terms of citizenship rights and rule of law that the Afghan elites were treated for.  Once that happens, ethnicity was the structure in reserve.  

But ethnicity has not delivered development.  You know, vote-banks have still not been created.  There is a lot of dissatisfaction, but that dissatisfaction is taking the general characteristic of disenchantment with lack of development and absence of rule of law.  So the turnaround issue is how can you use the center to become a magnet instead of the source of the repulsion?  That means roughly 3,000 Afghans have to take a fast from corruption for 10 years.  If we can persuade 3,000 Afghans in key, core government positions, you don’t need the 400,000 bureaucracy.  You just need 3,000.

And think innovatively about private-public partnership in ways that Spain did or Singapore did – a democratic model and a more authoritative model.  Then the capacity – the energy that is there – can really be harnessed.  Not to go too long about it, but what – Afghans are an entrepreneurial people.  We’ve known money for a couple of million years.  The word check was invented by us and went to other languages.  We were transferring money long before anybody knew what money was.  We understand market signals.  

The other is that collective conscience really is very powerful.  Individual judgments can be problematic.  But there is a collective conscience and it’s the harnessing of that – is it difficult?  Absolutely, because the playing field has become strewn with a lot of mines.  Is there an alternative to building that kind of vision?  No, because what would be the alternative?  It would be 40 years of conflict.

We can go to a prolonged type of conflict, like Columbia, but be much more intense.  And it will have devastating consequences.  So 1991, you could have gotten Afghanistan right roughly with $500 million and five days of attention in Washington.  You didn’t.  We got 9/11.  Now, the scale of the problem and the nature of attention required is vastly different, but I don’t think we have an alternative but to focus to get it right.  

Q:  Thank you.

Q:  Thank you.  Thank you very much for this report.  I have rarely seen a report that deals directly with the long-term issue as it should be.  And especially in Washington, the comprehensiveness of the report and the policy options – very solid.  So having said that, let me take issue with one item of the report, especially in relations to the short-term recommendations.  I think that the nature of the insurgency today in the region – as you have mentioned, this is a regional issue – is such that, in my opinion, it’s very likely that it would actually overwhelm the short-term issues, recommendations that you have just described.

I could imagine a scenario that now, the insurgency certainly are taking territory across the border, and in the South of Afghanistan, have a certain amount of control.  So if that is the case, you know, people refer to the fact that Pakistan will be – the army will take over and it will be okay.  But this time, it will be different, because the army actually have to fight against this insurgency that’s very powerful and sophisticated.  So we will see bloodshed and somewhat of a chaos that would affect Afghanistan.

My question is that given that likely scenario, that the nature of the insurgency is imminently important, perhaps there would be a way of viewing the short-term recommendations from a different context.  In an otherwise excellent report, I think this is one aspect that is somewhat missing.

MR. KEMPE:  I think that’s an excellent question, Ashraf, and let me pile an additional question onto that, which is, how does the situation now look on the ground with the insurgency in Afghanistan?  There, of course, is this surge – whatever you want to call it – that’s happening in terms of U.S. troops.  On the other hand, you speak of a Taliban that’s enormously well-financed and seems to be getting more sophisticated and perhaps even more capable.  So building on that question is my own question.

MR. GHANI:  Sure, I think – thank you for an excellent question and observation.  The section on threats clearly underlines the logic of what the insurgency is doing.  The contrast between the insurgency’s learning and counterinsurgency’s absence of learning is really quite striking.  The insurgents are building on everything in the last thousand years of tradition of insurgency in the region, and are incorporating everything from Mao to Diep.  

The counterinsurgency, by contrast, is not a learning organization, particularly on the part of the Afghan government.  The Afghan government is not standing for governance.  So the problem is, where would you need a game-changer?  Unless the election becomes the critical game-changer, you’re not having anything else.  The current Afghan government is not capable of ruling.  They have been in power; can they point out to a single program that they’ve initiated to arrest the decline?

Instead, the game has been on whether the term of the president runs on the 22nd of May.  We’ve wasted enormous amount of time on an issue that, really, the elite cares about.  You know, whether he stays in office six more months or others is neither here nor there.  The national interest would have required about two days’ discussion on this and a mechanism of resolving it.  So if you’re pointing to the mechanism that the insurgency’s threat can be addressed in the short term, without the election, you’re not going to get it.

So it’s not that I’ve not considered; it’s that my considered judgment is that change is not going to occur.  Too, in terms of where the situation currently is, my reading is that the Taliban has upgraded their capacity to all 34 provinces.  The plan of action that they have arrived at is targeting a two-phase series of actions.  Phase 1 is choice of targets; Phase 2 is simple verification.  And they’ve put a structure for doing this.  Now, this produces a changing environment for the new forces.

So the question is, who’s going to have the initiative?  The Afghan government is not.  It has not produced the kind of governance, the kind of district administrators or the kind of strategy to be able to get a reputation for good governance or delivery of services or tackling agriculture or tackling any of the major needs.  The international community has not been coordinated.  It failed miserably to address last winter’s drought and the consequences of it.  

What will the implementation plan look like?  The strategic goals are the right goals; the deployment has taken place; but what is the implementation arrangement on the ground?  We are going to find out.  So in that regard, on the one side, we know the nature of the threat has become enhanced, but the nature of who is going to take the first initiative is not known.  

And I think this is the critical set of decisions that is going to confront both the new key international players on the ground and the Obama administration, because changing context is going to bring a series of decision where the contours of the strategy, where different things were accommodated within the same paper, would need to be defined much more clearly.

MR. KEMPE:  So in other words, the signs of progress we’re reading about in the U.S. press and otherwise right now are over-exaggerated?

MR. GHANI:  It’s a difficult balance, because the fighting season has not started in earnest.  And once the fighting season starts, we will know the full nature of the threat.

MR KEMPE:  General there, I see you.  Yeah, thanks.  And if you could identify yourself for the audience too, please, if you don’t mind.

Q:  I’m Bob Magnus and I’m the one who is going to ask all of the questions, but I will ask just one.  (Laughter.)  Thank you very much for an excellent presentation and response to some very difficult questions.  So you’re – even though this isn’t a political forum, you’re well prepared.  (Laughter.)  It’s not a big surprise, given what I will call the seasonality of the insurgency – I mean, there’s winter, there’s planting season, there’s harvesting season and there’s fighting season.  I know because I’ve had the pleasure to be in your country with an enormously talented society, even though by standards of Iraq or the United States, we think that it’s primitive.  But in fact, there’s a tremendous resilience of the people.  

The concern I’ve got is exactly this flow of good and bad news and the distraction that it creates in Afghanistan or it creates when the shift goes to someplace else, like Pakistan.  And understanding that this is inevitable, but the problem is, it’s no surprise that we’re going to get more news out of Afghanistan and more good news out of Afghanistan because we’ve got more U.S. forces going there.  And on a transient basis, they will do some good, and the good will be reported and hopefully, there will be a few number of tragedies, but there will be in war, and those will also be reported.  

But to be careful, as we are a very – we’re very fluid people; we like to see a problem, solve a problem and move on – to mistake what happens in this harvesting and fighting season as a long-term trend for the society.  And I think the biggest problem we’ve got is not so much that the country will be distracted by the – our leadership will be distracted by Pakistan – but, in fact, that our populous will become weary of these ebbing and flowing – and I agree with you that this is a multi-year problem; four years is – I’m not saying it’s optimistic, but clearly, that was the lower band of something which we have.  

So could you talk to us, as Americans, and to the quote, “West,” about how to translate a coherent U.S. strategy, which is now Af-Pak, but also a coherent NATO and ISAF strategy into something that we can sell ourselves over time?  I think the Romans had a word called tolerance, which was not the kind of thing that Americans think of in tolerance; it was the ability to endure pain and suffering.  And this is something where we, along with the Afghan people, have to endure.

MR. GHANI:  Well, thank you.  I had to count on you for asking difficult questions, and I’m delighted.  Thank you and thank you for the service that you’ve rendered, both to your people and to Afghanistan.  My first observation is, in a counterinsurgency environment, or in war, it’s the direction of the news, not the final result, that really matters.  So we have – the first game-changer would be to produce a series of good-news stories from Afghanistan – not that they’re good news in the sense that the media temporarily reports it, but that there are changing events that convinces the American public that the blood and treasure that they’re putting is producing results.

So how do we do this?  There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit.  We pick the low-hanging fruit in order to create the sense of confidence among the Afghan people that things are going right, because if things are prioritized – when I was finance minister, I carried a reform every four months, but I carried 100 percent.  I would not start something that I wasn’t intending to finish.  I centralized the revenue in six weeks.  Our strongmen had taken control of customs; we generated the political consensus and then I implemented it relentlessly.  That created a sense that we knew what we were doing.

If we want to regain the initiative, we have to go from improvisation to a bit of choreography, because then you can provide a sense of where you’re going, and once you get there, you can tell people what you have done, and then say the next step.  The first change with the new Afghan administration would be a 100-day plan of action.  And it would have to be credible enough to create, then, the environment for subsequent things.  

Let me shift, just slightly, grounds and see why I’m arguing this.  You know, you’ve had troops in Korea – in South Korea – for decades.  Is it really dawning on American public as to how many troops you have in Korea?  They take it for granted because they’re not front news.  Because there is not a threat on a daily basis, tolerance in the second sense – and in the first sense – is increasing.  So we have to bring a condition.  Second is the justification for the American public and for the European public is to be really there, front and center.  Where is the justification coming?  The justification is going to come from Afghan citizens.  

When women stand up and say they want to go to school, even though people throw acids at them, that convinces the American public that these are people worth supporting.  You know, Dexter from the New York Times – yeah – has just ended up, because of that story, he’s in Kandahar right now.  You know, incidentally, congratulations – he’s won the Pulitzer.  A lot of American citizens wrote and provided money to that school – I think over $25,000 has been collected by small checks, to just give to that school.

We need us to humanize the situation – to get the ordinary Afghan citizens to say their lives are improving in fundamental ways.  Second is NATO needs to have an exit strategy in a very conscious way – not in the sense that NATO has to run away or break apart, but it has to have a sense of what will Afghan security institutions and political institutions look like to enable it to get out.  This is what this paper attempts to lay down, because if you look in 2002 or 2004, the expectations were just the opposite.  They were not arriving at an architecture of governance with us; it was a temporary set of measures in order to accommodate temporary considerations.

I think wisdom will now require really arriving at a four-to-10-year framework and relentlessly pursuing it.  And this means two things:  One, recognizing the limitations of every contributing country, that if they are not going to contribute troops to a real command structure, then it has to be understood as such.  Two, what is the other contributions that they can make?  Europe can make enormous set of contributions to the economic area.  And if that area is brought, then the key insight of counterinsurgency, that it’s 20 percent use of force and 80 percent about governance and development, could become the mechanism of how to engage.

In this context, I think we have to develop joint decision-making mechanisms.  The agricultural commission that was created for China by President Roosevelt, and actually signed into law by President Truman, is a model of the type of joint decision-making that one has to explore a lot of other mechanisms so that this fission that comes from parallel organizations in attempting to do things the most expensive way is changed.  Illustration:  One-third of U.S. forces today are doing civilian tasks.  Are those civilian tasks really to be performed by American civilians, or can we perform them by Afghans?

You know, PRTs for instance, contract building of wells and building of schools – each supervision of a well takes a convoy of six to 10 cars.  It’s a very risky adventure.  Afghans have been digging wells for about 5,000 years; I think we should be trusted with digging wells.  It will be done at one-tenth of the cost.  So some simplification of the mechanisms and creating the mechanisms of joint ownership and decision-making could go a long way.  And then the type of news that comes would be reinforced.  

If the direction is right and the fight is seen as just, I think a cause matters both to the American public and to Afghan public.  American public, in my reading – you know, I have two American children – are very patriotic.  If the patriotic sense is harnessed to this global effort and that the threat is regional and the threat there is to lives here, the justification could be established, but they have to see movement.  And I think movement is possible.  

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ashraf.  I know there are more questions in the audience and I particularly apologize to a couple of people who I just didn’t get to.  And I’m sorry about that and I’ll get you first at the next meeting.  Let me just say, in brief, that there’s a lot to chew on in this report and what you said today.  I think the whole idea of matching short-term actions with long-term goals is such a simple one, but it’s one that so rarely is done – and the fact that we’ve laid out the long-term goals here against which the short-term actions can be matched.  

Now, will that always be perfect?  No, but you at least have to have them in front of you.  And I think the long-term goals you’ve laid out are actually inspiring in the sense that they’re doable, there’s a lot there, there’s enormous possibilities in Afghanistan.  And I think one of the things that one has to combat in this town is, you know, too rapid a fatigue about a situation and great cynicism, very often, about situations.  So I think this is a very important report.

There’s also some interesting news in all of this today, for anyone who was following that.  I think the response to Secretary Clinton’s remarks on Pakistan was quite interesting, and the doubts about what’s going on in terms of counterinsurgency on the ground in Afghanistan from someone who’s just come back from the ground in Afghanistan.  

The election is a crucial turning point, of course, and the call for a hunger fast on corruption for 3,000 senior officials.  Not to mention, for all of those who follow anthropology, I think we have delved into anthropology in a depth that is not usually done at the Atlantic Council.

So I want to thank you on behalf of the audience, Ashraf.  But I want to thank you in the way that you thanked General Magnus for your service to your country, Afghanistan, for your service to your other country, the United States, for your service to the world – but, most of all, for your service to the Atlantic Council, of course.  Thank you very much.

MR. GHANI:  (Chuckles.)  Thank you.  (Applause.)

It’s a treat to be with you.  My last thing is, there’s a 300-page version of this in Pashto, Dari and Uzbek that is really going to, hopefully, launch a national debate in Afghanistan.  So we are not keeping this confined to English and thanks to Fred’s prodding because, without your prodding, I think I would have never done this or that one.  (Chuckles.)  So thank you.  


MR. KEMPE:  Every week.  So where’s that tenure – (inaudible, laughter).  What do you mean they’re running for president?  We haven’t finished the report.  Thank you very much, Ashraf.


MR. GHANI:  Thank you.

Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.

Transcript: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Obama – Discussions on the New Strategy

Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, DC.

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Gentlemen, you’ve attracted a crowd.  Good afternoon and welcome to this ambassadorial discussion at the Atlantic Council.  I’m Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council.  We’re delighted to welcome Ambassador Husain Haqqani of the Embassy of Pakistan and Ambassador Said Jawad of the Embassy of Afghanistan.  And we’re also grateful that you’ve all taken the time this afternoon.  

Ambassador Haqqani, I’m delighted to note, made his maiden public appearance as ambassador at the Atlantic Council some months back and since that time, you’ve won the great respect of everyone you’ve dealt with here in Washington.  And since then, as you know, Ambassador, we’ve established our South Asian center at the Atlantic Council with its director, Shuja Nawaz, underscoring the importance that we give to the issues of your region, not just at the moment, but in an ongoing and permanent manner.

The first report of this new center – cochaired by Senator Kerry and our new chairman of the board, Senator Hagel, has received broad notice and attention.  I believe there are copies outside the room; there are also copies on our Web site,  So it’s personally a pleasure to see you again here, Ambassador Haqqani, as we’ve known each other back to the early days of my work at the Wall Street Journal, when I was already relying on you when you were an even younger man than you are now – for you expertise and guidance.  

I won’t take up time here reciting your CV except to say that beyond being a highly respected professor if international relations and a thinker and intellectual, you have had a distinguished career in government during which you’ve served three prime ministers, and of course in particular, the late Benazir Bhutto.  

Afghanistan as well is lucky to be so well-represented in the United States.  Said Jawad, before coming here in 2003, played a number of crucial roles in his country for President Karzai, including chief of staff and press secretary and was critical – and I’m not sure which is actually the more difficult of the two tasks – and was critical to formulating and managing the strategies and policies for rebuilding the country and its institutions and did some quite notable work, particularly in the ministry of defense.

Like Ambassador Haqqani, Ambassador Jawad is a gifted and published writer, thinker and lawyer; fluent English, German and French speaker.  So I can’t imagine having before us two more articulate interlocutors, and I also can’t imagine a more historic moment to have two such interlocutors.  Our subject is timely.  Just two weeks ago, the Obama administration unveiled its new strategy for helping Afghanistan and Pakistan and defeating al Qaeda in the region.  

The Obama administration’s call for an enhanced engagement of states in the region – the regional approach – and stronger support for Pakistan in particular, parallels the recommendation of the Atlantic Council’s report on U.S.-Pakistan relation, which we released in February, as I said earlier.  We warned that without immediate and significant sources of aid and assistance like those suggested by Senators Lugar and Kerry, that Pakistan could run the risk of state failure, which would have a dramatic impact on Afghanistan and regional and global security.  

One of the suggestions of the report was that a total of four to $5 billion from the U.S. and other sources should be given, which would be above the Kerry-Lugar proposals with about three billion going to economic and social sectors directly.  Ambassador Haqqani, I see you have been speaking lately about a Marshall Plan, which I look forward to hearing you speak a little bit more to us.  It comes quite close to what we were calling for ourselves.  

We also called for an additional $1 billion of fresh and/or redirected funds to go to the security forces – military and law enforcement – with special emphasis on strengthening the Pakistani police force.  I’m not going to go into any more detail here – I’m going to leave that to you.  But I really wanted to set the context here, because very often in Washington, what happens is we put out this kind of initiative, it becomes the most important thing in foreign policy the Obama administration is doing and then everybody in Washington – the pundits and the pontificators talk about it, but we forget, is it actually going down well in the region?  

Is it actually working in the countries where it’s intended to work?  And that’s why we want you here and that’s why we don’t have more of the pontificators and Washington usual suspects, but we have the two of you to give us the view of how this will get support or buy-in of your countries and neighbors in the region, because if it doesn’t, the Obama plan has very little chance of success.

So with that, I’m going to start with Ambassador Jawad.  Each of the two ambassadors will offer roughly 10 to 15 minutes of their thoughts on the challenges of the new Obama strategy after which we’ll have a Q&A.  Before I do that, I just want to say one other thing, aside from providing my thanks to Shuja and his deputy Jeff Lightfoot for this timely event.  I also want to tip my hat to another one of the key players on our Pakistan taskforce – Shuja and Harlan Ullman were both on that taskforce.  And thank you also, Harlan, for being here today.  Ambassador Jawad, over to you.

AMBASSADOR SAID JAWAD:  Thank you very much, Mr. Kempe.  Ambassador Haqqani, dear friends, Mr. Shuja Nawaz, again, it’s a pleasure being here.  Thank you very much for providing me with this opportunity to speak here and be once again here at the center that has proven to be a great supporter on keeping the attention and focus on Afghanistan and the region.  I will be relatively brief on my remarks.  

To give you a very quick background information, seven years ago, with the rapid collapse of the Taliban, excessive optimism was created.  At the same time, the war in Iraq distracted attention and resources from Afghanistan and therefore, our state-building efforts in Afghanistan remain uncoordinated, ad hoc and with excessive emphasis on building and creating parallel institutions with less substance and less sustainability.  

So subsequently, the Afghan war (either ?) lack proper coordination of all the civilian, military, national and international actors.  On March 27, President Obama announced the new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan with the clear primary objectives of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda and its safe havens in Pakistan and to prevent their return to Pakistan and Afghanistan – as indicated by the president in his speech.  

We have very much welcomed the new policy and in particularly – thank you, thank you very much.  The Afghan government has welcomed the new strategy, and we are particularly in favor of the attention and the resources that are being allocated to increase the size and the capabilities of the Afghan national army and police force and also more resources to enhance the capacity of the Afghan government to deliver services and to provide protection to our citizens.  

And we think that the new strategy rightfully places the challenges that Afghanistan is facing in the regional larger context – something that we’ve been arguing in the past seven years.  And also, we have demanded and we are seeing also a change in the management of resources and more focus on aid efficiency, although that part was not covered in detail in the speech of the president.  But the white paper and the strategy provide the guidelines on that that is very crucial to make sure that every dollar that you send to Afghanistan is used efficiently and there is accountability on both sides for the aid money.  

And to build a clear consensus, again, for the first time, the (new ?) administration called upon our officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan.  They came here and there were a series of very constructive bilateral meetings with our friends in Pakistan, bilateral meeting with the U.S. and trilateral meetings with all three of us involved and affected by the threat of terrorism.   

And we are particularly grateful to Secretary Clinton, General Jones, Bruce Riedel, Ambassador Holbrooke and others to include our views and perspective in the strategy – particularly on the issue of the regional aspects of fighting terrorism and extremism in our part of the world.  I will briefly tell you that what were our point of view when we had those meetings – and these are still valid concern and point of view that we have.  Most of them have been reflected in the new strategy.

The first thing that we – of course we were asking – was an improvement in the quality and the quantity of the U.S. and NATO troops coupled with building the capacity of the Afghan national security forces – the Afghan army and the Afghan national police force, which is the most sustainable and the most cost-effective way of providing security in Afghanistan primarily and also hopefully one day in the region.  We are pleased and welcome President Obama’s additional troops that are going to Afghanistan and his commitment particularly to increase the size of the Afghan national army initially to 134,000 from the 75,000 ceiling that was set forth back and the number of the police force to 82,000.

However, using any kind of counterinsurgency formula – military formula – and considering the composition of the terrain in Afghanistan – comparing it with Iraq, for instance, Afghanistan will need at least 400,000 security forces that will include 250,000 army and 140 to 150,000 police force, under the current security threat – I emphasize that – under the current security threat.  So for those who are arguing about the sustainability, we can have separate discussions on that.  The fact is, as long as we have the current security threat, all of us are paying for it.  The Afghan national army, the Afghan national police force – it’s not the luxury they were asking force.

I hope one day we will enough security in Afghanistan that we will demobilize everyone in Afghanistan – get rid of the entire army and police force.  We don’t have this option.  The alternative – those who argue about the sustainability of the Afghan security forces should be reminded that right now, you are paying with your blood and treasure in Afghanistan by sending your sons to fight for us, to fight for your, to fight for the safety of Europe – not you – NATO and other countries.

So there is – the most sustainable way is to create this capacity in us.  There is not shortage of courage or manpower.  There is a shortage of skills that you can create in us to fight this war for us, for you, for our friends and our brothers in Afghanistan.  It’s the same trick.  The young child that is dying in Swat Valley is no different from the young child that is dying in Kabul or Kandahar or in London and Madrid or New York.  We are facing the same enemy all over.  

The second issue that we’ve asked was for additional resources to enhance the capacity of the Afghan government to deliver services and provide protection for its citizens.  After the defeat of Taliban, as you know, inadequate emphasis were placed on building the capacity of the government and building the Afghan state institution.  But where you have made investment and you have partnered with us properly – such as the Afghan national army, the healthcare situation, where it’s increased from 8 percent to almost 87 percent of the Afghans are now covered under basic healthcare coverage – mostly due to your assistance and support and the leadership that our ministry of health provided.  

Same thing – the NSP program – one of the most successful programs implemented – the National Solidarity Program, due to the resources that we received initially from Europeans and World Bank and now you are also coming forward to help us out.  So where you have made investment and worked closely with Afghans, we have impressive results.  In the areas there has not be investment – the areas that we have not received the attention and resources such as police, we are lacking behind.

The third issue that we have asked – and it is for the development – that development projects should be tailored more to the needs of the Afghans and also particularly that national and local priorities in Afghanistan should be respected when these programs are affected.  We ask for a particular attention for the Afghan agriculture sector, which has been, unfortunately, neglected for a long time.  And we appreciate very much that the agricultural center in Afghanistan will be receiving attention under the new strategy.  

Fourth, we ask for the problem of terrorism and the solution to it to be viewed in the context of the region.  We know and Ambassador Haqqani agreed with me that we will not succeed in this war – we will not have peace in Afghanistan, stability in the region and security in the world without the sincere cooperation of Pakistan.  This is a requirement and fortunately, we have actually two elected leaders – civilian governments in both countries – that are working very closely with each other.

The degree of the mutual trust and engagement between the two leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan is unprecedented in the history of Afghanistan.  We have never had such a close relation at the very top level between the civilian leaders.  That degree of engagement and trust between the civilian leaders must be matched with deliveries by the Pakistan security institutions.  That gap could be bridged with the support of our friends in the international community, who are also a main stakeholder to what’s happening and taking shape in this part of the world.  

The fifth issue, we are very much in favor of setting very clear parameters on negotiating and engagement with Taliban.  If needed, we can discuss this later so it would – I don’t want to have to take up too much of your time.  But that’s an important issue – that we should clearly define who are the Taliban, who do we want to talk to, to what extent we are ready to make concessions because there’s a lot of actually both domestic and international constituencies in Afghanistan and Washington and Europe that are interested and focused.  And I can discuss this in detail if needed.

The sixth part and important for us is making fighting narcotics as part of a mandate of fighting terrorism and counterinsurgency.  Combating narcotics is fundamental to a state-building process in Afghanistan.  Simplistic strategies, seeking for silver-bullet solutions or a magic crop will not work.  We have to be very clear about that.  This is a long-term undertaking that requires development, institutional building, law enforcement.  Excessive emphasis has been made in the past on eradication.  

We think that the most effective way of fighting narcotics is to prevent cultivation.  Once it’s cultivated, it’s too late.  If you eradicate the poppy fields, you push the farmers into the hands of the terrorists, narco-traffickers and spoilers and many others.  If you don’t eradicate, the proceeds of the opium will go into the coffers of the narco-traffickers and terrorists also.  So here – how can you prevent cultivation is by providing an alternative to the farmers.  No on in the world wants to be a criminal – in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world.

If you give them an option, no one chooses to be illegal.  But if they have to feed their family, they will take whatever risk to do so.  So if you give them a dignified option – and that dignified option is access to credit, build a market for their products – we don’t have to introduce another magic crop in Afghanistan.  People have been farming there for 2,000 years; they know what to grow.  

They need better access to the market.  For the best pomegranate that they produce, they need a juice facility or for the grape, actually, some other.  Adding value to the existing products – that’s absolutely necessary in order to fight.  Since there has been a lot of discussion about narcotics in Afghanistan, I just add another sentence to that issue that we should keep in mind that where the Afghan government is present and in control, poppy fields are absent.  

Five provinces in southern Afghanistan produces 91 percent of the poppy – five provinces where we have most of the fighting.  Just the province of Helmand produces 66 percent of the opium in Afghanistan.  This one of the most challenging provinces that we have.  We have Taliban infiltrations, fighting going on and more than 7,000 British soldiers are trying and fighting very hard to secure the province. So there is a direct correlation between the presence and the control of the Afghan government and the poppy field.  

The other issue that I would like to discuss, because it is coming up also in the media a lot – it’s the issue of corruption, another serious challenge that must be addressed – primarily by the Afghan government.  We understand our responsibility on that regard.  We are working very hard; in the past 10 months, we have arrested over 600 high-ranking officials in Afghanistan.  That will continue.  We need – they need actually the assistance to build the proper institution to proceed on that.  

And the police force – the judicial system – was neglected for a very long time. We have to rebuild this.  And those who are – I see a lot of faces who are familiar with Afghanistan very much know exactly what happened with the reform of the judicial system and the building of the police force in Afghanistan.  We are paying a price for that right now.  However, corruption is a system of bad governance; it’s not the cause of the bad governance or week governance.  

And the real challenge in Afghanistan is lack of security on the countryside.  The real challenge is terrorism.  Corruption does not lead to terrorism.  No one will wear a suicide belt and carry out hand grenades Serena Hotel in downtown Kabul because he was asked for $5 bribes in the municipality.  There is a system that creates these kinds of killers, that produces these kind of terrorists.

So as I mentioned, the new strategy includes most of these provisions.  Now, on the actual implementation, which is very important for us, we are very much look forward.  Our – my suggestion is that it’s very important to have a very comprehensive strategy, but from the lessons learned in the past in Afghanistan, it’s equally important how much resources you will allocate to implement it.

So for the success of the strategy, two points are crucial: resources – and here again, are we going to do what we can in Afghanistan like we did in the past, or are we going to do what we must?  Do we have to add a limited resources – amount of resources, and we have to deal with it and fix the police and the army and pay the teachers and work on the reform of the education system, health care, or we will commit ourselves together with our European allies and others to do what we should on the short term – to me because heavy investment up front in order to relieve the pressure on your soldiers who are fighting very bravely to defend our country, your freedom, European security.  If you build this capacity, if you do what we must up front and make this investment quickly, we will – absolutely – we will be able to relieve this pressure on you.  And all the indications are that the new administration is focused to acquire this.  

On the issue of coordination, of course there are – we cannot resolve it by having another conference here – another conference in Afghanistan.  We will be able to resolve the issue of coordinations if we are ready to be coordinated.  And on that issue, I think another significant change in the new policy is that – the new policy is recognizing that – what you have been saying for a long time – that these different partners around the table in Afghanistan are bringing different degrees of the financial and military capabilities and different degrees of political will and commitment.  We should be realistic about that.  One of our partners coming from Romania, as much as we appreciate their military contributions, but to expect them perform like Australia is unrealistic.

So the new strategy is seeking to create a synergy between these different degrees of commitment and capabilities that exist, and we very much welcome that.  There are certain things that the Europeans can do more of or better if they cannot provide the troops or the helicopters that is needed.

And, again, emphasizing that – a lot has been accomplished in the – (inaudible) – system.  Six million children are going back to school in Afghanistan.  Five million refugees have returned.  There are a number of very successful programs that have been implemented with your support.  NSB (ph) is one of them.

And the Afghan people overwhelmingly support your presence, your assistance and the Taliban – the vision the Taliban provides is isolation, terror, and tyranny.  We know exactly what Afghanistan would look like if they returned.  Every Afghan knows that.  The reason that they are not more actively supporting the presence in the military term of the international community because they are not sure of your staying power and our ability to protect.  That’s why it’s very crucial to stay very clear from defeatist, from minimalist, and statements that indicates that – continuously we see this statement that we are not winning in Afghanistan.  Well, if you are not winning in Afghanistan, that implies the Talibans are not losing.  If they are not losing, then why they should talk to us?  So it’s very important that the public message also be crafted very clearly, and we should look at what’s been accomplished and where you started seven years ago.

And one last item that, again, it’s been discussed in the media – I’d like to make it clear – a discussion about imposing Jeffersonian democracy on Afghanistan.  Nobody has asked that we impose democracy on Afghanistan.  Democracy by its nature cannot be imposed.  However, we have no option, we as Afghans and our international partners.  But to prevent the imposition of terror and tyranny, and the imposition of terror and tyranny is only possible if you build a pluralistic society.

Afghans are very pragmatic.  Those who have claimed that this country is tribal and institution – they are wrong.  They should look at the 1960s in Afghanistan, functioning parliament, women working in the public sector, women serving as senators, as member of the parliament, as ministers back then.  Afghanistan has a history of institutions.  And the way to prevent the collapse of the system in Afghanistan is to build a pluralistic society.  This is what Afghan demands, that’s what Afghan deserve.

So thank you very much.  I would like to – I’m sorry if I went on for a few minutes over my time, but I’m grateful for this opportunity.  Thank you.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ambassador.  I’m going to ask you one quick question, and then a quick answer.  I know it might require a longer answer, but we can get that more in the discussion.  But one quick – before I turn to Ambassador Haqqani – a New York Times piece this morning would almost give us the feeling – and you’ve spoke about it in your speech – almost give us the feeling that the police is broken beyond repair.  Is that right?  And if so, what does one do specifically now about that.

AMB. JAWAD:  Very good question.  If you read The New York Times article today and if you go back and read The New York Times articles seven years ago about the Afghan army, a lot of similarities. I was back then the chief of staff, more than three – probably 300,000 people claimed to be part of the Afghan army, most of them militias – undisciplined, unpaid, and everybody thought, oh, it would be impossible for this country to build a professional army, and what you are going to do is just 300,000 – most of them were ghost soldiers; they didn’t exist.  They put their name to collect.

So for those who have been in Afghanistan know exactly – these are repeats that some – these are repeats of a lot of the scenarios.  We build a professional army in Afghanistan.  We got rid of the so-called 300,000 corrupt or ghost soldier that claimed to be soldiers.  We can do the same thing with the police.  The reason that we are facing the challenges that we face in Afghanistan with the police forces that in the past seven years only about 60 million euro has been invested by the European – who are the primary responsible for building the army – Germans primary on building a police that was completely destroyed.

The articles in The New York Times forget to mention that the police-to-population ratio in Ghazni province is 0.5 by a thousand population.  The police-to-population ratio in Afghanistan is two police officers for one thousand people.  In the United States, it’s five police officers – much orderly society, not facing the threat of narcotics to the extent that we do and terrorism and others.  So we don’t have the police force.  We agree we don’t have a capable police force.

And what are you going to do now?  We should do exactly what we did with the Afghan national army.  You partner with us, you give us the resources.  We will produce a very capable institution like we did –

MR. KEMPE:  And we start from scratch?

AMB. JAWAD:  Unfortunately yes.  And we appointed a very capable minister, Minister Atvar (ph) who knew of our committing more resources.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you very much.  Ambassador Haqqani.

AMBASSADOR HUSAIN HAQQANI:  Thank you very much, Fred.  I should actually pick off on your question, but you started by saying that, you know, there was an article in the paper that talked about how the Afghan police was broken beyond repair.  And I felt like saying certain – certain newspapers in this country and their ability to report effectively on what’s happening in the world is also broken beyond repair.  (Laughter.)

The other day I went to speak in Jacksonville, Florida, and somebody stood up and asked me a question based on a recent story in the same newspaper that you cited, which was titled, “Can Pakistan Be Governed?”  And so I reached into my pocket.  Unfortunately I don’t have that card in my pocket today but I had it that day.  I took out and I started reading out the headlines from the same paper going back to 1988 about Pakistan, and the number of times that failure for Pakistan was predicted.  It had headlines like government on the brink of collapse, economic teetering, militants rising, radicals about to take over, will the nukes fall into their hands – all the way back to 1988.

And I said to the audience that that reminded me of the scene from one of the “Godfather” movies where Michael Corleone is talking about his ex-friend Hyman Roth, and somebody says, oh, he’s sick these days, and he turns around and he says, oh, Hyman, he’s been dying from the same heart attack for the last 20 years.

So I would be a very careful – I would measure these things very carefully.  We have these days a surplus of reports on Pakistan.  Every significant Western country has appointed a special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.  And I was joking with Ambassador Jawad yesterday that we should seriously consider appointing a special representative for special representatives, and do a report on all of the reports on our respective countries.  (Laughter.)

The fact that there are challenges cannot be denied, but then we must also understand the challenges in some contexts.  And the United States – I love the United States; it’s a great nation.  Some people in my country sometimes criticize me for living this country very much.  It’s a great country built on the idea of making changes, bringing changes.  It’s a nation that has accomplished a great deal in two centuries.  It’s a fix-it nation; it’s a can-do nation, but there is a problem there, and that problem is that it creates the attitude that the world is a problem for Americans to fix.

The reality is that the world is a situation for Americans to understand and deal with, and so you can’t fix things.  The last time you went into Afghanistan to fix something, it was the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979.  And of course the solution at that time – again, there were many reports – and most of the audience is so young they probably don’t remember what happened in 1979.  I’m old enough to remember it.

And in 1979, there were similar reports and similar assessments, et cetera, and the solution proposed at that time was we’ll go into Pakistan, we’ll help Pakistan’s intelligence service, which was a strategic intelligence service at that time – did not have an enormous covert operations capability.  We’ll just dump resources there, make these people, train people who will become the mujahedeen.  Anyone remember the word “mujahedeen” anymore.  They were the mujahedeen.

And so the mujahedeen were the good guys and they were going to bring the Soviet empire down and they did.  But then the United States in 1989 walked away and now 20 years later, we are talking about how to fix Afghanistan and Pakistan again.  So my request would be please don’t try to fix us.  We are nations with history.  And Afghanistan and Pakistan go back many, many centuries.  We have much in common culturally, ethnically, religiously, historically, and we will work together to resolve the issues in our region.

The positive thing about the AfPak strategic review is that the – the administration in the United States has adopted a comprehensive approach.  They have understood that there is no military solution to the problem of extremism and terrorism alone, that there will be a military component, there will be a political component, there will be a socioeconomic component.  That’s the first positive.  The second positive is that they understand the regional inter-linkages of the problem.  So they understand that they need to work together with Afghanistan, with Pakistan, and possibly with other countries in the region.

And the third thing is that there is a willingness to put resources, and a willingness to make a commitment for sustained engagement.  These are the positives.  But other than that, there are many things that are essentially in need of modification, and we hope to engage with our friends in the United States to help modify the understanding that we think is just touches things at a superficial level and does not go deep enough.

And among the areas we think where a greater detail – attention to detail is needed is that making a sustained commitment also requires making a sustained commitment of resource, and the amount of – the resources that are being committed may look big to some, but really, frankly, I think that somebody who – a company at the verge of failure is quite clearly able to get a bigger bailout than a nation that is being accused of failure.  And I think that that is something that in this town people need to review.  Why does Afghanistan or Pakistan get less resources allocated to solving a bigger problem, solving which will have longer-term implications for the security of the United States and the world than, say, for example, some failed insurance company or some car company whose real achievement is that they couldn’t make cars that they could sell.

So I think it is something that has to be understood and reviewed.  I think Congress needs to revisit the numbers.  They need to relook – take a second look at what they will – what they are willing to provide and under what condition.

Second, I think that it is important also to understand that both our Afghan brothers and we understand the need for accountability.  Anybody who writes checks has the right to have some system of accountability in place.  But at the same time, there’s a difference between accountability and intrusiveness, and I think that that is something that needs to be understood.  Afghanistan and Pakistan are both proud nations.

I can certainly speak for Pakistan.  Pakistan is willing to consider and understand the need for accountability for every resource that is allocated to Pakistan.  But at the same time a distinction needs to be made between accountability and intrusiveness.  The president of the United States said recently that there would be no blank checks for Pakistan.  And our foreign minister very rightly said that Pakistan will neither accept blank checks nor will it write any.  And so Pakistan will negotiate over every detail of commitments that are made to Pakistan, and we would like to do them in a way in which the assistance and aid that is given to Pakistan brings real value in terms of changing the lives of our people and strengthening our security capabilities.

And of course while we appreciate the partnership of the United States and all of the Western nations and the nations that are right now not necessarily in the best of economic situations but who basically are much better off in the world, we would like them certainly to understand that they need to make resources available.  They need to help out with addressing the problems, social and economic, as well as security, but that they should – this is from trying to micromanage the internal affairs of either country.

Neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan can be micromanaged from Washington, D.C.,  You can have big-picture ideas, you can have a strategic outlook, but you certainly cannot have micromanagement of domestic politics.  I think that there needs to be some consideration, a reconsideration of the idea of involving all of the regional powers.  I think that it is much better for us to be able to engage bilaterally with the various regional powers instead of trying to create a new institution mechanism which could run into some kind of logjam because there will be too many people with too many ideas.

In fact, between 1979 and 2009, one of the reasons we have so many problems in Afghanistan and in the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan is because too many external actors got involved.  Al Qaeda is an external actor.  Al Qaeda is not something that is indigenous to either Afghanistan or Pakistan; these are people who came from outside.  They came with outside ideas.  They came with the intention of fighting the godless communists in the first place, and they had a second-phase plan which nobody here paid any attention to because everybody thought once our objectives are achieved, then it’s time to go home.  So I think that is something that shouldn’t be done.  It should be understood that you need sustained engagement to do that.

There’s a lot that has been said recently about Pakistan that needs to be addressed.  If Pakistan is going to be a partner of the United States, in the effort to root out extremism, violent extremism and terrorism, then there has to be a willingness to build trust.  Now, we understand the context.  I’m not one of those who will mince words.  I have, in this city, as ambassador in the last one year, tried to project the value of candor and diplomacy.

So candor is definitely something that is useful.  And I have been very candid that there have been mistakes committed on all sides, that there are problems that have arisen in the past – there is mistrust about some of our security institutions.  But let me just say that those problems need to be addressed again by talking to us, not by beating up on us.  Now, for the reporters, I’ll repeat that sentence because I think that’s a quotable quote even though I say so myself.  (Laughter.)  The lack of trust between our security institutions will be addressed by talking to us, not by beating on us.

I think that Pakistanis these days are very concerned about what they see as an unbridled indictment of Pakistan security services, giving no credit to Pakistan for the efforts that have been made.  We have lost a lot of people along the border with Afghanistan.  We have become a major victim of terrorism.  More Pakistanis have died as a result of terrorist incidents in the last two years than in any other country.

Now, Pakistan and Afghanistan have made tremendous progress in the last one year.  And my brother, my friend, and my colleague, Ambassador Jawad, would be bear me out.  We have really worked very hard at rebuilding trust between our nations.  And the trilateral mechanisms that have started involving the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, involving Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey, they are all improving the levels of trust between our security services, between our governments.  A lot more needs to be done.  A lot more needs to be done.  And we certainly will continue to work along in that direction.

But at the same time, I think it is important that the institutions that are to be the partners in this effort do not start feeling under attack, whether it’s the Pakistani ISI or the Pakistani military.  They should feel that there is room for creating a better future in the relationship.  And yes, yes, Pakistan has to ensure that Pakistan soil is not used for training or conducting terrorist operations anywhere in the world.  And we intend to do that.  Pakistan no longer lacks the will to fight terrorists and extremists.  It is very clear.  Our parliament unanimously said last year that Pakistan is now committed to join the war against violent extremism and terrorism as our own cause.  We do not want to join this because we need assistance from the United States.  Even if we do not get assistance, we will fight the terrorists.  President Asif Zardari has made it very clear that this is Pakistan’s own war.  Prime Minister Gillani has repeatedly said that this is our own war.  It’s a war that we are fighting to save the soul of our nation.

Pakistan has changed over the last three decades since we got involved in the war against the Soviets against Afghanistan.  We didn’t have extremist religious institutions in the manner we have them now.  Our own lifestyle has been affected, and the average Pakistani wants Pakistan to go back to the times when Pakistani peers – I don’t know how many people know that but our Afghani brothers certainly know that – Pakistani peers – muris (ph).  These peers are spiritual leaders – Pakistanis spiritual leaders had followers in Afghanistan, and Afghan spiritual leaders have followers in Pakistan.

We have centuries of shared history and only a few years of misgivings and difficulties.  The same goes for our eastern neighbor.  India and Pakistan also need to build on our shared history, our shared heritage, and our shared future.  But it’s not going to happen overnight.  And this is my message to our friends from the great can-do nation where we are guests at the moment.  It is important to have the fix-it approach.  But if you try to fix it too quickly and in a manner in which you do not have the regional and local stakeholders fully on board, you’re going to run into difficulty.

So I think that it is important to define an end mission.  I think that the elimination of al Qaeda and the decapitation of the extremist Taliban should be the end mission.  I think that Pakistan security forces’ capacity building should be an important priority for the United States.  And every effort should be made to strengthen the institutions of democracy in Pakistan, which will ensure oversight and accountability within in Pakistan of all of Pakistan’s institutions, and also of the – of the allocations – of the expenditure of allocations that are made for our own development.

We have to make sure that the young people of Pakistan and of Afghanistan have hope in their future because only hopeful people will be able to confront the suicide terrorists and extremists.  If our young people have no hope for an education, no hope for a job in the future, if 42 percent of Pakistan’s school-going age children and a larger number than that in Afghanistan remain out of school, then we will have continual trouble.

So make the investment.  It’s an investment for America’s security.  But make that investment by considering Afghanistan and Pakistan as partners.  My last word will be about the use of Predator drones inside Pakistan.  Pakistani concerns about the use of Predator drones come from two considerations.  The first is about national sovereignty.  It would be easier for Pakistanis to accept American technology being used to take out extremists and terrorists on Pakistani soul if it is done in partnership with Pakistan, so that no one can say that Pakistan’s national sovereignty is being violated.  

It’s not the fact that bad guys are being killed by drones that bothers Pakistanis – not at all.  What bothers us sometimes is that this is without sufficient regard for our national sovereignty.  And it creates an opinion in Pakistan that runs contrary to our joint mission.

Look.  Right now in the United States an environment has arisen in which a lot of people look upon Pakistan, and Afghanistan, with trepidation.  In fact, a recent Gallup poll that I was looking at indicates that most Americans have an unfavorable view of our countries.  Well, guess what?  Most Pakistanis, and also our neighbors in Afghanistan, have a negative view of the United States.  So if we are going to move forward as partners, we have to get our people onboard.  

You in the United States have to start recognizing and giving more respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.  We in Pakistan and Afghanistan have to make sure that our people do not continue to be fed anti-American propaganda, to a point where they start considering the Americans bigger enemies that the terrorists.  That’s a very important thing.  So if an attack to eliminate one terrorist is going to create anger, which would produce more terrorists in the future, it needs to be reviewed.

The second part of our concern, of course, is also a shared concern by both Afghan and Pakistani leaders, and that relates to collateral damage.  What is collateral damage to American forces is actually a loss of life for a village or a town in Pakistan or Afghanistan.  And I think we need to understand that we need people on our side, so that the people will help us fight the terrorists and isolate them – not antagonize them by causing loss of life.  That will only make villagers and tribal people angrier and will feed the propaganda from al Qaeda and the Taliban that the Americans are not here to help us – they are here to cause destruction.

So I’ll stop there, and I’m sure that there are questions that you have, and the audience has, that I can answer.

MR. KEMPE:  Ambassador Haqqani, you, as promised, have shown great candor, and I’m sure that there will be many questions.  I think these were both terrific, frank, clear presentations.  

I have one question for you.  I’m sure Ford, Toyota and Daimler would embrace your suggestion that the money for GM might want to go elsewhere.  I think GM would question whether you can take more money from the U.S. with less intrusiveness.  

But here’s my question for you.  You essentially called for more money from the U.S. government, with less intrusiveness.  What, specifically do – how much of this $1-trillion stimulus package would you like?  What, specifically, additional would you like?  And what, specifically, would you like it for?  And then, thirdly, what part of the intrusiveness bothers you the most?

AMB. HAQQANI:  I am not here to ask for money – I’m here to make a case for partnership.  And a partnership basically plays on each partner’s strengths and tries to mitigate each partner’s weaknesses.  So what are America’s strengths in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan?  America has the world’s strongest military, and even in these bad economic times has an economy that is, or could be able to, help Pakistan and Afghanistan.  And, in dollar terms, very frankly, the numbers are not as high as you have here.  

I spoke of a Marshall Plan the other day, and just off the top of my head talked about figures for investment in Pakistan education, to make sure that all 42 percent of the children who are not in schools get schools to go to.  Investment in infrastructure – get the economy started.  This is not a – this is an investment, not a handout, which will have to continue on a sustained basis.  It’s about investing in Pakistan infrastructure, partly because a mistake was made in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s – when the United States invested in Pakistan’s military capacity and capability-building, but did not invest in Pakistani society.  

In 1947, when Pakistan and India became independent simultaneously, the literacy rate in Pakistan was 16 percent, and in India was 18 percent.  Well, 62 years down the road, India’s literacy rate has risen to 68 percent; Pakistan’s hovers between 38 and 48 percent.  So what was a 2-percent difference has become either a 20- or a 30-percent difference.  And the only reason – the only explanation for that is that Pakistan’s security concerns, which America was cognizant of, kept us from being able to invest in our society.  

That has created an environment in which the extremists have been able to gain support.  They have been able to make appeals to our literate segments of our population.  So instead of getting into numbers, which I’ll leave to economists – and, of course, economists always come up with numbers for all kinds of situations, including for bailouts and post-bailout failures.  They will come up with numbers – I won’t attempt to do that.  All I will say is that this has to be a commit – and it’s not just America’s commitment.  It has to be a commitment for all friends of democratic Pakistan, which includes the European Union; our brothers and friends in the Gulf region; and Japan.  

All of them need to invest.  And this has to be not just pouring money – because that is not the solution – but investing into Pakistan’s future.  And driving the terrorists off the – basically draining the swamp from the terrorists.  Depriving them of the argument that all the West wants to do is to come and strike at you.  

Look, President Obama did a great thing recently.  He made the point that the United States is not at war with Islam.  It was very important.  Now, to many people here it would be self-evident, but to people in our region it matters.  It’s something that needs to be said.  Similarly, it needs to be said that America’s interests are not just transient; that America is not here just to drop a few bombs, and kill a few people that it considers bad, and go away like it did before.  It’s here to stay, and it’s here to actually invest in your people and your future.  So without getting into numbers –

MR. KEMPE:  Very quickly, on the intrusiveness question, what bothers you there?

AMB. HAQQANI:  I think that I am concerned about the tendency of members of the United States Congress to put in too many conditions in legislation that relates to assistance and aid, and thereby trying to legislate virtue.  You know, by the way, you shouldn’t be doing this, this, this and this; the president should certify A, B, C and D; the secretary of state should certify X, Y and Z.  It just creates – from the Pakistani perspective, it brings back the shadow of the infamous Pressler Amendment.  

I don’t know how many people in this audience remember that – and that was a counterproductive amendment.  What it did was, it allowed aid to Pakistan, provided there were certain conditions.  And then the lack of fulfillment of those conditions automatically triggered an aid cutoff, which made it very difficult.  And then you know the congressional dynamic – or, at least, many people in this room know congressional dynamic.  It’s not always easy to get something out of Congress – sort of, you know, in legislative terms.  So if you have, that is intrusiveness.

MR. KEMPE:  Mm-hmm.

AMB. HAQQANI:  Second is I think that a lot of things need to be discussed:  government to government; State Department to our Foreign Office; the CIA to our ISI; and your military to our military.  Unfortunately, quite a lot of the discussion has been taking place right now through The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, instead of being communicated at the administration, government level.  

I hope that we will be back to where the diplomats will be doing the job of diplomacy, rather than talking to each other through newspaper leaks – here or in Islamabad.  And I’m making a point for both.  I don’t want our government to talk to the U.S. through the columns of Dawn, and I don’t not want the U.S. government to talk to Pakistan – and express reservations and concerns about Pakistan, or certain institutions in Pakistan – to us through The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.  

So those are the two concerns:  intrusiveness, in the form of too much conditionality in Congress; and intrusiveness in the form of trying to sort of create the impression that this relationship is a relationship of putting pressure on each other, rather than a partnership in which – look, we understand the problems.  

I mean, if you think that somebody like me doesn’t get the challenges that we have in Pakistan, and doesn’t understand the concerns that Americans have about Pakistan, then you’re wrong.  We do understand it.  We also understand the reasons why certain people have misgivings and concerns.  We also realize that we have to adjust our security paradigms to new sensitives (sp) – that terrorism poses a great immediate threat to our survival than some of our traditional concerns about security.  

We know all of that.  But I think that we will accommodate and adjust to the change realities, and to our mutual partnership needs, in a methodical manner that suits our own pace, within our own country as a democracy.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ambassador.  I see lots of questions.  We’ll start here, with – and if you could identify yourself, and to whom you want to pose the question, please.

Q:  Thank you.  My name is – (inaudible) – Karemi (ph).  I’m a correspondent for – (inaudible) – television network from Afghanistan.  I have two questions from Ambassador Jawad and a question from Ambassador Haqqani.  Ambassador Jawad.  The word “community” – I’ve come to this conclusion:  that Pakistan has become a safe haven for the militants.  But no serious action has been taken for removing.  What do you think?  And what is your expectation from Obama’s administration regarding this issue?

And Ambassador Haqqani, it’s claimed that the Pakistan government has two side policy part to militants.  And, also, the intelligence and security agencies are being accused of helping the militants.  The first thing:  Is this true?  And what do you think, in view of all those facts about U.S. strategy toward militants and war on terrorism?  Thank you.  

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  And because I see so many questions, Ambassadors, if you could keep your answers as brief as possible while answering it.  

Let me pile on a question on top of your question for Ambassador Jawad.  In your comments earlier you also said, and I think it’s related to this question, that you were happy about the advances in civilian cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but not happy about the cooperation of security services.  So what would you like to see there, that’s not happening?

AMB. JAWAD:  Well, it’s unfortunate that terrorists and extremist group have found a sanctuary in Pakistan.  And we see this as a threat for Pakistan, for Afghanistan – for the region.  I think there is more willingness on the part of the international community – the Afghan government; and even our friends in Pakistan – to see this as a serious problem, and to seek ways to mitigate that.  

I think that terrorism is a regional and global threat, that requires unconditional, sincere cooperation – by all of us.  Therefore, we have shared the information about the existence of the sanctuary operations of the terrorist camp with our friends, both in our bilateral and trilateral meetings.  We do not doubt the sincerity of the civilian government of Pakistan to fight terrorism and extremism.  They need to acquire better capabilities to deliver.  

We think the military in Pakistan has the capabilities to deliver, but they perceive India as the main enemy, not extremism.  We have to bring these two institutions together, for the sake of the future of children of Pakistan, the region and the world.  I think there is enough efforts – regionally, globally and nationally – also in Pakistan to achieve these objectives.  Ambassador Haqqani rightfully indicated the need for investing in more education in our part of the world.  Very important to fight extremism.  

At the same time, neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan should cut a deal with a group that closes schools in some parts or the country.  There are parts of the country that are deprived of schools.  One of the most beautiful, Swat Valley – children cannot go to school.  The school exists – and in our country, also, we have schools, that we have built with your assistance – but the teachers are being beheaded by the extremists.  It’s not resources – it’s also proper policy that you have.  

I emphasize the need of sincere, unconditional cooperation to fight a very, very ruthless enemy, that has no mercy.  Any kind of divisions, or any kind of distinctions, about my extremists, your extremists, my Taliban – other Taliban, al Qaeda, Taliban others – will prove to be fail for the future of our children in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

I think it’s a very delicate situation – we know that.  Institutions that are on the right side still need a lot of support, and that support should be provided to them.  But sincerity and accountability is also needed.  If you’re seeking – in Afghanistan we are in favor of benchmark and transparency, because it’s your money.  And it’s given to us for your security, too.  

And if we set clear benchmarks, it enhances us – or the capability of our ministries to be better: to deliver on the benchmark that you or the U.N. set forth for us.  It has proven, actually, better for us in Afghanistan.  Those institutions that performed under certain benchmarks, they are doing better.  Those ministries that have to withdraw money from the trust funds are more successful, because they have to bring themself up to a level that’s acceptable to the international community.

I think, as I mentioned, we are facing a serious threat.  We are facing a ruthless enemy, and we need to cooperate very, very sincerely.  And we should admit where the capabilities are lacking, and seek assistance.  If we see an unwanted element operating in Afghanistan or in Pakistan – or a camp, or a base – we should try our best to take it out ourself.  But if we can’t, we should not hesitate to seek the assistance of others – because these guys are there to kill.  They’re the enemy of humanity – they’re the enemy of freedom, anywhere.  

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ambassador.  Ambassador Haqqani.

AMB. HAQQANI:  (Inaudible) – be very short.  Pakistan recognizes and understands that terrorism is a threat to Pakistan, to the region and to the world.  There is no doubt whatsoever in Pakistan, at any level, that terrorism is our enemy, as much as it is the enemy of anyone else in the world.  We have a legacy of mistrust about our security policies of the past – we are working to remove that legacy of mistrust.  

It will take some time for us to be sufficiently reassuring to everyone that we have turned a page.  And as we consolidate democracy, we will find that all the institutions of Pakistan will be moving in the same direction, under the same leadership.  And that leadership wants Pakistan not to be, in any way, a sanctuary for any terrorist element who is responsible for terrorist acts anywhere in the world – anywhere in the world.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ambassador.  Please, in the back.

Q:  Thank you.  I am – (inaudible) – from Telo TV (ph) in Afghanistan.  I have two questions which will get the attention of both respectable ambassadors.

Mr. Ambassador Jawad – you talked about trust deficit.  How you can convince the people of Afghanistan, which are mostly living in rural areas, about the U.S. is not an invader army in Afghanistan; about the civilian casualties and ongoing problems that they have now?

And the other question for Mr. Ambassador Haqqani is that if you say that insurgency in Taliban is not only a threat to Pakistan, or only a threat to Afghanistan – it’s a regional threat, a worldwide threat – have you ever had any discussions with Afghanistan, or any other countries, while the Pakistan government were doing the peace deal with Taliban in Swat Valley?  Thank you.

AMB. JAWAD:  I’ll take the question quickly.  Pakistan has not done a peace deal with the Taliban in Swat Valley – period.  Pakistan has negotiated an arrangement locally with the – (inaudible) – of Swat.  The president of Pakistan has not signed the agreement, and not approved the agreement yet, because he is waiting for the TNSM to fulfill its end of the bargain, which was, essentially, to make sure that the Taliban – whose leader happens to be his son-in-law – that they do not continue to use force.  Since that has not happened, the agreement has not been in force.

Now, here’s what I mean when I say that the shorthand about Pakistan is based on an assumption that Pakistan is unable to change.  Pakistanis went to the polls on February 18th, 2008.  They elected a leadership that ran on the platform saying that:  Fighting terrorism is our first priority.  They elected the party of someone who was killed by terrorists for standing up against terrorism.  So the people of Pakistan quite clearly have a preference for fighting terrorism.

Does Pakistan have a complex situation, political and power equation?  Absolutely.  But, at the same time, I think we need to make distinctions and we need to understand how the various shades of gray operate in Pakistan.  That said, we will make sure that the Swat Valley is cleared of the extremist Taliban and the violent extremists that have been operating there.

There have been many reasons for us to respond.  Recently there was a video shown on Pakistani television and it really galvanized the nation into recognizing that the Pakistani nation does not want to tolerate people who do not respect basic human rights.  And there are military difficulties in different parts of Pakistan, in different parts of the Pakistani tribal areas, as well as in Swat, which we will be able to deal with much better when the capacity of our military is built to the level where we can an effective counterinsurgency force.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  Ambassador Jawad.

AMB. JAWAD:  I’ll be brief.  The reason that the United States came to Afghanistan, we should not forget, because they were attacked.  We were asking for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan since the Cold War.  Since the Soviets collapsed we were actively demanding their engagement and presence there.  They didn’t come.  I wish they were there.  We would not have a lot of these problems.  Their presence is because the Afghan people demand.

The frustration that sometimes we experience is due to the fact that people don’t see the improvement that they expected in the past seven years, they would like.  And that frustration is for the fact that the people do not see enough boots on the ground, enough results from the presence of their international forces for their own personal security.  So definitely the United States will not be seen as invader because we know in what kind of environment, in what kind of neighborhood we live.  We know what’s going to happen if the international community leave Afghanistan premature.

MR. KEMPE:  A couple in the back.

Q:  Ambassador, Roger Kirk with the Atlantic Council.  Ambassador Jawad, you mentioned that you would be willing during the question period to address the issue of who in the Taliban – who is the Taliban and what concessions should be made or could be made to elements thereof?  And is there a model that you’ve already seen that fits this?

AMB. JAWAD:  Thank you.  An excellent question.  I’m glad that you asked.  We see the Taliban as three distinct group.  The first, small number but the most lethal part of the Taliban, what I call Taliban with capital T, are the ideological Taliban, who are affiliated with al Qaeda, with the regional intelligence agencies, and others.  These affiliation with al Qaeda particularly contrary to Iraq, has 30 years root of fighting together against the Soviets and other.  It’s not a new affiliation that’s been created, and some of them – there’s been intermarriages between some of the leaders of these ideological Taliban.  That’s the first group.

So what to do about them, now that you define them?  We have to fight them.  We have to eliminate them.  There is no other option.  They hate everything that you and I stand for – freedom, gender equality, education.  They don’t want any of these things.  If you make concession, it’s very costly.  The results of the similar action with peace talk and concession in northern and southern Waziristan, for instance.  Everybody is paying a heavy price for that kind of concession.   I don’t think it’s right to do this.

And particularly if we are not speaking from the position of strength then why they should talk to us?

The second group of the Taliban, what I call the so-called moderate Taliban or the militias, are those who have been either antagonized because of the lack of proper governance on our part.  Our governors, our chief of police have antagonized, all because of the military operation of the international community.  Or they’ve been recruited by the narco-traffickers and other agents in the region.  This group could be negotiated with, could be brought over by financial incentive and others.  

Then the third, the large group, the majority of the groups are what I call the Taliban with small T, or the paycheck Taliban.  These are young, belligerent Afghans and some outside Afghanistan that have been lured with the promises of paradise and money to carry out their operations.  They’ve been brainwashed.  Most of them are illiterate, being recruited from madrassas and other places.  

For this group there is really not so much need to negotiation or discussion.  We need to give them a job, we need to give them hope.  They are paid right now $300 a month when they carry their operations in Afghanistan, so we need to make sure that there’s a future for them, a demand for them.  

And last point on who are the Taliban and what to do about them, these three groups, and I’ve indicated what to do with one of them.  Negotiation in the middle part, jobs for the majority of the jobless and ignorant, and military pressure for the ideological.  If there is negotiation and talk, it should be conducted through the Afghan government. The conductor of these engagements should be the government of Afghanistan.  Otherwise it will send very confusing messages to the community because we have so many stakeholders.  We have 40 countries with military presence in Afghanistan.  You can imagine if any of them start talking to anyone that claim to represent some part of the Taliban, it will dilute the picture very much.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you for that very interesting answer.  I’ve got so many questions.  I saw those in the back.  Going to the people I’ve seen first, so please in the back there.  Thank you.

Q:  I’m Durik Bar (ph) from Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper and to Ambassador Jawad.  There was an article recently in the Foreign Policy magazine which quoted several U.S. scholars, including Christian Fair (ph) saying that India was using its consulates in Afghanistan by stirring troubles in Baluchistan and also Sumit Ganguly, who is another U.S. scholar of Indian origin, said that, yes, India is doing so and we will do so because you created a problem for us in Kashmir, so we need to get even.  Would you like to comment on that, please?

AMB. JAWAD:  There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation about our political relations with India, in particular about the Indian consulate in Afghanistan.  I’ve seen these reports, that there are 14 Indian consulate in Afghanistan.  There are only three or four major cities in Afghanistan, so we can’t build consulate in small villages in Afghanistan.

And there has been talk about 2,000 people working in the Indian consulate in Jalalabad.  All of them are nonsense.  You can do a Google search actually and look at the size of the building of Indian consulate in Jalalabad, see if you can fit even 2,000 birds in there, not 2,000 people.  (Laughter.)  There’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation.

And about the number and the size of all the activities, let’s get clear on that too.  We have the agency present in Afghanistan.  We have a number of the intelligence organizations of the neighboring countries of the U.K., of Europeans, of NATO.  Let’s ask them.  Is there any change going on about India?  They are my partner and your partner too.  If there is any evidence, we will act upon.  We are aware of your sensitivities about the activities of India and Afghanistan.  We are trying very hard to make sure the Indian reconstruction project and activities does not actually translate into any destructive activities from Afghan soil and Pakistan.

I think if there is any evidence, as I’ve told you to discuss with all the friendly intelligence agencies that we all have, the two countries have, to ask them if there is any destructive activities.  We will certainly act upon.

MR. KEMPE:  As we began 10 minutes late, we’ll go 10 minutes over, with the endurance of our two speakers, if you have that.  Please, in the back, and then I’ll go to the right.  Thank you.

Q:  My name is Ali Anan (ph).  I’m from Associated Press Pakistan.  My question is to Ambassador Jawad.  Are there any Indians living in southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan that India has set up consulates in Jalalabad and other places – because consulates, as we understand, are meant to provide the consular visa services?

MR. KEMPE:  I’m going to pass also part of that to Ambassador Haqqani.  As you are seeing the Indian presence in Afghanistan, do you see it as a positive presence, are you communicating with India in any way?

AMB. HAQQANI:  When I was in kindergarten my mom told me that if you didn’t want to handle something, say no thank you.  (Laughter.)  Let Ambassador Jawad answer that.

AMB. JAWAD:  Thank you.  Once again, since 1964 we haven’t signed any new consulate agreement with India.  There has not been a new consulate opened in India since that time.  In every city and every place that India has a consulate, so has Pakistan.  Yes, we do have Indians living in Afghanistan.  Fortunately we do have people from United States, Canada, Pakistan.  There are a significant number of people from Pakistan living in Afghanistan.  We are proud of the presence.  We are very grateful for a long time when you accepted us as refugees and allowed us to live in your country.  

The presence or living of any nationals in Afghanistan is not against the laws of my country, and they’re welcome if they’re here.  But if they are engaged in any destructive activity, that’s a separate issue.  We are ready to talk about that.  But if they are there, Pakistani, Iranian and Indian or all that from the region, the neighbors, we should work toward a day there will be no visa requirement between Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, or Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  There is nothing wrong.  We see more Afghans in Karachi or more Pakistani in Kabul.  We are in fact working to achieve this objective one day.

The consulate in Jalalabad is an old consulate.   It was during the royal time, the 1960s that all the consulate with India is dating to that time.  As I mentioned, you have consulate – Pakistan has consulate in every city that India has a consulate.  

MR. KEMPE:  I don’t know whether you want to leave at no thank you because I think you have raised a bit of a question.  Perhaps with that you can touch a little bit on how you think the India-Pakistani relationship has evolved after the Mumbai attacks, where I think as an outside observer it appears the Indians have shown admirable restraint.

AMB. HAQQANI:  Well, I think that Pakistan and India were making remarkable progress before the Mumbai incident in overcoming our difficult relationship of mutual suspicion.  And in fact our foreign minister landed in Delhi just hours before the Mumbai tragedy happened because he was going there with the intention of carrying forward the peace process that we have started between our two countries.

The target of those who perpetrated the heinous acts in Mumbai was two-fold.  One was, of course, to create terror, which they did.  But the other was to undermine India-Pakistan relations.  I think that Pakistan’s conduct in the aftermath of Mumbai has been above-board.  We banned the organizations that were identified as having any link to this incident.  We worked together with the international community and implemented the United Nations sanctions on several individuals and groups that were associated with the groups that were associated with the Mumbai tragedy.

And we sent 140 people, including those who were identified by the Indians as the masterminds of the incidents in Mumbai.  We have also exchanged all intelligence and information with India.  And if India has been restrained, it is because they are confident that we have been above board in sharing the information with them.  

The problem is that this is an election year in India.  And no politician in India wants to appear to be soft on Pakistan in this election year.  So what I am hoping for is that once the Indian election is over, we will go back to building the relationship that we were trying to build, a relationship that is based on the shared past and the hopes for the future rather than obsessed with just a few years in which we have both have had misgivings and concerns about each other.

That said, both India and Pakistan have security concerns, which we always should be willing to discuss with one another.  And in relation to Afghanistan also, I think both of us need to talk to each other as well, India and Pakistan, to make sure that Pakistan’s concerns, legitimate or just based on misinformation, are addressed.

In fact, we had a very good environment immediately after the election in Pakistan.  And I think if we allow that environment to be lost forever, to be lost for a considerable period of time, then the extremists have won because that’s what their purpose was.  Their purpose was, through the attacks in Mumbai, high profile attacks in Mumbai, they wanted to make everyone in India go back to being suspicious and not have the warmth that many people were expressing about the new democratic people in Pakistan.

And for people in Pakistan to go back to being concerned about Indian intentions toward Pakistan.  I think that we need to understand that whenever two countries have a legacy of mistrust, they need to work on removing that legacy of mistrust.  And it’s a process.  It’s not going to happen overnight.

Mumbai was an event.  Our relationship and our desire for peace is a process, and we will continue to advance that process, and we should.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ambassador.  I’m very glad we hit on this.  I’m going to take one question here, the gentleman right here, and then the gentleman back along the pillar who’s been very patient.  I think these will have to be the last two questions.

Q:  Dahagai (ph) with the Pakistani-American Leadership Center.  My question is for Ambassador Haqqani.  If we look specifically at the recently introduced legislation by Chairman Berman on Friday, the peace act of 2009, and we look specifically at the security assistance provisions in those bills, Title II, with the exception of granting access to A.Q. Khan, the conditions on the security assistance are things that Pakistan claims it’s already doing.

So is your concern that Pakistan will not be able to meet those conditions, or is it something else?

MR. KEMPE:  Shall we take the one other?

AMB. HAQQANI:  Let me answer.  Our concern is not that we cannot fulfill conditions.  Our concern is about the process of conditions.  I think that assistance that has too many detailed conditionalities can run into difficulties, not because of non-fulfillment of the conditions but because of the very nature of the relationship between our two countries.  We must understand the historic context.  

Pakistan, the fact that right now there’s a large number of Pakistanis that are suspicious of the United States, and there is a large number of Americans that are suspicious of Pakistan requires us to work together.  We are very happy to address many of the concerns that are being expressed by Congress.  I engage with Congress on an almost daily basis.  We welcome the help of people like yourself and groups like yours in reaching out to Congress.  We make an effort.  We answer the questions.  

My only concern is that there is a difference between saying, can you explain this, in private or doing it at a diplomatic level, and putting it in a piece of legislation.  That’s all.  But that said, we welcome the peace act, we welcome chairman Howard Berman’s efforts, and we really welcome Senator Kerry’s contribution and Senator Lugar’s in coming up with the idea of assistance for Pakistan that is sustained and enduring.  We welcome that and we look forward to working out the final legislation in a way in which public opinion in both countries is not adversely impacted by the language of the legislation.  That’s all.

Q:  I am Dr. Chaudry (ph) with the Pakistan American League.  My question is for Ambassador Jawad.  So many armies from all over the world are converging into Afghanistan.  Can you tell us when they lend the resources, financial and military resources, are they putting any conditions to that?  Number one, number two.  Are you giving them any lifeline, deadline, cutout line, timeline for how long these troops will be there, when your government can become capable enough to govern?

And don’t you think sometime people of Afghanistan think as if the central government in Afghanistan is compromising sovereignty by having the friends of so many thousands of troops in the country?

And the last part of this question is for Mr. Haqqani.  He has mentioned about what the case Pakistan has about the drone attacks that has been presented to the USA so many times by the ambassador of the Pakistan government.  I would like to know what is the response, where these conversations, negotiations are stuck.  You have not given us what the Americans tell Pakistan, or what the Americans tell you when you put across this case.  Thank you very much.

MR. KEMPE:  And because you went first to start with, why don’t we let you go first in terms of this final round of answers, and then Ambassador Haqqani.

AMB. HAQQANI:  I think it’s a process in which we are engaged.  I think that the United States looks upon the drone attacks as a means of eliminating high value al Qaeda terrorists, and they point to their success.  The fact that they have killed 12 out of 20 senior al Qaeda leaders that they have identified through the drone attacks, that is what the Americans cite to us.

The point is working out a mechanism whereby our concerns about – and I’m going to be very cautious here for our journalist friends – it’s about working out a mechanism whereby our concerns about sovereignty and about collateral damage are addressed.  I think that we do not have anything to report.  That is why I didn’t say anything as to what it is.  We’ve expressed our concerns, and at the same time we are willing to work with our American partners.

The most important thing, and this is the final word.  We consider the United States of America a partner, and we want to be considered America’s partner with the same level of respect that a partner should have.  We consider our brothers in Afghanistan both as our brothers and neighbors, and we also consider them as partners in this gigantic effort that we have to launch to eliminate terrorism and extremism from our region.

We really have nothing but good will toward both the U.S. and Afghanistan, and we think that that good will, if freely reciprocated, will lay the foundations for us to overcome the trust deficit of the past, and create a future in which we will not only achieve our strategic objectives, but we will be able to build an enduring and lasting partnership between our countries.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Ambassador.  Ambassador Jawad.  

AMB. JAWAD:  Thank you.  Your question was three parts – the condition, the timeline, and the sovereignty conditions.  The international community have come to Afghanistan to defend peace in Afghanistan, stability in the region, and security in the walls.  It’s a much longer mission.  They are welcome.  We need them.  They have to be there.  This is very clear.  

Their commission is that they came in order to provide safety and security for Afghanistan in peace and they should work toward that objective.  That’s the only condition.  That’s what we expect from them.

The timeline, how long is it going to take that they came there as a defensive act.  As long as the regional threat of terrorism and the global threat of terrorism is there, we would like them to stay with us.  We’d like them to stay with us and build the capacity gradually to do this job ourselves.

How fast they can leave.  It depends how quickly they invest in building the Afghan security institution, first.  Second, what’s going to happen in the region in the world?  As I mentioned, this is global.  It’s a regional mission.  They are there not just for the safety and security of Afghans, for the safety and security of European, of the world.  We share this small planet with all of us, and they are welcome.  As long as they are here, as long as they stick with the real mission of working for the safety and security of Afghans and the rest of the world.  Thank you very much.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  In closing we have – I’m going to let you applaud again.  Before I thank both of these gentlemen, I just want to say one thing.  When Ambassador Haqqani came here in June last year, he said, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has gone up and down like a yo-yo, and the reason why that’s been the case is because the U.S. strategic planners have never looked upon Pakistan in its own right.  Then I jump to the end of this quote – so there has never been a deep understanding of each other that has been needed on both sides.  

We established the South Asia Center not only because we saw this deficit, but we saw the deficit of that sort of understanding for the whole region, for India, for Afghanistan, for Iran, for the other countries of the region stretching into Central Asia, as we’re defining it as well.  People ask, why is the Atlantic Council doing a South Asia Center and how is it going to be different?  One sentence answer on both of those.

First of all, it is one of the most important new initiatives of the Atlantic Council in years.  We established it because we understand there is no region more important to our interests right now in the world.  But frankly, global interest.

Number two, how is it going to be different?  You can see already that it’s different in the sense that it’s being run by someone from the region.  And we’re setting up relationships in the region so that we’re actually going to be talking in the region with people in the region, and not going out trying to say this is the American view of how things ought to be done.  But rather to spread understanding.

So thank you for allowing us to host you for this important public event of the South Asia Center.  Thank you to Shuja for launching this.  The next event for the center will be April 22nd here, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Ashraf Ghani, the former finance minister of Afghanistan and a member of the Atlantic Council International advisory board will be unveiling a report he’s done for us, 10-year plan for Afghanistan, how to execute the Obama strategy.

So join us again, and thank you, gentlemen.  You have enormously difficult jobs at an incredibly historic time, and your countries are well represented.  Thank you so much.