Ambassador Ludin urges NATO to stay in Afghanistan

In an article published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on November 9th, 2007, Ambassador Jawed Ludin says that it would lead to chaos if NATO were to withdraw from Afghanistan now. Below is a translation of the article " NATO må ikke svike oss”:

Updated: (11.09.2007)

NATO must not give up on us

- NATO must stay in Afghanistan in the years ahead. Anything else would lead to chaos and mean victory for the terrorists, says the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Oslo.

Torill Nordeng/ Aftenposten

Afghanistan’s Ambassador in Norway, Jawed Ludin, thinks it is only hypothetical that the NATO-lead ISAF force that fights Taliban and Al-Qaida in his homeland can withdraw now.

- It would destroy all that is build up, tear down NATOs credibility and make the terrorists stand forth as the victorious part, says Jawed Ludin to Aftenposten.

He thinks that a UN-force as a replacement for NATO will not be able to do anything. It is NATO that has the muscles and the capacity, which can assure that Afghanistan becomes a strong, stable and democratic state - strong enough to resist the terrorist cells.

But even if the US has the largest resources, the European NATO-countries cannot be sitting in the backseat. They must be in the front seat with USA, he adds.

Ludin is aware that Afghanistan is not yet able to stand on its own feet, but is totally dependant of the military and political support they receive from the outside to defeat terrorists. It is a matter of building democratic institutions, developing economically and getting rid of the stamp of being a grand exporter of opium.

- The Afghan people is most grateful for the support that we receive. They feel compassionate with all the parents who have lost their close ones in the ongoing battle, the Ambassador says.

Yesterday the Afghan flag hang on half pole by the Embassy in Oslo. It is a three day domestic-mourning after Tuesday’s suicide attack on a group of Afghan parliamentarians visiting the Baghlan province. 41 people were killed; many of them school kids who were there to welcome the guests from Kabul. The investigation is in full progress. Taliban have denied responsibility.

- But know that we Afghan are as much victims of international terror as you are in the West. We are not producers of terror, the Ambassador says.

- What do you do from your side to combat terrorism?

- With the help from the US, Canada and Europe we are building our own national army in accordance with international standards, together with a strong police force. ISAF must stay in Afghanistan until we are strong enough ourselves.

Ludin says that the Afghan national army has now taken over more and more responsibility. The youngest soldiers in the army are not more than 19-20 years of age. It was during the Taliban-regime that our country got notorious for their child soldiers.

- Does NATO have the right strategy in Afghanistan?

- NATO is on the right track, but success is decisive. Currently it is said that “to fail is not a choice”.

Ludin is convinced that the focus must be on military presence.

- Focus on humanitarian assistance will not take us further. Remember that it was from NATO that the Afghan people requested assistance, even if some people now do not understand why they have become victims of both NATO and Taliban’s bullets. We must also remember that NATO has had large casualties in their endeavour of giving us a hand. USA, Canada and Great-Britain have lost many. It will not be forgotten, the Ambassador says.

Ludin is also quite concerned of what is happening in Pakistan.

- It can be conclusive for the progress in the whole region provided Taliban warriors in Pakistan comes back on the field.

So far Afghanistan and Pakistan have had a common objective on paper to strike down terrorist groups in the area.

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Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Oslo
Gange-Rolvs gate 5  -  0244 Oslo  -  Norway  -  Phone: + 47 22 12 35 70

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