Regarding George F. Will’s March 11 op-ed, “Six thousand days, and still no objective”:
This month marks the 17th anniversary of the destruction by the Taliban of the statues of Buddha in Bamian, Afghanistan. The world watched in despair when Taliban fighters dynamited the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The United States didn’t respond.
On Aug. 21, President Trump laid out his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy, saying, “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.” The Afghan government and people welcomed this new U.S. strategy; unlike those pursued by the past administrations, it seeks to address the intertwined threats of extremism and terrorism where they continue finding state sponsorship: Pakistan.
In the recent Kabul Process meeting, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a comprehensive peace offer to Taliban fighters who renounce terrorism and cease violence. We sought international support for a well-coordinated counterterrorism strategy to defeat Taliban militants who continue to provide an operational umbrella under which more than 20 other transnational terrorist groups operate in Afghanistan.
The success of these unprecedented parallel steps by Americans, Afghans and our allies should lead to the complete withdrawal of U.S. and international forces from Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.
M. Ashraf Haidari, Kabul
The writer is director general of policy and strategy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.