Afghanistan counselor visits campus

Speaking on the topic of the current state of his home country Afghanistan, M. Ashraf Haidari addressed a crowded auditorium at the end of fall semester.

Haidari is the counselor for political, security and development affairs at the Afghanistan embassy in Washington, D.C. He delivered a speech on the security, government and reconstruction of Afghanistan to students and men and women of the U.S. armed forces.

Haidari was filling in for Ambassador Said T. Jawad, whom was meant to give the speech but had been called back to Washington to meet with President-elect Barack Obama, and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The 45-minute speech covered basic information on the vital statistics of Afghanistan, as well as a look at the reconstruction effort currently underway.

Haidari was very optimistic about the future of his nation, yet, noted there are many challenges facing his people. A primary challenge Haidair mentioned is the lack of aid being provided by the United States and other nations. Noting that Afghanistan receives a fraction of the aid that Iraq has received, Haidair expressed frustration with the current aid policy toward Afghanistan.

“The citizens of Afghanistan demand the basic rule of law,” said Haidair. However, he also mentioned the government lacks the resources needed to provide basic protection to some of its citizens.

Overshadowing the challenges his nation is facing, Haidari made a point to emphasize that stability has returned to most of the country, noting that most of the destabilization is limited to the southeast region along the border of Pakistan.

Haidair also addressed the issue of women’s rights which has received quite a bit of attention since the Taliban has been removed from power. Currently, the Afghanistan parliament has guaranteed 27 percent or 64 of its total seats to women. More than 600 women ran for the seats during the last election.

After concluding his speech, Haidair yielded to a question and answer session from the audience. He then took photos with all of the members of the U.S. armed forces in attendance. He presented three of the soldiers with a coin, a gift from the ambassador. He thanked the soldiers for their service to America and also to his country.

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