Enough goodwill for Afghanistan in US: Abdullah
Over the last 10 days, the visiting Afghan politician has met a number of top Obama administration officials, congressional leaders and members of leading think-tanks.
"There is still enough goodwill in the United States to continue to support Afghanistan in the Congress, the administration and think-tanks," Abdullah told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview.
"At the same time, I wouldn't say there is disappointment, but a little bit of frustration on the lack of progress on the Afghan side when it comes to delivering to the people. In my interactions, I emphasised the issue of not losing sight of the political process."
Abdullah said at the meetings he focused on conveying his message to the American audience on the current situation and the way forward in Afghanistan. The main message was that the US and international partners needed to stay the course and continue their support to Afghanistan's ongoing rebuilding effort.
The US had a genuine and real partner in "the people of Afghanistan" and that the way to ensure success in joint objectives and common goals in Afghanistan would be to stand by democratic political process, he added.
The international community, the United States in particular, had to have more clarity with regard to Afghanistan, where there was an atmosphere of uncertainty about many things. "Part of it is deliberately created by the current leadership of Afghanistan."
The July drawdown of troops was one of the topics which came up prominently during his talks. "We are a few weeks away from that. It's difficult to get a clear answer. But it's my perception that it (drawdown) would be more than symbolic," Abdullah remarked.
Abdullah also stressed the need for a robust and coherent "political strategy" to overcome the significant challenges at hand. He called for international support for the democratic process in Afghanistan and underlined improved governance.
"Afghans, the US and international partners need to regain the confidence and trust of the Afghan people and reverse the current negative momentum. Winning the war means winning the people."
Abdullah noted the Afghan government's shortcomings in delivering on the promises made to the people and that it needed to see the current situation with a sense of urgency. "The government needs to take serious steps for improving governance by taking strong measures to combat corruption and graft and fulfilling the promises to effectively deliver services to the people."
Among others, he met Marc Grossman, US special representative; Mike Posner, the assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor; Lt. General Douglas, advisor and special assistant to the president on Afghanistan and Pakistan; David S. Sedney, deputy assistant secretary of defense; and Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
In the US Congress he met Senator Diane Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Carl Levin, chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee; John McCain, ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee; Joseph Lieberman, ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee; and Congressman Mike Rogers.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.