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The Art of the Deal with Afghanistan’s Mess

This article was written by IWP student M. Shafiq Hamdam.

The U.S. finds itself at the right place, at the right time, but it has chosen the wrong individuals as partners. Partnership with Afghanistan is vital to the U.S., and it’s endorsed by the Afghans through a lengthy and democratic process. Emerging threats of ISIL, Russia’s aggressive strategy, China’s vision of dominance for the region, and Pakistan as a fragile nuclear state require a significant U.S. and NATO presence in the region.

Since 2001 the U.S. taxpayers have paid around $113.1 billion for the security and reconstruction programs in Afghanistan, and at least 2247 U.S. military personnel died and more than 20,000 wounded in the “war on terror.” Afghans paid the highest price with tens of thousands of deaths and injuries.

Yes, Afghanistan is still a leading producer of opium and heroin in the world. It produces at least 75% of the world’s opium. It is still among the most corrupt, insecure and unstable countries. But this is not what Afghans want. It is imposed by some corrupt politicians, warlords, transnational criminal groups, and terrorists. The Afghan people benefit the least, and they get the most blame. Remaining among the poorest countries of the world proves that neither the international aid nor the illicit money stays in Afghanistan.

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