A few weeks back I met with Afghan ambassador to the United States Said Tayeb Jawad to talk about international reconstruction efforts in his country and Afghanistan's tense relationship with its neighbor Pakistan. As an introduction to my coming blog series from Afghanistan, I am reposting a summary of the conversation originally published at my site War Is Boring. Here are some excerpts on ...
To fight terrorism is not just a military matter. You have to show the perception of security, [which] for everyday Afghans means a better life, [and this is] related to physical reconstruction and the ability of the Afghan government to deliver services. The role of [U.S. and NATO] Provincial Reconstruction Teams is crucial. They're the link between coalition forces and the everyday people. Now, I personally believe the PRTs should be involved more in capacity building with Afghan forces, the police and government. There has been a lot of focus on physical projects ... but by digging a well you're not going to change the economic conditions in a village. What Afghanistan is lacking is human capital. Building human capital will have a bigger effect than digging a well or building a soccer field.
Roads and power are our two biggest [physical reconstruction] priorities. Roads: there has been some progress. Power: not so much progress. Electricity is such a tangible thing.