The German Marshall Fund and EGMONT present Can We Still Win in Afghanistan? And What is a Win? with discussants Amb. Richard C. Holbrooke, The Hon. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, The Hon. Fawzia Koofi and The Hon. Peter MacKay. Philip Stephens moderates.
Amb. Richard C. Holbrooke
Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs from 1994 through 1996, during which time he led the Bosnian peace talks, which resulted in the Dayton Peace Accords.
Prior to becoming Assistant Secretary of State, he was U.S. Ambassador to Germany. He is currently responsible for business development in Europe and the Far East for Credit Suisse First Boston. He also acts as President Clinton's special envoy to Cyprus, and consults with the White House on foreign policy issues.
Ambassador Holbrooke is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Citizens Committee for New York City, and the Economic Club of New York. Prior to assuming his current post, he was a Director of the Council on Foreign Relations, the America-China Society, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and the International Rescue Committee. He is Chairman of the American Academy in Berlin.
He is co-author of Counsel to the President, the memoirs of Clark Clifford, as well as numerous articles and columns on foreign policy.
Fawzi Koofi is a member of Parliament representing Badakshan province in Afghanistan. Since 2002, she has been working with UNICEF Afghanistan as a project officer for Child Protection. Additionally, she was an English language lecturer at Faizabad Medical University in Badakhshan, Afghanistan.
Ms. Koofi earned her master's degree in business management from Preston University in Pakistan and is currently enrolled at the Law Faculty of Kabul University. She is fluent in Dari, Pashto, English and Urdu. She is also one of the youngest members of the Afghan Parliament.
Peter MacKay is Canada's national defense minister. He is also a member of parliament for Central Nova, Nova Scotia, a seat he has held since 1997. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs and National Security Committee and serves on the Treasury Board and Planning and Priorities Cabinet Committees. Before becoming defense minister in 2007, Minister MacKay was the country's minister of foreign affairs. He also played a leading role in the creation of the Conservative Party, which merged the Progressive Conservative Party and Canadian Alliance Party. Prior to pursuing politics, Minister MacKay worked as a lawyer, serving as the crown attorney for the Central Region of Nova Scotia, appearing regularly in provincial, family, and Supreme Court.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
On January 5, 2004, Jakob Gijsbert (Jaap) de Hoop Scheffer became the 11th NATO Secretary General. Prior to that, he was minister of foreign affairs for the Netherlands and chairman-in-office of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) during the Netherlands' OSCE presidency.
Philip Stephens began working for the Financial Times in 1982 and served as the newspaper's economics editor, political editor, and editor of the U.K. edition, before his current position as associate editor and senior commentator. Prior to working for the Financial Times, Mr. Stephens worked as a correspondent for Reuters in London and Brussels. He has also written two books, one a biography of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the other entitled, Politics and the Pound, a study of the British government’s exchange rate. He attended Wimbledon College and Oxford University, was a Fulbright fellow, and won the 2002 David Watt Prize for outstanding political journalism.
Future of Afghanistan
The media all over the world is abuzz with news which would cause serious concern to all those who sided with the US against the Taliban. PakistanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Military Govt is facing a 3-pronged attack. First, by the Taleban living along the Pak-Afghan border called the Durand Line. Now even the Afghan troops have joined the fray to promote the objectives of the Taliban. Since Karzai is unable to exercise any control/ influence beyond Kabul, the Pashtuns in the South/ East are gravely challenging his authority. The rest of the country is divided in to fiefdoms which are controlled warlords who get bribed by Karzai just to keep them on his bandwagon. Second, the extremists within Pakistan appear to be gaining ground. While some of these elements prefer to translate their power in to political clout a la MMA, others like the scions of Madrassas in Islamabad, both male/female, are hurling threats of using suicide-bombings against the regime if the prevailing moral perversions are not eradicated. Since the regime survives with the complicity of the Mullahs, generally, those in power know which side their bread is buttered. Third, the Military regime had to suborn the Mullahs, whom it helped to win the elections by forging their alliance, to keep the major centrist parties like PPP/ Nawaz League out of power. As the national elections are due this year and the Gen is madly keen on staying in power by hook or by crook. He is accordingly unable to assert the law to curb the activities of the extremists. The centrist parties are already fed up with the status quo and are agitating for the restoration of democracy and the ouster of army from national politics. If fair/ free elections are held under the genuine supervision of UN, PPP, having the largest vote-bank even in the last general elections despite rigging by the regime, is going to win maximum number of seats in National Assembly which would legally confer the right on it to form a Govt. The regime is also trying to reach an accord with bb who is in a self-imposed exile in Dubai. Pakistan, as such, remains politically unstable and vulnerable to acute pressure from the extremists
as the Gen wants to retain absolute power whatever it takes
History proves that the Afghans hate occupation. The British/ the Soviets learnt it the hard way and the current mess indicates that US experience may not be different. Milton Bearden, a CIA who served in Pakistan during late 80s and handled hid agencyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ covert operations in Afghanistan against the Soviets tried to counsel all adventurers through his article entitled Ã¢â‚¬Å“Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and published in Foreign Affairs Journal Nov/Dec 2001. He writes, Ã¢â‚¬Å“According to the late Louis Dupree, the premier historian of Afghanistan, four factors contributed to the British disaster: the occupation of Afghan territory by foreign troops, the placing of an unpopular emir on the throne, the harsh acts of the British-supported Afghans against their local enemies, and the reduction of the subsidies paid to the tribal chiefs by British political agents. The British would repeat these mistakes in the second Afghan War (1878-81), as would the Soviets a century later; the United States would be wise to consider them today.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As allies, the British could have cautioned George Bush who would never have read the following historic lines from Rudyard Kipling Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
And the women come out to cut up what remains
Jest roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Karzai remains President just because there the US/ EU forces in Bagram etc. The ill-advised bombing launched by the US before attacking the Taleban destroyed the country all the way. John Pilger narrates the following story in the Guardian Magazine of Sept 22 2003, Ã¢â‚¬Å“One such place is a village called Bibi Mahru, which was attacked by an American F16 almost two years ago during the war. The pilot dropped a MK82 "precision" 500lb bomb on a mud and stone house, where Orifa and her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, lived. The bomb killed all but Orifa and one son - eight members of her family, including six children. Two children in the next house were killed, too.
Her face engraved with grief and anger, Orifa told me how the bodies were laid out in front of the mosque, and the horrific state in which she found them. She spent the afternoon collecting body parts, "then bagging and naming them so they could be buried later on". She said a team of 11 Americans came and surveyed the crater where her home had stood. They noted the numbers on shrapnel and each interviewed her. Their translator gave her an envelope with $15 in dollar bills. Later, she was taken to the US embassy in Kabul by Rita Lasar, a New Yorker who had lost her brother in the Twin Towers and had gone to Afghanistan to protest about the bombing and comfort its victims. When Orifa tried to hand in a letter through the embassy gate, she was told, "Go away, you beggar.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Despite the Bonn conferenceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ pledges, the aid inflows have been of a lower order. Much of whatever is received gets spent on maintaining the tottering state-apparatus including the warlords. Hence there is little improvement in the life of the people who now yearn for the security provide by the Taleban.
Karzai canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t last without foreign troops. He appears to be assuming the role of Diem of Vietnam days but belongs to much a more dangerous setting.
Margaret Becket in her recent visit to Kabul affirmed at a later stage that a deal will be worked out with the dissidents. This speaks volumes for the shape of things to come. Despite repeated urging by the US, the EU democracies maintain an ambivalent attitude over upping the ante in Afghanistan. The Taleban have, so far, spurned all initiatives of the US etc for making a deal which reflects their strategy based on tradition, history, topography of their country and the capacity to fight back.
My name is Craig Kennedy if you weren't here last night and I want towelcome you to the Brussels Forum. If you weren't here last night, you missed a greatopening. Both the opening session with Prime Minister Verhofstadt and then the night owlsession with David Ignatius and Javier Solana, was really the best of what we're trying to dohere at the Brussels Forum, lively, interactive and provocative.We are trying some new things this year. One is that while this conference usually getscharacterized as a US/European conference, in fact, it's probably more appropriate to call it aNorth American/European conference, we're very pleased with the Canadian participationwe have this year and I think as you'll see with this next panel, it's a very important part ofthe trans-Atlantic Alliance.Second thing is, we added lunches this year. Now, this gives a lot of opportunities forwonderful discussion in small settings, but it also means that we have a rather careful balletat about 1:30 or 1:15 this afternoon. And we're going to need a lot of cooperation andcoordination to move all of you to 15 different sites and get things rolling, but I think you'regoing to find it well worth the time.We've got a lot to cover this morning in these three sessions. I'd ask you in your questionsand comments to keep them brief. Our very skilled moderators have been instructed to cutyou off if you ramble on too long and we hope for really, really interesting and stimulatingmorning. So with that I'm going to turn it over to Philip Stephens, Philip.I think it's appropriate that the formal sessions of the forum are startingwith Afghanistan because if you think about it, this is the existential challenge for the transAtlantic Alliance in coming years.We're going to have a discussion this morning about what to do in Afghanistan, but I thinkI'm going to take us a given that we have to win the Alliance. The Alliance has to win inAfghanistan. I don't think its worth having an extensive debate about whether we arewinning or how, to what extent it's essential. The starting point for this Alliance is the existential challenge.We've got a wonderful panel this morning. I'm not going to introduce them. We've gotsome questions you'll have seen them as we came in about the challenge in Afghanistan, thesort of issues, the obstacles, and the problems that the Alliance has had in Afghanistan andwe're going to deal with those.I'm going to start by asking, putting the question to each of the panelists and they're going tospeak for two or three minutes each and then very quickly, I hope, we're going to pull inpeople from, pull in you as the contributors to comment and if you like to challenge theviews of some of our panel.I'd ask, as Craig said, for everyone to keep their comments or questions relatively brief so wecan get as many people as possible to contribute. I'm going to start with Secretary Generalof NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. I think the question for him is really the clear or theobvious one, how are we going to win?This seems to be a fight that I've heard some people say or many people say, and I agree, wecan't afford to lose, but many others say we're not winning at Rigor (ph) a few months ago,you I know, and others had some issues about the strength of the Alliance in Afghanistan,have we sorted those problems out? Are we winning and how are we going to continue?Let me start by saying and trying to define the 'we', because as we are sitting here, the 'we' is first of all the Afghanpeople. They own their nation, NATO doesn't own Afghanistan, but the 'we' more ingeneral in my opinion is the international community. NATO is there, NATO is playing avery important role, an essential role in Afghanistan.Who are the, only by concerted effort of the whole International community can we win andwinning for me. That means not in the first place winning a war, but winning Afghanistanwith the Afghani people. So, that's point number one.Point number two that we have, has NATO now done much better than we did a year ago?We had problems with trying to get the forces we need in Afghanistan. We have done muchbetter; we are not entirely there yet.We've done much better now, between regions (ph) as we speak, we have generated nine, tenthousand more forces. We are now well over 35,000, but I say again, NATO is an enabler in Afghanistan.NATO can create and should create a climate of security and stability. Example, as we speakthere's fighting going on in the South. Let me commend their Canadian Foreign Minister,Peter MacKay for the tremendous job Canada is doing there with the number of our otherallies, suffering casualties and fatalities.What is essentially is that, when we clear areas in the south of Taliban and other spoilers, theAfghan Army can hold. So my final remark will be, if we do solve the number of problems,can we train and equip the Afghanistan National Army and the Afghanistan National Policequickly enough so that they can do in Afghanistan what any normal Army and any normal Police Force does?(B), can we, but that's not in NATO's hands, can we find a solution for the immenselygrowing narcotics problem. Point number three, can we, in a more mature political dialogwith Pakistan, find a solution for the big problem we're still facing in the South by peoplecoming in across the border, coming in and doing their dirty work and going back to Pakistan again.In brief, the 'we' is the International Community, United Nations, European Union, G8 andyes, definitely, NATO but a more concerted effort of the International Community isnecessary and I think we are doing not too badly as we speak, but we are not far from there yet.So, we're getting better. NATO's an enabler, one among many. I'm sure in the session we'll deal with thecoordination or lack of the coordination between some of the different institutions andagency in agencies in Afghanistan, but Richard Holbrooke that was, are you as optimistic as the Secretary General?First, Philip, I accept your stipulations. We are all here because we believe that Afghanistanis vital in it's own right and is also the ultimate test of NATO and I'm delighted that theSecretary General, who I think's done a tremendous job, is here with us.I say that because I will say some things I don't think he can fully agree with, at least inpublic. A year ago when we sat here, Afghanistan was not getting much attention and I mustsay, with considerable personal annoyance that having just returned from Afghanistan at thattime, I was criticized by several American officials for being pessimistic and defeatist, whenin fact I was arguing the exact opposite, that it was vitally important.And I agree with you that the last year has seen a focusing and a reemphasis of the resourcesand the importance of Afghanistan on the part of NATO and I commend you on yourleadership in that area and I share what you said about Canada, which has suffered thegreatest casualty since the Korean War and is one of the very few NATO countries fightingwithout any National Caveats in Afghanistan.And I hope we'll return to that issue later because I think National Caveats undermine theconcept of an integrated force. But on your core question, it is impossible to say that in therace between this tortoise and this hare, we are making as much progress as we need to as fast as we need to.There is a massive waste of money in Afghanistan by the International Community, terriblethis mis-coordination and an almost total waste of the money, of the billions of dollars, mostof them American taxpayer dollars, being spent on the drug effort, while poppy seedproduction continues to increase.And I say this with the greatest of regret and I look forward to your comments on this, I haveheard increasingly in the last few weeks from Afghan friends of mine, both in Kabul and inthe United States, that the government has simply lost its momentum and this is the factor that most troubles me.In the United States, President Karzai and Afghanistan are viewed as synonymous becausehe's such an articulate, eloquent, charismatic spokesman for his country. But Afghans I havemet who have, who supported him universally are now talking about their disappointmentwith him, their concern that corruption is the cancer that will destroy the government, saidthat it's Afghanistan's own issue in the end to win or lose and therefore the effectiveness ofthis government in all the issues, education, drugs, women's issues, transparency and rule of law.All of these issues are going to be critical and I have and I can sense a tremendousdeterioration in the standing of the government and I hope we'll hear more about that this morning.Fawzia Koofi, you're a member of Afghan parliament. Deputy Speaker, I think thereare questions so far in that for you. Is the international community in NATO and the otherorganizations the EU giving Afghani's enough space to build a nation? And is the Afghangovernment, as Richard Holbrooke just suggested, losing momentum, losing its grip?Thank you, I think it's very important to have an Afghan voice here inthis forum. I will try to be an Afghan citizen, not an Afghan politician for the discussion, andalso a woman who has been in Afghanistan throughout the violence of the 30 years conflict.I think we have had some great achievements in Afghanistan for the past five years. The fivethat we have the elected the most democratically elected President, the Parliament with a, 27woman participation. The Constitution which is the most democratic constitution in theregion is an achievement for the Afghan government and for our strategic partners in the country.However, what's important here in this process is not only the following of the process butalso the effectiveness and the efficiency and being responsible and responsive to the people'sneed. Now, we are challenged with three main triangle challenges. We call it triangle challenges.The first thing is the security because without security you are not able to achieve anything.Security, unfortunately, has deteriorated for the past one year, especially in the border areaswith neighboring countries.The NATO and Afghan national army and Afghan national police are trying to put a force toestablish security, but I think what's important here for NATO and for Afghan government tofind the root causes for insecurity in Afghanistan. We believe the fight in Afghanistan is thefight against international terrorists, it's not only Afghan's being involved in this.If anything happens, the whole world is responsible. The 911 attacks indicates that it's notonly an issue of Afghanistan, so it doesn't only need to be enforced from Afghan side, alsowe need International Community support which the NATO, the U.S. and other strategicpartners and for that we need to identify the root causes first, in security.We believe, as Afghan's, that the root causes for international terrorists and insecurity is notin Afghanistan, it's in the region, it's in the neighboring countries. And for our strategypartners it's very important to put pressure on the neighboring countries to identify the rootcauses it's not we cannot have two faces policy on the issue.We believe in Afghanistan that most of our neighboring countries have a two faces policytoward the issues in Afghanistan. This is one, the second is the issue of us was indicatedbefore, the issue of narcotics. It's also, again, it's not a problem within Afghanistan, it's aregional problem and we need regional cooperation on that.Of course, since three four years, we've had an increase in the terms of poppy cultivation andtrafficking but this year, with international community support and with putting some morepressure on border countries we have a reduction in terms of poppy cultivation.Now, coming back to the question that we are lost, I don't think that we are lost, I think thefact that we have land and compact, which is developed by Afghan's people, the fact that wehave capacity that we have developed the paper for ten years indicates that Afghans haven't lost.Of course, there are some mistakes done during the process maybe more attention was paidto Iraq rather than to Afghanistan. At the beginning there was a lot of attention, morefinancial assistance, more military presence, but then for the past three years we forgotAfghanistan almost. That was not on the top of agenda.Now that more attention is given to there, I hope that with the establishment of theParliament as a democratic institution for oversight and for making the governmentresponsible, we will find a track the system is the most responsible, the mostdemocratic system. Maybe the person here and there we need to bring some changes, but thewhole system is a responsive system.Well thank you. Thank you very much. Two big amongother problems, there are Pakistan, you were talking about neighbors and I assume we weretalking about Pakistan and the drug problem and we're going to, I'm sure, come back tothose in our discussion. Thank you. Peter MacKay, Canda's contribution to Afghanistan has been very, verysignificant. Sometimes I think, certainly on this side of the Atlantic, rather understated, as it were.There was talk back in the NATO summit in Riga of a two-tier alliance. The countries thatwere ready contributing up front, the countries that were putting in some troops but were notprepared to see those troops put in harm's way.From your perspective, have we sold solved some of those problems? Do we have a singlealliance now fighting in Afghanistan?Well, I guess I'd answer it this way. We're getting there, and I think the alliance has to be indivisible.Canada's commitment has been significant. As was stated, we have taken the most casualtiessince the Korean conflict.But Canada views our international responsibility very seriously, as we always have. And Idon't think I need to remind Europeans of the contributions that we've made in previous conflicts.We celebrated the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, which some have described in ourcountry's history as the defining moment when we became a nation. Since that time Canadahas always been a promoter of democracy, a promoter of human rights. We are aconglomeration of peoples from all corners of the globe. And so therefore we see ourselvesvery much as participants in international affairs.Now I want to come back to just the significance of having a female member of parliamenthere from Afghanistan, a Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. That in of itself isevidence in Afghanistan.Not only could women not vote and walk the streets safely just five years ago, but to have afemale member of parliament here now participating fully, demonstrative of the change thathas taken place in that country is remarkable, and I am really honored to be here with you today.There's been a lot of talk of the various elements of falling back in Afghanistan, or wherewe're not perhaps making enough progress. Security is chief to our ability to accomplish allof the development that has to go on.We're seeing millions of children in school. We're seeing micro-credit finance that's nowbeing accessible by women predominantly. Roads infrastructure, schools, hospitals, medicalclinics being built. Vaccinations for children, programs which will allow for vocationaltraining, all of those benchmarks that are outlined in the London Compact are being achieved incrementally.But if somebody says give us one good reason we should be in Afghanistan so girls can goto school and get an education so that they can participate fully in society. Those are reasonsenough. And democracy comes in many forms, and it's often slow and ugly and incremental,but it is happening in Afghanistan.And an unshakable commitment to Afghanistan and democracy and those principles is whatCanadians believe in. And I truly believe that we are winning every day. Every day thatwe're making progress on those compact benchmarks, every day that we're increasing thesecurity perimeter in places near the Pakistani border and other parts of the country,addressing the drug problem. It's going to take time.But when you look at where we were five years ago, and the credit that is due to the allianceand the commitment and the leadership of people like Mr. de Hoop Scheffer and others whohave looked ahead and said this is where we want to be. And we are now pulling together ingreater numbers getting the commitment through meetings like we had just yesterday in Oslofrom our NATO allies.Burden-sharing is still a bit of an issue for us in Canada. We want to see further equipmentin training and in the necessary troop commitments. But it's happening. And it's happeningnow at a pace that I believe is going to allow us ultimately to get to the place where Afghanswill be able to walk on their own. And that's the winning formula.That's where we want to be when Afghans can take control of their own borders, have theirown social services, a government in place that's committed to the welfare of the people.And Canada is very committed to achieving that goal.Thank you. Well that's a more optimistic note in some respects. I'm not sure that everyone in the room willshare that optimism. I think everyone shares the ambition.But we've heard in four excellent contributions from our panel some of the problems that areclearly going to be faced; drugs, Pakistan, the question of whether NATO is acting as one,the question of coordination between the civilian and the infrastructure building inAfghanistan and the security dimension. So I'd like to bring people in now if as I say ifpeople would like to make short comments or questions. And if they could identifythemselves first and we'll start here.My name is Josef Janning, BertelsmannStiftung, I would like to ask Richard Holbrooke who has hinted at a point that he would verymuch like to make is about, what would you recommend to put in place in terms of integratedforces providing security.You were hinting to the point that National Reserves and National Caveats by some NATOmembers were not helpful. What would be your advice? What would your kind of structurefor a security regime be in Afghanistan?If I may, I'm going to take three questions and then perhaps come back to one.Got it, OK, Congressman Darrell Issa, from obviously from California. Maybe a provocative questionthat splits the panel here a little bit, NATO inherited everything that came before that.So for a moment my question would give a pass on the problems of NATO's comingassuming the lead role, I think all facts considered, it's the first time every outside of Europe.And there's a lot to be said that's positive even if we could talk about what hasn't happened.But looking at the other side, you're a Member of Parliament, but you're a Member ofParliament in a democracy that we orchestrated, the United States. That mandated women'spositions in addition to women's rights. Something that is not mandated in the United States,we don't have quotas that you have to elect so many people of a particular gender or religion.And how do you feel that impacted this emerging democracy? And both for AmbassadorHolbrooke and for yourself, if the Afghan people in the border regions are unwilling to assisteither NATO or the United States and in fact are complicit in border crossings then what isAfghanistan going to do about that?That's not a matter of dollars or military training. That's a matter of political will thatAfghanistan clearly has shown it doesn't have. And in fairness Pakistan has also shown it doesn't fully have.All right, I'm going to take one more from the back there and then I'll come back to you in a moment.Ken Wollack, with the National Democratic Institute, the panelists have talkedabout building democratic structures in Afghanistan. What role do you see in this process forthe warlords? Are they part of the problem or are they part of the solution? And what is therelationship of the international community with the warlords both in Kabul, and throughout the country?OK I'll take each of the panel, and so we've got three challenging questions. I'll start with Richard Holbrooke.First of all on National Caveats, I would defer to the Secretary General ondetail, but it's an integrated military alliance. And when countries say we'll send youairplanes like the Germans but here are the rules. And the rules become micro managed bythe INAUDIBLE. That puts unbearable additional strains on the alliance.And since Afghanistan, everyone in this room agrees is a common cause of vital importanceto all of us and it is the defining issue of NATO in the modern age. I think the SecretaryGeneral and his Commanders on the ground should be able to have all the troops as available as the Canadians.And as the Canadian Foreign Secretary has just made clear, the inequality of this is causingan additional burden to Canada. Because Canada is taking a disproportionate casualtiesprecisely because they're living up to the highest ideals of the alliance while other countriesincluding I say with great regret Germany are putting too many restraints on their troops.Now in the much, much bigger question that Congressman Issa raised, I want to brieflyaddress it and then I think you should talk about it. First of all Afghanistan is the mostextraordinary country I've ever been in and I've been in a lot.It is compelling, it is mysterious, it has this ancient history. It appears divided and yet there'snever been a seperatist movement Dari, and Pashtun and Tajik and Hazara and all theother groups all feel that part of this nation that always resisted outside invaders fromAlexander the Great on and we're now faced with this extraordinary problem.We're trying to help Afghanistan build itself up and yet history suggests that time is notopen-ended here in the country, plus there is the question of domestic pressures. Although, Ithink so far, at least in the U.S., Afghanistan has been bipartisan issue. So, I feel of all theissues I've seen the most compelling to me personally is the issue of women.I think the Bush administration deserves great praise for legislating this group. I know thatyou sat with Mrs. Bush at the State of the Union message two years ago in the balcony andthe whole Congress rose and applauded you and it's very moving to see.At the same time, when I was in Herat with my wife, we went to the burn center and theimmolations, the self-immolations of young girls being told to burn themselves to death bytheir own families because they had disgraced the family. Because they had been seenalleging talking to a man in the market place in Herat and I mean all over the country, ithappened to be Herat, was terrifying to see.Giving women an opportunity, which is essential can only be done if the men are taught thatwhat they do and the way they great the women is unacceptable and I don't see enough of aneffort and so there is it seems to me a backlash and the, who does the, the backlash is comingfrom conservative men.I talked about the burka with the woman. Why do you, do you wear the burka and onewoman, one of your colleagues, made a very eloquent statement to me. She understands thatto the West the burka is a sign of an inferior composition for woman. She said you don'tunderstand. I make my daughter wear the burka because it's her defense.It's the only way she can go into the streets and the backlash is dangerous for the woman, it'sdangerous for social progress that we all want and it also benefits the Taliban. So I think it's,I think this is perhaps the biggest social issue in this extraordinary country. On the drugissue, I just think we've wasted our money, Congressman.We poured in billions of dollars. If we had spent that money, instead of on crop destruction,which only created more Taliban, and if we put that money into roads, which I think are thefirst item, President Bush has talked regularly about roads, but the road building program hasnot progressed. It would create jobs, it would give the farmers a chance to create alternatecrops, and we ought to re-examine what we're doing in the drug program.I know it's kind of fuzzy, Koofi to take a couple of those questions, then I'mgoing to take two or three more and come back to the Secretary General and the minister, so Fawzia.Thank you. Having healthy and bilateral relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan especially in theborder area is in the interest of both Afghanistan and Pakistan.Let me speak about President Karzai's speech here, whenever he talks about Pakistan, hementioned the statement. That for the past five years when the stability and securitiesin Afghanistan, in terms of business promotion. Pakistan was able to send, to export toAfghanistan with a high cost of thousands of millions.So it's an interest of both countries. Now what is important here is in the border area,we always had this understanding that those border areas are traditionally tribal controlledarea. Let me make it clear here that Pakistan, that traditional tribal structure is not thereanymore. You -- its replaced with the parties.You have (INAUDIBLE) party, you have other parties, so if the central government inPakistan wishes to control, it is a political structure in the border areas that they can controlit. When it comes to Afghanistan side, I think it's a fight between extremism and democracy.It's not a fight between which tribe and which region.It's a fight between extremism and the new democracy in Afghanistan. (INAUDIBLE)giving any kind of privileges to terrorists and extremism means officially recognitionof terrorists and that is what we don't want. Any kind of negotiation and discussion withTaliban Al Qaeda means officially recognition and giving them an identity and giving them an identitymeans giving the terrorists an identity and that is not healthy and the situation of one, extremismpromoted in the 30 years of conflict of the partisan to fight soviet invasion,by neighboring countries to fight soviet invasion.Now mostly the bad consequence was on the woman. Horribly women were affectedby victims of extremism during the past 30 years. Although Afghanistan culturally is nota country where it's extremism and violation against women. It's part of the history. No, it's not that way.Even during 1960s and 70s, we had women who were politically participating in Parliament.We have women who were Member of Parliament. We have a quota in constitution throughwhich women participation is guaranteed, but let's be clear here.Out of 27 percent women who should be in the parliament per quota, 17 women managed toget vote as open competition. In a very conservative area, () province, in myprovince I was the second in terms of the votes and gender seat, so that indicates the level ofacceptance, the level of progress towards the woman is very good.Now yes, we have fewer reports on violation, self-immolation, etcetera, etcetera, we look atit from two perspectives. One is that you have more transparency, more reports on violationand people are open to talk about it. We see it from that, that's why we have a lot ofviolation cases.But also on the other hand, yes, because there is a gap between women who are living in bigcities, who are living in the rural areas. More attention is paid to the big cities, and womenwho are living in rural areas somehow feel themselves deprived and detached from all this progress.So it's very much important that any strategy, any plan which is developed in afghanistan, we needto consider equal distribution of resources.Two strong points that we must deal with the Taliban, give themcredibility and we must push ahead with the equality agenda. Now I've got I think, one, twoquestions here, two there. This lady here first. This lady here.Thank you very much. I'm Vesna Pusic, the DeputySpeaker, Parliament of Croatia. First something on the quotas. Congressman said that thewomen in the Afghan parliament were result of imposed quotas.I don't think there's anything wrong with that. There was Scandinavians having proved themakeup of their parliaments by imposing quotas and now there's almost a 50/50. There isn'ta 50/50, but let's say there's a 40/60, which is much better than anywhere else in the world.We in Croatia have imposed quotas for, or representations for minorities and its working. SoI think, you know, in the beginning it's a shock but then people get used to these people likewomen or like representatives of other minorities being present in Parliament and actuallymaking decisions and with time they decide to actually vote for them.So I think it's not bad tactics, let's say. And I'd like to ask a question about the legitimacyissue that you've raised, because that from the Croatian and Balkan experience this is a very important thing.Once the arrangement of the government starts losing its legitimacy, then the whole, youknow, it loses its authority, it loses its capacity to act, it loses the strength to do something.So is it Karzai's government as such, or is it the arrangement that you feel thatAfghanistan is losing support and legitimacy among the people?