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What We Owe Afghanistan

Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak:

WARDAK: I think I will go to Vice President Biden, saying that the U.S. have not spent in seven years in Afghanistan what they have spent one month in Iraq. So, from the beginning, the threat was anticipated very low. And based on that, all the aid and the structure of the Afghan national security forces and other institution was founded on a very wrong assumption....

I hope that with the success of our Iraqi brothers, and a surge of the U.S. forces, as President Obama promised during the election, Afghanistan will become a focal point to win this global war against terror. And that will require all different elements of proper governance, economic development, building of the infrastructure....

In the '80s, I think we, Afghans, we have shattered the myth of invincibility of the Red Army. We have helped to the liberations of two (ph) dozens of countries, to the unification of Germany, to the end of Cold War. And the result was that the whole world prospered because of that. Only the misery and suffering of my people have continued. And we -- what we got out of it, about two million killed and hundreds, thousands of orphans, widows and handicapped, and $300 billion worth of destruction, based on the estimates of the World Bank and IMF.

So now, if there is any morality, if these words of equality, fairness, justice for all are not just hollow, hollow and empty words, and we all believe that this world is a global village, and what happens in Afghanistan affects us all, then I think -- as it has been repeatedly mentioned by all of our friends and allies in these last seven years -- that Afghanistan should never be allowed to become a failed state or an ungoverned area where the terrorists can plan and hide and operate from, and Afghanistan becomes an instrument of instability or harm to the rest of the region or international community.