- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

'POLITICAL ASSET'

The ambassador from Afghanistan sees most NATO forces stationed in his country as a “political asset,” rather than a military one, because most of the fighting is conducted by U.S. troops.

“The presence of NATO is a significant political asset for us in Afghanistan, but at the end of the day, this war is about Afghanistan and the United States,”said over the weekend in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

“If we fully commit ourselves, it's easy to achieve our objective while working together instead of expecting deliveries from some of our partners that may not come along.”

Most NATO leaders rejected 's call to send more troops to Afghanistan, where a resurgent Taliban is mounting a fierce offensive along border areas with Pakistan. The United States, along with a few NATO nations such as Britain and Canada, supplies most of the combat troops.

Mr. Jawad also insisted that legislation to legalize forced sex in marriage will never become law. Mr. Obama and other Western leaders last week denounced the measure, which would apply to the minority Shi'ite population.

“This is not law yet; and it will not become law because it contradicts some important principles of the Afghan constitution,” he said.

In an interview with Al Jazeera television, Mr. Jawad said the Afghan people understand that some innocent civilians will die in the war against the Taliban, which ruled the country with extreme brutality and sheltered al Qaeda terrorists until they were overthrown by U.S. forces in 2001.

“This is a price we have to pay if we want security and stability in Afghanistan, the region and the world,” he said. “It's not just the cost of the Afghan people. It's the freedom, it's the security of Afghanistan and of Pakistan.”

Mr. Jawad added that Afghans realize that the Taliban must be defeated by force.

“People know that if these kind of operations are not conducted, then we will have to deal with the terrorists and the Taliban in the same villages and the same area,” he said. “We have no option but to confront them militarily.”

LORDLY VIEWS

Twenty years after he served as U.S. ambassador to China, has sharpened his insight into U.S.-China relations and how they effect Taiwan.

Mr. Lord, speaking in Taipei on the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, warned about the growing threat of China exerting its military power to intimidate the democratic island nation of Taiwan.

“One can hope that increasing economic ties, bilateral dialogue and general momentum will lead to progress. So far the picture is not encouraging,” he said.

Mr. Lord, ambassador in Beijing from 1984 to 1989, talked of the “inspiring journey of Taiwan in the jaws of powerful head winds.”

Taiwan progressed from a repressive government under Chiang Kai-shek, whose forces fled from mainland China in 1949 after Chinese communist forces defeated them, to a democratic government today. All the while, China has issued threats against a nation it considers a renegade part of China.

As China continuously builds up its military, Taiwan is faced with a difficult challenge, Mr. Lord said.

“This will require strong farsighted leaders. It will test the fiber of the people,” he said. “Patriotism must supplant partisanship.”

The Taiwan Relations Act set U.S. policy toward Taiwan after the United States recognized the government in Beijing.

ROYAL VISITOR

of Jordan plans to visit on April 21 to discuss efforts to revitalize Middle East peace talks, the official Petra News Agency reported over the weekend.

The king will also address the Center for Strategic and International Studies and meet Arab-American and Jewish-American organizations.

c Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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