Dear Mr. President

Afghanistan’s Open Letter to Obama

Members of the Afghan government, media, civil society, and private sector have written to Obama asking for sustained U.S.-Afghan cooperation on the economy and security.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

June 23, 2011Cc: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Mr. President,

As your administration contemplates the future of an historic American-Afghan partnership, we thank you and the American people for your continued dedication to fight terror and tyranny and to help build a pluralistic and prosperous Afghanistan. We share a special bond forged between our freedom-loving people. We reinforce our commitment and unity of purpose to accomplish our shared goals with our allies to build a democratic and stable Afghanistan.

Afghans have been victims of decades of violence, from the Soviet occupation to the foreign terrorists who exploited our homeland as a safe haven. We greatly appreciate the significant contributions your nation has made in assisting Afghanistan during our times of need.Moving forward, we are reaffirming that our continued partnership is vital in three key areas:

1. Building a democratic, issues-based political state and transitioning to Afghan responsibility and leadership.2. Enhancing and institutionalizing a solid U.S.-Afghanistan economic partnership that will help us eliminate dependency on foreign aid.3. A long-term, comprehensive security partnership and pact to ensure that our emerging Afghan National Army and police force can evolve into a fully capable security force, to not only defend Afghans but to ensure terrorists never again threaten the Afghan and American people from our soil. We assure you of the Afghan people’s desire for a continued U.S.-Afghan partnership and reaffirm our commitment to working with you toward this objective.

Mr. President, we are convinced that the 70 percent of Afghans who are under the age of 25 are the most important stakeholders for the future of peace in Afghanistan and the region. This new generation of Afghans—including women who now have the chance to access education—are determined to assume the leadership and risks to build an Afghanistan representative of these ideals. We honor the sacrifices of our two nations and the Afghan and American soldiers. By building on these values we share, we will create a stable, secure, and pluralistic Afghanistan.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your enduring commitment to Afghanistan, and the support of the American people confronting what you rightfully called “the challenges of our new age.” We look forward to a responsible transition from NATO to Afghan security forces when security gains are sustainable, and with gratitude we continue to support the necessary presence of American forces to provide security and defend liberty.

Respectfully,Shinkay Karokhail (MP-Kabul)Saad Mohseni, Chairman, Moby GroupNader Nadery, Chairman, Free and Fair Election Foundation of AfghanistanNargis Nehan, Director, Equality for Peace and DemocracyKhalid Pashtoon, Deputy Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga (MP-Kandahar)Dr. Sima Samar, Chairman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights CommissionRafiq Shaheer (MP-Herat)Ehssan Zia, Former Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Government of Afghanistan