Note to President Ghani: Afghanistan Needs Self-Help

KABUL, Afghanistan – If I were so bold as to send a note to President Ashraf Ghani, I would say this: Tell your people to stop waiting for help from others. They cannot rely on foreign support. Tell your citizens they should instead take an active role in restoring peace to Afghanistan themselves. Tell them they can do this. Tell them that your government will help them.

Too much time and energy is wasted – by Afghanistan’s political leaders, educated elite and the public itself – urging the international community to rush to their rescue. When our leaders constantly spout this idea that Afghanistan needs more foreign troops, money and assistance, it becomes woven into the national psyche.

President Ghani recently told a citizen gathering in Paktia province that he has finally convinced world leaders that the war in Afghanistan is a foreign project that requires foreign solutions. He seemed to suggest that the world will save us all.

These kinds of remarks are more suited to a politician running for office. We need strong leadership from an experienced president who can inspire citizens with a sense of pride and ownership in their own land.

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