What Should the President Talk About?

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If I were writing the agenda for the meetings in Washington next week between Afghanistan’s president and chief executive and the American government, I would cover defense, security, and infrastructure—three broad areas that if strengthened will benefit all Afghan society.

Most Afghans feel that our country has an absence of a good governing system. There is no security, no dependable defense system, no transparent and honest police force. Our education facilities and health facilities are inadequate, our justice system is not transparent, and we have a corrupt governing body.

Afghanistan can’t survive without external funding. We need new infrastructure and the last corrupt government did not make the creation of basic industry a priority. With infrastructure our economy could have developed with new job opportunities, but instead today we are dependent on external funding rather than our own resources.

So my points for the meetings with Afghan President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and the American leaders on Tuesday would cover the following three areas.

First, ask for America’s help with developing a long-term strategic approach to strengthen our defense system. A good way to begin would be to build an advanced merit-based and transparent military college system with colleges in all four zones of Afghanistan. I would add family benefit packages for all army personnel to encourage the soldiers to be honest, dedicated, and family oriented.

Second, we need help negotiating with Pakistan and other related countries to contain the movement of Taliban and ISIS, or Daesh, into Afghanistan. This is the source of insecurity in our country. We need funding for our Electronic ID security system to deport non-Afghans and prohibit their entry so we can obtain peace.

Third, we need help with a three-year plan for infrastructure development. It would include railway lines to different strategic locations in Afghanistan, as well as electric and water infrastructure with reservoirs and dams for our agriculture development.

Afghanistan has minerals, gas, oil, and gems along with a solid agricultural industry, which are all a strong part of our identity. However, our government is divided by different factions and has always prioritized ethnic interest over the national interest in developing the country.

These are the important things that Afghanistan needs.  Strong infrastructure will allow Afghanistan to achieve its goals of strengthening our government, defense, and industry and establishing peace.

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