The Washington Post
Accountability in Afghanistan
Reading David Ignatius’s Nov. 26 oped, “Watching Afghanistan slide backward,” about Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States Adela Raz, left me sad and furious. Ms. Raz embodies the hope for Afghanistan our troops fought and too many died for. She certainly exemplifies the goals of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development for the advancement of women that were central pillars of our policy for the two decades we implemented programs there.
Now, it appears this young Afghan woman who dared to dream the future our policy plotted out for women is left without her own country and with no help from ours as the Biden administration ponders recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, our new hope now is that the Taliban does not steal or directly benefit from the requisite humanitarian assistance the United States and partners will provide to the Afghan people.
Unfortunately, we have averted our eyes as the Taliban benefited from our assistance for years, corrupting the education and health systems American taxpayers funded and taxing power stations and roadways we built. Stealing our humanitarian assistance will be seamless for the Taliban with or without conditions, which are, at best, policy window dressing with no violators ever held to account.
Herbie Smith, Ocean View, Del.
The writer was U.S. Agency for International Development director
for Afghanistan from 2015 to 2019.