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.

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