The ambassadors of Afghanistan and Pakistan spoke to 50 Elliot School of International Affairs students and faculty, along with community members Monday, as the school debuted its Ambassador’s forum series.
Hon. Ishaq Shayrar of Afghanistan and Hon. Ashraf Jehangir of Pakistan addressed how the pending war in Iraq and the war on terrorism are affecting their nations.
Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, director of the international affairs program and moderator of the forum, said the session “could not have been more timely,” given the possibility of war.
The Afghan ambassador stressed the importance of having the United States seen as a liberator, not an occupier.
“The Afghans know what suffering is,” he said.
Jehangir said the war on Iraq will be difficult to legitimize to the Pakistani people without the United Nations’ support.
“If the war is within U.N. parameters, it would be much more feasible,” he said.
Shayryar praised the United States for its effort in ridding the world of terrorism and said the U.S. and Afghanistan share “common goals in respect to the war on terror.”
Although he said he is grateful to the American government for the aid provided for Afghanistan’s rebuilding and democratization efforts, he stressed the necessity for Afghans to try to solve their own problems.
Jehangir also said a positive outcome of September 11 is the improvement in U.S.-Pakistani relations since the attacks.
“Every cloud, no matter how black it is, has a silver lining,” he said.
Both speakers praised Islam and discussed the “common” perception that the Muslim extremists pervert the religion
Inderfurth praised the two ambassadors’ comments regarding each others’ countries.
“I was very pleased to see the ambassadors together,” he said. “Years ago there would have been a great deal of hostility. A new day has dawned.
Future forums are expected to be held in the new Elliott School building when it is complete.