BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

AFGHANISTAN AND THE TALIBAN

October 22, 2020 Dana Lewis Season 2 Episode 16
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
AFGHANISTAN AND THE TALIBAN
Chapters
2:25
Afghan Amb. Said Tayeb Jawad
15:03
Fmr. Canadian Amb. to Afghanistan Chris Alexander
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
AFGHANISTAN AND THE TALIBAN
Oct 22, 2020 Season 2 Episode 16
Dana Lewis

The Former Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander tells Back Story Host Dana Lewis, there is no point in talking to The Taliban.  The only way to peace are sanctions on Pakistan which directs the violence. 

While Afghan Ambassador to The UK,  Said Tayeb Jawad, says The Afghan Government has to talk to The Taliban, but the violence has to stop, and The Taliban has to cut ties with Al Qaeda.  So far it has not.  And in the meantime U.S. Forces should remain in Afghanistan so it  doesn't return to what it was in 9-11, a launch pad for terrorism. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The Former Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander tells Back Story Host Dana Lewis, there is no point in talking to The Taliban.  The only way to peace are sanctions on Pakistan which directs the violence. 

While Afghan Ambassador to The UK,  Said Tayeb Jawad, says The Afghan Government has to talk to The Taliban, but the violence has to stop, and The Taliban has to cut ties with Al Qaeda.  So far it has not.  And in the meantime U.S. Forces should remain in Afghanistan so it  doesn't return to what it was in 9-11, a launch pad for terrorism. 

Said Tayab Jawad:

I guess, what is the point of talking to them? And then again, how do you have peace if you don't? Well, unfortunately, to be honest, in any big conflicts, you talk to the terrorist , you talk to the enemy, you talk to the killer.

Dana Lewis / Host :

Hi everyone. And welcome to this edition of backstory. I'm Dana Lewis. President Trump has been touting his election slogan that he's going to bring us troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas. But as usual, Trump is not the King of clarity. Troops came home long ago. Most of them there aren't very many there just a few thousand to train the Afghan army and also key air assets to support operations. The U S at one point had a hundred thousand troops in Afghanistan. Your Obama administration reduced it to about 5,500. Funny enough in 2017. Trump criticized president Obama for making pronouncements about troop drawdowns in Afghanistan. We will not

Said Tayab Jawad:

Talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities, conditions on the ground. Not arbitrary. Timetables will guide our strategy from now on America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out

Dana Lewis / Host :

Anyway. That's politics for you right now. There are peace talks with the Taliban to stop dreadful attacks across that country, but they keep occurring. So is there really the chance of peace in that poor country that has been through so much? And I've been there a lot. I was one of the first ones to cross into Afghanistan after nine 11 from Tajikistan. And I've been back and forth into Afghanistan as a correspondent, a couple of dozen times on backstory, Afghan peace prospects coming up. We talked to the former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, Chris Alexander, but first the Afghan ambassador to the UK who has been so kind to discuss the current challenges. All right . I want to introduce you to Said Tayab Jawad . He is the , uh , serving ambassador to the United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland representing of Afghanistan Hello, sir. Good morning. From December, 2003 to 2010, you were also the ambassador to the United States. I should mention. And you were also the chief of staff to the Afghan president

Said Tayab Jawad:

Cars . Uh , you have a lot of experience in terms of watching what's been happening in Afghanistan. Yes. I've been serving in different capacities , uh , in African governments, basically since nine 11, since 2002. It's amazing to see

Dana Lewis / Host :

As peace talks are underway with the Taliban, so called peace talks, this relentless violence, I mean, rockets fired a car bomb attempts by the Taliban to take Lashkar Gar in Helmand province. Is this the road to peace?

Said Tayab Jawad:

Well, the good news is that the peace talk has started. That's a good, it's a good beginning of their a 30, 40 years old violence. The fact that we are sitting across the table and it is a progress. And the fact that it's been 30 and 40 years of the violence, we expect some glitches. We expect some delays. We don't think that's going to be an easy road, and we want to be realistic about what we expect. It's going to be a difficult role . It's going to be a long road, and it's going to be difficult to manage the expectations of the Afghan people who really deserve peace, demand, peace , but we have to come actually into an agreement with the enemy. Also with the thought Yvonne , to what kind of setup will emerge from the peace talks. What is the point of talking to the Taliban ? Initially

Dana Lewis / Host :

We're directly tied into Al Qaeda. Then they said they weren't, but they'd been operating , uh , in conjunction with the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agencies , launching relentless, endless attacks, I guess, what is the point of

Said Tayab Jawad:

Two of them ? And then again, how do you have peace if you don't ? Well, unfortunately, to be honest , uh , in any big conflicts, you talk to the terrorists , you talk to the enemy, you talk to the killer that's , that's what happened and then big peace processes. And then in Columbia , and then not an Island and other places, it is a necessity. Uh, the bloodshed has gone for too long. There is a strong consensus and the Afghan society, and there also some regional encouraging move by Pakistan and other and pressure by the United States to end the conflict. Uh, it's not going to be easy. I wish either we had the force to take him out completely and impose actually, an Afghanistan that we envisioned for the future of our country. That's not possible. The peace process is due to the fact that we both read the Afghan government and the Taliban are mutually weak. We have to find a solution other than trying to eliminate each other.

Dana Lewis / Host :

I mean, in Northern Ireland to use your example, there was an armed wing and there was a political wing, supposedly at the end of it, you could separate them. The political wing spoke about peace. They demanded that the armed wing give up their arms for different things like prisoner releases and all of that is can you make that differentiation with the Taliban? Is there an armed Taliban and armed wing and in a political wing? I don't think there is.

Said Tayab Jawad:

You're absolutely right. Uh, there was an a and a , the conflict in Northern Ireland had at religious or ideological basis, they are some specific demands on what they wanted to accomplish, same thing and many other. And , and , and, and, and the share long call or other places that the challenge of the peace process and Afghanistan is that the Taliban half not providing an alternative on what do they want, if they don't agree what we are offering, actually as part of that system of governance, where do you think they want? We don't know. And again, we can judge what they, what they will , or actually when they were an Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. And that's not actually a very attractive, a model of governance for , for the Afghan people or for the rest of the world. In fact, so the , they have to part of the peace processes to make Taiwan actually to come with specific proposal on not only saying that they don't want, they don't like what the Afghan people or the African government is doing. It's specifically, what is their plans like for instance, what is their plan on the higher education, for example, no higher education at all, or no higher education for girls or no higher education and separate institutions. They have never actually come up with specific plans and idea on not only on the governments , but also on healthcare, on education, on providing services. And it's part of the pitch process to make him think and put forward some plans on how they envision the future of Afghanistan with them being part of the African society,

Dana Lewis / Host :

Peace with the Taliban. I mean, nevermind all the complications of, you know, who the Taliban are. And I don't believe that they're , I think they want power. I don't think they want peace, but can you make peace with the Taliban while the Pakistani government continues to stir of Ghana , Stan and continues to push the Taliban out, push Al-Qaida out , uh , you know, maybe ISIS as well.

Said Tayab Jawad:

Our peace efforts is , is multipronged. We, we are talking to Todd. Yvonne is , is a main enemy. Actually that is, that is , that is , uh , would be an important player in bringing the piece . But also we are trying to convince Pakistan is our neighbor, Iran and other stable , uh, peaceful and pluralistic , more importantly, realistic. Uh, I've gotten Stan is something that will be the best interest of them too . And , and that's , uh , we think that only a pluralistic Republic in Afghanistan can accommodate the diversity of the African society, but also the competing interests around Afghanistan. You're absolutely right. Pakistan has different interests than India, and both of them are important friends or neighbors of us Iran and Saudi Arabia are competing on more on money , uh , platforms, but we are trying to make them understand that peace and , and stability in Afghanistan, in a pluralistic system. And I've gone to Stan is not only the demand of the Afghan people, but also to the best interest of these countries.

Dana Lewis / Host :

My next question is going to be a bit long, just because I think I have to give a bit of background, but essentially at one point after nine 11, there were a hundred thousand American forces in Afghanistan. Plus all the ice staff , the NATO allies that joined in there, Canada, Britain, France, everybody. Now we're talking, we only have 5,500 us soldiers in there. President Trump has said, he's going to bring them home by Christmas, which is a very good kind of election slogan. Uh , but is that a good thing to do? Do you want American troops to leave or do you want it to be conditioned based like general Mark Milley? The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said, okay, stop the fighting Taliban, put, put your arms down, stop fighting. And then condition-based yes. Then we'll take the rest of our troops out. What

Said Tayab Jawad:

I think it should go. We think that the war in Afghanistan is a war against terrorism. It's not only for the stability of Afghanistan, it's for the stability of the region and for safety and security of the world. We saw that , uh , uh , after the Soviet withdraw and , and , and the international forces in their support actually also withdrawal from Afghanistan that the result of that was emergence of, of, of , uh, fanatic groups in the region and kind of , which was a result of actually of the resistance group against the Soviets. So , uh, we, as Afghan , we are ready to defend Afghanistan. Most of the war now is conducted by Afghans. Fortunately, there are no foreign soldier being killed in Afghanistan, and that's a good thing. We , uh , we appreciate the services that the foreign soldiers are provided to Afghanistan. As you mentioned, not only United States, but many , many out for NATO ally, they're not need to partners . That was part of this fight through one leader was very grateful for that, but they have enabled us now by their training, by the resources we are conducting the fight ourselves . We would like them to stay in Afghanistan and supporting role . Give us the intelligence enabler to give us the training and the equipment we will , uh, conduct the war ourself. But also we think that the war has international security impact and therefore under responsible a withdrawal from Afghanistan without considering any the condition on the ground or making the withdrawal are based on the political convenience of a person's state of the national interest of the United States is a risky move we would like to reconsider because we think the business interests of the United States that have the need to country in Afghanistan, coincide in working together to , to making sure that I've Ganesan will not become a source of instability for Afghans or the region or a source of support for terrorism in the world.

Dana Lewis / Host :

The UN came out in June and said that the Taliban retain close ties to Al Qaeda. This is where it all started after nine 11, when the Taliban were asked to give up some of in Latin in Al-Qaida , do you believe they are still retaining close ties to Al Qaeda? And by allowing the Taliban to take some form of power in Afghanistan, don't you allow kind of back. And I know that they're still there.

Said Tayab Jawad:

Well, of course it's not only the history of Taliban Al Qaeda working together, but also that the ideological , uh, bond between these , the two of them are very strong. That's why we have not seen any public statement by the thought about leadership actually denouncing Al-Qaida right . Our American friends are saying to us that they've done it privately, but if it is a, it is an honest stand. They should come out publicly and announce actually any affiliations with the, with the groups like Al Qaeda or others , uh , a new , uh , international terrorist group that operate in or around Afghanistan. So I, we, we have our doubt that they will take a strong stand. We will definitely are very , uh, suspicious of the idea that making them a tool or a means of finding other terrorist group in Afghanistan is somehow sometime told by, by an American friends. We , we , we don't, we don't think this is gonna work. And if it works, it will be repeating the mistakes of the cold war

Dana Lewis / Host :

Ambassador. Where do we go from here? I know that the talks are continuing and the violence is continuing. My final question to you is just going to play out over

Said Tayab Jawad:

Weeks, months, year .

Dana Lewis / Host :

H how is this going to go? Do you think, I know it's hard to tell.

Said Tayab Jawad:

Well, if you look at the peace processes and then Columbia , where I served as ambassador, and then I, and I know that country, and then , uh , um , other places , uh, Northern Ireland or, or , or Sri Lanka , many other conflict areas. Usually you're talking in a term of years, unfortunately as much as we want this conflict to end, as soon as possible, as much as the African people would like to see an immediate , uh , stop of bloodshed , uh, the negotiation will last. That's why, what we are asking for is that is a serious reduction of violence and also a ceasefire on both sides , because a ceasefire will give confidence to the Afghan people that this talk is going some way. It's very hard for us to sell the idea of the peace to Afghans while dozens of people are getting killed on the street every day . And it , same thing. It's also on the side of the Taliban. If they are encouraging their young man to wear suicide belts, and they'll go out and fight, encourage your heart, how are they going to convince them to step it up? And then it live actually as a normal citizen, that process should start that process of , of serious reduction of violence and a ceasefire. And, and, and, and even if the talks continue for four months or years on, on for us to agree on the form of the political set up , that that's fine, but the immediate demand is a ceasefire and an end to bloodshed .

Dana Lewis / Host :

Again, you would say to a president, Trump or president Biden, whatever the case stay with us until the ground-based conditions of an end to the violence

Said Tayab Jawad:

Are tangible. Absolutely. Yes.

Dana Lewis / Host :

Ambassador, thank you so much, sir.

Said Tayab Jawad:

My pleasure. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Dana Lewis / Host :

All right . I want to take you to Toronto now and introduce you to Chris Alexander. He was Canada's minister of citizenship and immigration from 2013 to 2015. He spent 18 years in Canada's foreign service, and he served abroad in places like Moscow. And then he became, I think Canada's youngest ambassador , uh, in Kabul, Afghanistan, you were the youngest ambassador, Chris, is that right?

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

I guess I was the youngest one at the time. Yeah, but there've been other people before incense.

Dana Lewis / Host :

You still look youthful despite serving in a place in a tough place. So good on you. Look, let's talk about Afghanistan because you spent years there, not only as the ambassador, but you were also there with the UN , um, do you believe in this so called peace process?

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

I believe in a peace process. Absolutely. And we worked for it, Dana , um , as Canadians and then in the UN mission for all my time there, we wanted to bring the two sides to , um, to the table. We wanted to end the conflict, but we wanted to do it under a constitution and a rule of law and a political system that Afghans had chosen. And we wanted to do it in a way that ended violence. Uh, and I would say that both of those conditions are now in doubt, the way the peace process has gone over the last 10 years. Uh, and particularly in the last year, as, as this desperate effort, I would call it by ambassador fellows that has moved forward to sit down with the Taliban at any cost, even as they continue to engage in violence on a, on a, on an alarming scale,

Dana Lewis / Host :

Or how does that is being driven by president Trump who wants to fly the flag? It seems and say, I'm bringing the troops home. I mean, there aren't that many there to begin with, but he wants to say for election purposes, by November, he's going to bring them all home or maybe leave 2,500 there into next year. Um, and it seems like that's very short horizon politics given the tremendous cost that America has had on the ground in Canada, two Canadian troops were in there as part of ICF and the NATO element, but, but this tremendous cost that the Americans have paid even , uh, in blood , uh, being in Afghanistan since 2001.

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

Yeah. I mean, Trump doesn't care about the outcome for Afghans. He cares only about , uh, saving his own skin politically and doing the right thing from a very superficial populist standpoint. He's bought into this rhetoric of forever Wars that we could never win. He's an isolationist , uh, and, and anti NATO he's anti Alliance. He doesn't think, well, he thinks the U S should have a huge military budget. He doesn't think the U S should do anything , uh, with its soft and hard power to make the world a safer place for everyone. And so it's a disaster, his rush for the exits without any binding obligation on the part of the Taliban to end the violence. And so they haven't ended the violence

Dana Lewis / Host :

And that's really put even his chairman of the joint chiefs of staff , uh, in a very uncomfortable position, right? Because they have said that any withdrawal of American forces will be condition-based meaning in the violence. And your, and I want to ask you about that and your ties with Al Qaeda. And that's where all of this started after nine 11. Uh , and then all of a sudden Trump came out and said, you know, we're gonna , we're going to be bringing them home by Christmas. And then general Mark Milley had to kind of say, well, wait a moment. This is condition-based. And we'll see if the Taliban meet these conditions of stopping the violence. I mean, so there was a contradiction between what the president of the United States is saying. And what is, what is chairman of the joint chiefs of staff ,

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

Correct. Uh , but let's be clear. This issue of military people insisting a heavier footprint was required and presidents resisting has a long history. Uh, I mean, even in George w bushes time, the breasts were calling for a larger commitment , uh , white house resisted because Iraq was their priority disastrously . Then under Obama who came into office promising a surge , um, he made the surge conditional on starting to pull troops out almost immediately, which most military leaders didn't agree with. And now Trump has taken it further. I mean, here , the real issue, Dana is very simple, as far as I'm concerned , uh, yes, a military commitment is still needed. Yes. NATO needs to be there principally in a training role. Uh, yes, the Afghans need to be enabled to defend their own country, but they will only succeed. And we will only be on a path to peace when someone somewhere does something about the fact that the neighboring country, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, bankrolls, the Taliban, harbors, the Taliban arms, the Taliban funds, the Taliban, trains the Taliban and sends them across the border to destabilize, undermine, and lay waste to a neighboring country.

Dana Lewis / Host :

When you really make it sound like the Taliban's completely behind that. Pakistan is completely behind the Taliban. And I mean , a lot of people would say that they , they gave them safe Haven or allowed them to exist in the frontier area. Are you saying it went much, much, much further in that

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

It was much, much further why when his dad is worried about getting the Taliban to the table, does he go bleeding cap in hand to the chief of the army staff in Pakistan? Why do they have to bring him to Cabo and roll out the red carpet and serving tea on a silver platter to try and get even the telephone to show up in Doha? It's because Pakistan controls all of the cards. As long as the international community is completely inconsistent in its insistence on pressuring the Afghans to negotiate peace. Well, their neighboring country wants to make war, listen, Russia invaded Ukraine. We sanctioned them. Iran is waging war in three or four countries. Most countries have sanctioned them for that. Uh, China has shut down democracy in Hong Kong. We are all changing our relations with China as a result, Pakistan invaded invades Afghanistan every day via the Taliban has fought NATO for 10 years via the Taliban. And there are no sanctions whatsoever against these people that

Dana Lewis / Host :

When in fact we were getting a lot of money to pack , the Americans were getting a lot of money to Pakistan.

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

Well, we've cut back on the money. Uh, and they are at least being questioned about their state sponsorship of terrorism through the , uh , financial action taskforce and a few other venues, but there's been no concerted effort to come to grips with Pakistan's role in fueling this conflict. And as long as that , uh, as we ignore that , uh, th this conflict will continue.

Dana Lewis / Host :

Why is Iran now supporting the Taliban as well? Traditionally, they were , um, you know, not arm in arm with the Taliban. Now, there are a lot of reports that they Iran , as well as Pakistan, as one as Russia, you know, have their, have their fingers in Afghanistan, but Iran specifically, because they believe that the Taliban will push back ISIS, which, you know, has a foothold in a number of places .

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

No , but let's be honest. You ran will , uh, maintain relations with any group that is prepared to challenge the United States, particularly with violence. Uh , they hosted the leadership of Al-Qaida partly after nine 11. Uh, they have had their own relations with ISIS in the middle East and elsewhere , uh, when they needed to, when it suited them and with the Taliban, they've always, ever since the Taliban began their comeback in earnest in 2006, they've always had their finger in the pie, but it's a much smaller , uh , share of the support. Then Pakistan has distracted by them . They like the Taliban because they're on an upswing in Afghanistan and they're anti America. They do not like a generally violent Sunni extremists who have fought them in Iraq. Uh

Dana Lewis / Host :

Baluchistan and elsewhere. So Chris let's, let's roll the clock back a little bit. Cause some people there's a generation of people don't understand what the hell we're doing in Afghanistan anyway. But I mean, originally the Taliban were asked to cut their ties with Osama bin Ladin after nine 11, and to cut all its ties with Al Qaeda and essentially give up Al Qaeda and they refused Mullah. Omar refused in Kandahar. And then the invasion began after that under president George Bush. Now the UN has come out in June and said that the Taliban retained close ties to Al-Qaida. Despite an agreement with America that Washington would hoped , would see Afghan militants, turn their backs on the terrorist group, according to the United nation monitors. So after all of this fighting to oust Al Qaeda and make sure that I've got, Dustin's not being used as a base for terrorist attacks all over the world, suddenly the UN and you, you were part of the UN you tell me if you consider that to be a credible report are saying that the Taliban are maintaining those ties with Al Qaeda.

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

I have always fought the people in the UN and elsewhere who thought that the idea of breaking Taliban ties with Alcaide and with terrorism was feasible. It's not the Taliban is a terrorist group. Uh, the Connie , uh, organization within the Taliban has been a VI virulently terrorist group , uh, killing civilians at an alarming rate for a decade now in Afghanistan and more , uh, they, they have received a huge amount of funding from Pakistan's ISI, precisely because of their capacity to meet out violence indiscriminately. So it's no surprise that all of these people have links to Al-Qaida that someone been Leiden after nine 11 after the U S operation began in Afghanistan, took refuge in Pakistan and was there for over a decade , uh , living in comfort, near Ubud , but as a guest of the Pakistani government and anyone who thinks that that is not the case, that Pakistan was tough on Alec , Aida , and not on the television that Pakistan doesn't really want terrorists to be based on their country should have their heads examined because the facts are completely otherwise. And the fact that there isn't investigative journalism left and right backwards and forwards covering all of this is, is amazing to me. I mean, think of Steve call's book on the S directorate of the, of the ISI , uh, about their involvement in Afghanistan. This is guy who wrote ghost Wars , uh, in the wake of, and had great success in the wake of nine 11 with it basically downplaying Pakistan's involvement. Now, over a decade later, he published the book saying, Oh, it's all Pakistan's fault. And no one pays attention. If you're calling, how do we expect to have any access success in the world? When we haven't told the truth about what's happening,

Dana Lewis / Host :

You sound angry and angry because I mean, Canadians also policed some of the toughest terrain in Southern Afghanistan and many times

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

I'm, I'm sad for the families , uh, of Canadians who lost their lives there, or who were injured. There who've come back with PTSD. The only way you can justify those sacrifices is by being able to say we were on the right path and we got a result. We're not on the right path and we won't get a result. And there are thousands more Americans who lost their lives, thousands more from other NATO countries , uh , and Dana, most of all, there are tens of thousands of Afghans who lost their lives as well as hundreds of thousands, millions who live in fear, in a fragile, in some respects failed state because we haven't gotten the job done

Dana Lewis / Host :

Most Afghans. I mean, when I look, I entered Afghanistan right after nine 11, I was one of the first journalists across the border from Tajikistan. Most Afghans that I met one of the Americans to push the Taliban out. They had had enough of them. And for kids to go back to school,

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

They did, and they expected the Taliban would not come back. They did not anticipate that Pakistan would help them Mount this comeback, which they have done. And they certainly didn't , uh, expect that the United States and other allies would when Pakistan did this, pretend it wasn't happening.

Dana Lewis / Host :

So are we making a mistake by talking to them because you're calling them a terrorist organization.

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

We shouldn't bother talking to the Taliban. We should talk to Pakistan. And we should say, you drop these guys. You drop the fight in Afghanistan, or we sanctioned the hell at it.

Dana Lewis / Host :

All right . Well, the ISI, which is the intelligence agency of Pakistan. And isn't about to create that kind of peaceful playing field, I think, but it may be sanctions. Maybe there is an argument for saying

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

It doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter at all, what they think this is what they're doing. And the consequences for any other country would be sanctions and international isolation. We should be consistent and bring the same principles to the table with them that we bring to any other state that is causing trouble on this scale. Uh , and it's incomprehensible to me why we haven't done it.

Dana Lewis / Host :

A lot of people would say that Chris Alexander's paints a very bleak picture that unless you talk to the Taliban, this fighting is endless and we've already got 20 years of it.

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

Yeah. The Taliban do not call the shots, ask anyone who knows the organization. Their bosses are in general headquarters in ISI headquarters. They do not take decisions. Autonomously. They never have a , this is what a proxy war is, data. And yeah, you can keep carrying water for Pakistan and saying, Oh, you have to talk to the Taliban. They're their own people, but that's actually bullshit.

Dana Lewis / Host :

Where does this end? Now, if America pulls most of its troops out or the, or they go down to numbers that are so small, that they won't be able to count, carry any kind of counter terrorism out here .

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

You know , when to say scenario, it ends with a U S withdrawal and a Taliban takeover. You think getting back to that delighted, they have pulled this off.

Dana Lewis / Host :

Unbelievable. If they go back to that, it will be a massive failure.

Chris Alexander/ Fmr. Cdn. Ambassador :

It will be our failure.

Dana Lewis / Host :

Chris Alexander, good to talk to you again, always great to see you. And , uh, you know, folks, there's not very many people who have the knowledge that Chris has ina Afghanistan. He spent a lot of time on the ground. So it's, it's a honor to talk to you. Thank you so much all the best. And that's our backstory on Afghanistan. The Americans and the Afghan government have to get this right. Political expediency is dangerous for people who have put their trust in a new Afghanistan, which deserves the unwavering support. I think of the international community. It really does. I'm Dana Lewis, please subscribe to our podcast and share the link. Wherever you listen to podcasts backstory with Dana Lewis is available and we appreciate you listening and subscribing and signing up for more take care. I'll talk to you again .

Afghan Amb. Said Tayeb Jawad
Fmr. Canadian Amb. to Afghanistan Chris Alexander