UVU holds conference discussing conflict in Afghanistan

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An international conference at UVU discussed the history and progress of Afghanistan since the United States’ became involved in the conflict in the country.

Representatives from different nations involved in the conflict participated in different round table discussions and panels in an attempt to accurately tell the story of the complicated conflict.

“This high level event is centered around a greater understanding for the war in Afghanistan,” said John McClure, one of the organizers of the event, in a news release from UVU. “Ultimately, this will provide a greater understanding for students, faculty and for the community why the war started, what is currently happening and what can be expected in the future.”

The conference began with a round table discussion consisting of Ahmad Zahir Faqiri, the chief deputy of missions in Afghanistan to the U.N., Murad Askarov, the ambassador of Uzbekistan to the U.S., and Baktybek Abdrisaev, former ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the U.S.

“This is the first time in the course of history of Afghanistan the the people accept military presence,” Faqiri said. “When the Taliban and Al-Qaida were removed from Afghanistan, there were only 500 American forces in Afghanistan. The community, the people, rose against the Taliban and Al-Qaida, and showed them to the Americans, and with the rest of the Afghan community, they took the Taliban out. Afghanistan began to reemerge. Afghanistan became the home of all Afghans, and this was a great achievement for the Afghan government and Afghan people in our lives.”

The doors to change opened up in Afghanistan, but the country is still facing challenges as it seeks to become more self-sufficient than it currently is.

“Since late 2009, everybody’s assessment was that we should have a regional approach toward finding a political solution to the Afghanistan conflict,” Askarov said. “Secondly, Uzbekistan has been doing its best in terms of helping our neighboring country with resources. Since 2009, several northern Afghan provinces, including the capital city of Kabul, have been fully supplied with Uzbek electricity.”

Terrorism, however, still has roots set in Afghanistan that the nation is seeking to weed out.

“Narcotics is a very big issue, and one of the main factors that operates the machinery of terrorism,” Faqiri said, with regards to the large amounts of poppy that is cultivated in Afghanistan to produce opium. “We are working on a plan to provide an opportunity to have alternative cultivation.”

Afghanistan is going to great lengths to find an alternative to opium production. The nation itself has a high content of natural resources currently going untapped.

Faqiri lamented the full picture of Afghanistan not always being shown because terrorism, the Taliban and other disappointing scenarios dominate attention to the country. He did, however, show optimism in the country’s strength and future.

“This is a country with 5,000 years of history, a country with rich cultural heritage, a country with blue sky, snow-covered mountains and hospitable people, a country that contributes to the course of history for civilization and for the enrichment of the culture of the region,” Faqiri said.

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