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U.S. will not leave Afghanistan alone-Ryan Crocker

in Afghan Business

U.S. will not leave Afghanistan alone-Ryan Crocker

Ryan Crocker, the outgoing U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, spoke on the collective achievements of the U.S. and Afghanistan since the past decade in his last press conference in Kabul. He stressed that continued U.S. economic and military aid will be essential to keep Afghanistan stable after the foreign troop’s drawdown.

“When I first got here in January 2002,” Crocker says, “9 percent of Afghans had access to health care. There were 20,000 mobile phones. Now there are 16 million mobile subscribers and more than 60 percent of Afghans live within an hour’s walk of health care.

“The number of students is up to eight million in a decade. We increased life expectancy by a decade in the last nine years. This is not nothing.”

With regards to the Tokyo Conference document, Mr. Crocker said: “Read the Tokyo document. There is a chance for improvement on corruption but it is a long-term project.”

The Tokyo document requires Afghanistan to eradicate corruption before it can receive all of the money, which is USD 16bn pledged by the donors at the Tokyo Conference.

One of Crocker’s major achievements was a strategic partnership agreement that opens the door for a limited number of U.S. forces after 2014 — details to be negotiated. “I think there is every chance that post-2014 we will continue to have a presence here,” Crocker says, “certainly to advise and assist.”

Ryan Crocker will step down from his position this month for health reasons.

He had already served as ambassador to Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria; he went on to serve in Pakistan, and in Iraq during the “surge.” He then retired and was enjoying a deanship at Texas A&M University. But President Obama asked him to return to Kabul a year ago, and Crocker thought that he could not refuse.


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Afghanistan post 2014Ryan Crocker

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