Pakistani journalist and former militant Ahmed Rashid was in Tallinn this weekend to discuss Afghanistan's future at the Lennart Meri Conference, this year entitled: "The North-South Split - Managing a New World Order."
In an interview with Rain Kooli, who manages the opinion section of ERR's Estonian-language website, Rashid called on Western countries to grant asylum to Afghans who have worked as interpreters and partners for NATO forces. In contrast to a statement by President Hamid Karzai, made during a visit to Estonia last month, Rashid said such interpreters are in great danger.
Rashid said the war in Afghanistan was not a mistake, but that the West's biggest shortcoming is lacking a clear program for development after coalition forces withdraw in 2014. Adding to the unpredictability of the situation are next year's presidential elections, the West's military pullout, the economy, neighboring countries and much else, he said.