Saying that "we just keep going into more valleys and finding more enemies because we're going into their valleys," former U.S. foreign service officer Matthew Hoh just spoke with NPR about the decision he made to leave the State Department because he disagrees with U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
Hoh's resignation, as we predicted, brought him national attention after it became front-page news in The Washington Post on Tuesday. It came, of course, as President Barack Obama continues to consider whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.
In an interview, much of which will be broadcast later today on All Things Considered, Hoh told host Melissa Block that he's convinced the U.S. is losing "soldiers and Marines in combat to people who are fighting us, really only because we're occupying them":
Hoh believes most Afghans just want to be left alone in their villages and valleys. "They're concerned with the events in their local area, in their village and valley and that's what they fight for":
American policy has been misdirected, Hoh thinks, because "we only talk to Afghans who come into our headquarters and talk to us. We don't get out and talk to the people who live in the villages and valleys. And you realize that they want is to be left alone":
The U.S. had to go after the Taliban and al-Qaida after the 9/11 attacks, Hoh believes, but now is in danger of making al-Qaida stronger, not weaker:
And, he does not think leaving Afghanistan would turn that country into a "safe haven" for al-Qaida again. He maintains that al-Qaida no longer needs that country. Al-Qaida, he maintains, is an "ideological cloud" that spreads via the Web:
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