Haroon Rashid, Independent Directorate of Local Governance
Haroon Rashid graduated from Ohio University’s College of Communication with a master's degree in media management. He is currently employed as a strategic communication manager at the Independent Directorate of Local Governance in Kabul, Afghanistan. Prior to joining the IDLG, Mr. Rashid worked as the deputy head (2003-2005) and later as the deputy director of public relations (2005-2006) at the Ministry of Counter Narcotics in Kabul.
1. What are your priorities in your work for the Independent Directorate of Local Governance?
I am responsible for strategic communication throughout Afghanistan to enhance security, local governance, and development on behalf of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).
2. What is the most under-reported progress you have seen in Afghanistan?
The Afghan government has already accomplished a lot, which the media unfortunately does not cover. The work of international organizations, the UN, and NGOs dominates the flow of information. The government of Afghanistan works hard to strengthen security and improve local governance as well as development. However, the government is reported as weak, incapable, and corrupt. Every day, national police and Afghan soldiers are being killed by Afghanistan's enemy, but again, they are the ones being called corrupt and unprofessional in national and international media. Sadly it is against the norm of journalistic standards to feature success, instead the media focuses on the government's failures.
3. What should the international community focus on in Afghanistan in 2009?
The international community should strengthen the National Police and National Army in Afghanistan. It should pave the way for the Afghan government to sit in the driver's seat of development in their own country.
4. What do you say to those Europeans, who would like to pull out of Afghanistan and spend more resources on domestic problems?
The causes of the problems in Afghanistan are of international nature. Terrorism is not a local problem. Its roots are spread throughout the world. The US and the international community have already once pulled out of Afghanistan, right after the Soviet Union was defeated. By withdrawing from Afghanistan, they would be repeating the same mistake. Europe should strengthen the Afghan National forces so that international staff can be replaced. It should continue supporting Afghanistan's development process. Focusing on domestic problems is necessary, but the situation in Afghanistan can become an insolvable domestic problem one day.