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Crocker at City Forum: U.S. commitment must continue

Ryan Crocker (Associated Press)
Ryan Crocker (Associated Press)

The United States needs to commit to involvement and assistance in Afghanistan for years to come, former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told the Spokane City Forum today.

Crocker, a Spokane native who served as ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, said the U.S. “has got to show strategic resolve and patience in Afghanistan,” a point he also applied to the situation in Iraq. He said military adversaries in Afghanistan will continue to fight “unless they feel the military option is not really working very well for them.”

“Afghanistan is not Iraq. If anything, it is harder and more complicated” said Crocker, who recently met with foreign leaders and diplomats at a security conference in Munich and said he detected “a very cautious sense of optimism at the international level” about the future of Afghanistan.

Based on what he heard in Munich, Crocker expressed a fear that Iraq is of less concern to the world community these days. “We will have to continue to be heavily engaged there if we want to see positive outcomes,” Crocker said. “Our political, economic and diplomatic engagement will be crucial.”

The struggle in Iraq “is not over, not by a long shot,” Crocker said. “I do worry that Iraq is becoming the forgotten issue in America and internationally,” he said.