Essential Pittsburgh
4:37 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ambassador Peter Tomsen on a Regional Way Forward for Afghanistan

Peter Tomsen will be speaking at a conference titled, “Afghanistan: A Regional Way Forward” at the University of Pittsburgh this Thursday and Friday.
Credit World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

As the year draws to a close, many Americans are looking forward to 2014, the year we're scheduled to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan, ending the longest war in US history.

But many questions remain about the roles the global community and Afghanistan’s neighboring nations will play in the years to come.

US Ambassador Peter Tomsen, a University of Pittsburgh alumni, returns to Pittsburgh this week to try to address those questions.

Tomsen served as President George H W Bush’s Special Envoy to the Afghan Resistance from 1989 to 1992. His assignment came just as the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan was ending and he was tasked with helping to implement American policy in Afghanistan.

What some people do not know is that Afghanistan had American policies in their government before the war.

“Before the Soviets invaded in Afghanistan, there was a decade of democracy, there were elections, there was a constitution based on western constitutions including our own. Afghanistan was moving forward, it was self-sufficient in agriculture, education was on the way up and this Constitutional democracy had been under way too. But then with the Afghan Communist Coup in ‘78 and then the Soviet invasion of ‘79, Afghanistan plunged into a period of warfare and chaos that has continued to this day...Afghanistan is still struggling, but it’s still a victim of the wounds of war.”

Tomsen will be giving a lecture for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh at the Rivers Club on December 4. He will also be speaking at a conference titled, “Afghanistan: A Regional Way Forward” at the University of Pittsburgh December 5 and 6.