Bishops Call For Responsible Transition in Afghanistan, Voice Concern over U.S.-Pakistan Relations

April 7, 2011 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stressed the importance of a responsible transition of the leadership of Afghanistan to the Afghan people and expressed concern over the U.S. partnership with Pakistan in an April 6 letter from Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, to National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon.

“A responsible transition will require a strengthened civilian commitment by the United States and the international community to improve citizen participation, civil society capacity, accountability and good stewardship to promote development and good governance in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” wrote Bishop Hubbard, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace.

“While the military drawdown will significantly reduce U.S. costs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a comprehensive commitment to continued development is critical to long-term success,” he added.

Bishop Hubbard emphasized the importance of civil society participation and accountability in development and noted the need to factor in the structure of Afghan society in planning.

“The success and sustainability of the military drawdown will hinge upon a successful transition to Afghan leadership, much of which must be exercised at the local level given the decentralized nature of Afghan society.”

In the same letter, Bishop Hubbard expressed deep concern about religious freedom in Pakistan and urged the Administration to make it a major priority in U.S. policy.

“The failure to protect the religious freedom of all, especially minorities, and to build a pluralistic tolerant society emboldens fundamentalist terror groups,” he said.

The full text of Bishop Hubbard’s letter can be found online at


Keywords: Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, International Justice and Peace, USCCB, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, administration, responsible transition

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