The US-led war in Afghanistan has forced the first American official to resign his post, questioning the reason behind Washington’s military presence in the country.
The senior State Department official in Afghanistan’s Zabul province Matthew Hoh had stepped down in September, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” Hoh wrote in his resignation letter to the State Department’s personnel chief.
“I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end,” he added.
The former Marine Corps captain was offered a senior staff-level job at the US embassy in Kabul, which he also turned down.
Hoh, who had also served in uniform at the Pentagon and as a civilian in Iraq, said he decided to speak out to influence public opinion.
“I’m not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love,” he said after his resignation became final on Wednesday.
“I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, ‘Listen, I don’t think this is right.'”
Since the 2001 US-led invasion of the country, Afghanistan has been suffering from the devastating war. A high number of civilians have been killed both by indiscriminate US air strikes and by violent acts including suicide bombings and blasts carried out by militants against the occupying forces. Many other Afghans have also been forced to displace due to the conflict.
According to the latest UN report, more than 1,500 civilians have been killed and many others wounded only in the first six months of this year, which shows a 24 percent increase compared to the same period in 2008.