With the resurgence of attacks on US troops and Afghani civilians and growing political unrest, many are uncertain about the stability of Afghanistan and the region.
Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood addresses these key issues, current US-Afghanistan relations, and the role the US and world can play in shaping Afghanistan's future- World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C.
Amb William Wood
William Braucher Wood presented his credentials as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on April 16, 2007. From 2003 to 2007, he was Ambassador to Columbia.
Ambassador Wood has been a professional foreign service officer for more than 30 years. He has focused on multilateral, political-military, and economic development issues, and he has also served abroad in Latin America and Europe.
In addition to several other awards, in 1998 he received the James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence for his work at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and, in 2002, he received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award offered by the Department of State.
Ambassador Wood received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Bucknell University in 1973 and a Master of Business Administration degree, with a specialization in international finance, from the George Washington University in 1975.
Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood describes the Focused District Development Initiative, which concentrates security efforts on the district level to disrupt the Taliban and corruption.
Wood explains that 70 percent of the violence in Afghanistan takes place in 40 districts, where the Taliban is most active, so the Coalition Forces have begun to target those specific districts.
With the Focused District Development Initiative, the police force in a given district is removed for a period of time to be retrained and replaced with an elite force. This exposes any corrupt connections between the police and the Taliban and cleans the slate for a fresh order when the police return.
William Wood, Ambassador to Afghanistan, explores the balancing act of establishing centralized government power in Kabul while maintaining regional and local control for citizens.
He explains that a number of factors in the leadership of Afghanistan are inherently biased towards centralization, making all the decisions in Kabul, the capital city. Because of this bias, he proposes a rebalancing to make sure voices in the community are heard through government representatives of each locality.