Veteran quits diplomat post in protest of Afghan war

Associated Press / October 28, 2009

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WASHINGTON - A former Marine who fought in Iraq and became a diplomat in a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan has resigned in a high-profile protest of the Afghan war.

Foreign service officer Matthew Hoh is the first US official known to have quit in protest of the war, according to The Washington Post, which reported Hoh’s resignation in yesterday’s editions.

Hoh said he stepped down only six months into the job because he believes the war is fueling the insurgency. The State Department said it respects his views but does not agree with them.

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,’’ Hoh wrote in his Sept. 10 resignation letter. “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.’’

Hoh’s resignation took effect Sept. 28, according to State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, who said the government appreciates Hoh’s service.

“We take his point of view very seriously, but we continue to believe that we’re on track to achieving the goal that the president has set before us,’’ Kelly told reporters.