Americans have some misperceptions about Afghanistan and the war on terrorism.
"Many perceptions are good," says Ali Jalali. "But this idea that Osama Bin Laden was the only reason for the western presence in Afghanistan is mistaken."
Jalali is currently a professor at the National Defense University in Washington.
But he was previously a government minister in Kabul, and even ran for president against Hamid Karzai in 2009.
Commenting on he movie, "Zero Dark Thirty," Jalali says "Osama Bin Laden may be gone. But al-Qaeda is still there, and has affiliates in south Asia. All of which can affect the security interests of the world."
Karzai met with President Obama Friday in Washington to discuss the winding down of America's presence in Afghanistan.
Jalali says he and most Afghans, inside and outside the country, are concerned that Afghanistan seems to have disappeared from the national conversation in America.
But he says he's cautiously optimistic about his country's future "if the right things are done by the end of 2014."
That's when US forces will effectively be out of Afghanistan.