Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Promises in Brussels Conference

In the ongoing Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, the International Community has reiterated its support for Afghanistan but it has also mentioned that the country would need to do more as far as efforts on transparency, security and human rights are concerned.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his address that the people of Afghanistan had been able to count on the help of the international community but also emphasized that the country would need to have a greater role played by women. He, though, welcomed the National Unity Government's (NUG) move to include women in the peace process.
The overall role of NUG for the heightened role of women, however, remains debatable. On its beginning days NUG made some important promises regarding uplifting the position of women and saving them from the prevailing violence and discrimination but many of those promises have only remained promises. On certain occasions even some women rights organizations clearly stated that the government has not been able to do much in this regard and the promises have remained only promises.
Then there are fears that in the process of the restoration of peace and making agreements with the Taliban extremists, there may be certain sacrifices made regarding the rights of women and that would deal a major blow to all the progress or achievements that have been made regarding women in the country.
Ban Ki-moon also said that he was "deeply concerned" about the high civilian toll and the high number of displaced people in the country. On this note he called on the country's international partners to further commit to helping Afghanistan.
Afghan government in this regard can make sure to provide better security to the civilians and must make every effort that they are properly protected. Definitely, it is not possible to ensure the security of all the people, keeping in consideration the situation, however, it can make efforts to do what it can do in this regard. There are many cases wherein civilians lost their lives because of the negligence or inappropriate actions of the authorities. Therefore, there should be endeavors to control them, at least. This would also reduce the number of people who get displaced because of insecurity.
The international community has also emphasized that aid pledged should largely be spent on key projects to help Afghanistan reach the point of self-reliance as well as for the rehabilitation of Afghanistan's infrastructure, for press freedom and for propping up human rights – particularly that of women's rights.
George Cunningham, deputy of EU ambassador to Afghanistan said in a statement, "I expect good progress and as I said money will not be given in one go, it will be given in segments."
Promoting good governance, fighting corruption, strengthening rule of law and security and promoting economic development are said to be important factors in terms of securing aid.
Corruption has been a dominating problem in Afghanistan and a large portion of previous aid money was, in fact, gulped by corruption; little money reached to the poor and deserving people. In order to save the upcoming aid from the evil of corruption, pronounced actions would be required on institutional level. Corruption has penetrated deep within Afghan social and political systems and, the sincere authorities would have to make some big decisions to eradicate it properly from the country and bring the aid money in the best use.
Good governance, on the other hand, is also difficult to achieve for NUG in near future. Still a large portion of Afghan society suffer from poverty and unemployment, how can the government even talk about good governance. Education for all, rule of law, justice, gender equality, transparency and participatory government, all these can only be achieved when the very basic problems are solved. Thus, making developments in good governance would really be a Herculean task for the government.
However, the minister of finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi has assured the international community that the money will be spent on key projects and will be monitored by the international community.
President Ashraf Ghani in his address also mentioned that the aid would be used in the best way to eliminate terrorism and instability from the country. He also said that creation of the anti-corruption task force body, increase in government revenue, investment, the peace deal with the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), mega economic projects such as CASA, TUTAP, Chabahar port, connectivity through railway lines, TAPI and other projects were major achievements of Afghan government in recent times.
Moreover, he added that Afghanistan would require further support from the international community to fight terrorism.
There is no doubt in the fact that Afghanistan require support from the international community and the more there is support, the better there is a chance for Afghanistan to make developments; however, even more important is the fact that the authorities who make use of these aids and funds must be honest, dedicated and sincere. Without sincere and honest efforts everything may end up in smoke.