Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Need for a Clear Framework

A recently concluded conference, Bonn-II re-affirmed international commitments to Afghanistan until 2024. Apparently, the world has pledged to support Afghanistan for a long-term. The same has been reflected in the Bonn conference resolution bearing 33 articles. But none of the countries including the United States and international organizations who participated in the conference presented a clear picture of their cooperation and aids beyond 2014 when the withdrawal process of NATO troops will complete. In other words, the international backers of Afghanistan lack a specific package covering their economic and non-economic assistances to this war torn country beyond 2014.

Keeping in view the political changes that will take place in 2014 – presidential election in Afghanistan and withdrawal of foreign forces – there is no guarantee that western support will continue as it did in the last ten years.

What if the Karzai administration fails to fulfill its commitments? If the conditions - such as fighting corruption and improving good governance and rule of law – on which international community's commitments are based could not be pursued by Afghan government, what will be the reaction of its western backers? Will not they stop funding a corrupt government?

There also is no guaranty that security and political condition will not deteriorate in Afghanistan as the current political system seems to have no intention for bringing reforms in its administration which has been an international demand since long.

The last ten years are a broken mirror of the coming ten years: inconsistent policies, centralized power, significant increase in corruption and opium production, lack of good governance, limited rule of law and above all deterioration of security situation and economic vulnerability.

If the Afghan government continues failing in the above areas, it would not be able to win the trust of western donors whose interests towards working with Afghan government have already gone down.

There have been some improvements in media, freedom of expression, human rights, democracy, private sector and others in Afghanistan but those are all fragile. Withdrawal of international troops puts all the ten-year gains at a great stake. Long term international support and establishment of an accountable and transparent political system in Afghanistan are the only way to save this country.

Bonn-II was a great opportunity for Afghanistan but it can only be deemed successful, if the international commitments are put a clear framework within a reasonable time. If not, the Bonn conference will turn into a tale of futility.