Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Contribution in Rebuilding Afghanistan

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Contribution in  Rebuilding Afghanistan

Last week the South Korean Government announced to spend US$500 million over the next five years in Afghanistan. Already the operations of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have been over $180 million, which makes the total Korean contribution about $680 million in Afghanistan. It's the largest amount of foreign aid Seoul has ever donated to any country or spent through its humanitarian operations. Now Korea stands among the important donors in Afghanistan following the top of the list; the US $37.1 billion, Japan $3.15 billion, Canada $1.25 billion, the Netherlands $1 billion and Australia $650 million. Korea is the world's 14th largest economy and one of the G20 states, which hosted its summit a couple of months back in Seoul. As a responsible member of the international community, Seoul has made meaningful contribution to the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Our nation owes them a profound appreciation for their part of efforts in rebuilding our war-torn country with the help of other members of the international community.

Already a Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team with about 320-member "Ashena" unit of troops safeguard the South Korean PRT that consists of 100 reconstruction workers and 40 police officers. The 25-member medical team is beside that. South Korea had over 200 military medics and engineers in Afghanistan before they were withdrawn in 2007 after 23 South Korean missionaries were kidnapped by the forces of darkness Taliban. Two of them were brutally killed and others released later when the Government of South Korea announced withdrawal of troops.

But thanks to their commitment, this didn't keep Seoul disconnected from the engagement in Afghanistan. This shows their obligation as a responsible member of the international community with a robust economy to make efforts in peace building and reconstruction missions around the world, particularly in conflict zones. It may be mentioned that Korea provided millions of dollars for reconstruction in Iraq.

Contrary to most of other countries having involvement in Afghanistan, the media in Korea has been very supportive of the contribution their Government has decided. Newspaper editorials have been asking Korean Government for more support, unlike some European and other counties asking for reduction of role.

There is no culture among our leadership to thank these nations on public level for their grand contribution in rebuilding Afghanistan. During this past decade, billions of dollars have come to Afghanistan through different countries. Every penny of these hefty amounts of donations come from the taxpayers' money of these countries, thus every citizen have their contribution in supporting us. And our leadership should not only officially thank all these countries, but appreciate their support publicly so that due encouragement is made.

Whatever the problems with aid effectiveness and mechanism maybe, a public awareness and appreciation should not only be part of the responsibility of Provincial Reconstruction team of the missions of these countries, but more taken as a serious task of the concerned quarters in our Government. The irony is that public awareness on this issue is very low. People enjoy the facility provided with the construction of the highways and other development with multi-billion dollar projects, but less know about the details of each of all that happening, and whom should we be thankful to.

This has to do more with our lack of collective social-responsibility awareness. I believe it's very important for our entire population to have general awareness and information about the exact role of all countries involved in reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan and their particular contribution, and thus make proper appreciation. We owe this to the supporting members of international community as a country.

After three decades of war and a complete destruction, Afghanistan had turned into ruins of a battle ground. We had no infrastructure and governance institutions since last three decades because of foreign interferences and internal wars. But thanks to the US-led international military interference that topple the brutal Taliban rule, and then the engagement and commitment of the international community, that has made possible all the little or so development from a complete ruin to a state-in-making.

From a war-torn country, devastated economy and non-existent state, we are now struggling to stand on our own feet. Today we have a network of highways connecting our major cities, a young economy in making; our state institutions are being functional. In short, Afghanistan has the kind of development in its economy, infrastructure and governance institutions that the country lacked over the last two centuries! All of these have been possible through the commitment of the international community and generous contribution of major donors like the names of countries I mentioned above. But the missing point in all this has been our lack of generosity in appreciating their role.

Our coming generations will owe them for this assistance, if Afghanistan continued on the right path, and the international community stayed committed. Otherwise destruction takes less time, but reconstruction is a tough one and takes long and strong commitment. And if Afghanistan became once again less relevant for the world, it will take us just some months to go back to the situation of 90s.

Abbas Daiyar is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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