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International Conferences on Afghanistan since the Past Decade

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International Conferences on Afghanistan since the Past Decade

Afghanistan is the only country around the globe to have been seriously considered for discussion by countries worldwide on its various sectors-politics, economy and security.

Fifteen global and regional conferences have been held for discussion on Afghanistan and over fifty billions dollars in aid have been pledged to the country.

The Afghan government says that Afghanistan’s political relationship with countries worldwide has expanded during the course of 10 years. President Hamid Karzai, after the Tokyo Conference, said that Afghanistan is stepping towards a brighter future.

“Afghanistan has established its position among the international community as a free country with independence and dignity. The world community believes that Afghanistan is going towards a brighter future and will use the aid money for the better of the people. Therefore, the world community has agreed once again to give their commitment,” said President Karzai.

The first conference on Afghanistan was held in Bonn in 2001, after when the Taliban were ousted. As a result of the conference, periods of emergency, transition and election came into existence. And, based on this conference Afghanistan’s Constitution was formed and adopted.

The first Tokyo Conference was held in 2002 followed with Berlin Conference in 2004, whereby the world community pledged USD 5.5bn and USD 8bn respectively.

London Conference was held in 2006 where the donors agreed to pay USD 10bn worth of aid to Afghanistan. In 2007, Italy Conference was convened where the international donors agreed on an amount of USD 350mn. In the following year, Paris organized a conference that focused on the agriculture, energy and water sectors of Afghanistan. The world community pledged more than USD 10bn to Afghan government at the Paris Conference.

A series of conference followed thereafter.  In 2009, Holland summoned the international donors and asked for their commitment to assisting Afghanistan in rebuilding process. The United Kingdom hosted one conference in 2010 and in 2011 the Second Bonn Conference was held. Kabul hosted the World Conference on Afghanistan in 2010, and in 2012 the Chicago Conference was held. Istanbul Conference was held in 2011 followed with the conference of countries at the heart of Asia in 2012. Each of these conferences has been crucial for development and strengthening of cooperation with Afghanistan.

At the Chicago and Tokyo Conference the world community pledged about USD 10bn annually for the infrastructure and security improvement for four years. Najibullah Manalay, Communication Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, called the financial assistance from the international community important; however, he says he is not satisfied with how they spend the aid.

“We are thankful for their generosity, but we are not satisfied with their mechanism of spending the money. In the first Tokyo Conference, Afghans requested for USD 10mn for reconstruction of the economy. The world community, however, agreed on USD 5mn. The amount we requested for was not given to us. Their commitment has always fallen short of meeting our country’s requirements and their implementation has fallen short of their commitment.”

 Political and economic experts, on the other hand, do not share the same view as Mr. Manalay, and they mostly blame the Afghan government. Hamidullah Faroq, Economics Professor at Kabul University, says that the international community has given us their honest assistance; however, due to lack of required capacity in the country the international aid was not spent in the right manner.

“Certainly, in the past 10 years since the first Tokyo Conference onwards various conferences on Afghanistan in the areas of peace, security, economic, social, political and other issues were held. Unfortunately, experience has shown that Afghans have not had the ability, the capacity and the will to make better use of these opportunities.”

Although the Afghan government says that in the past decade it has proposed good and regular plans on Afghanistan in the regional and global conferences, the experts say that the assistance from the international community has been solely out of sincerity and generosity and not out recommendations from the Afghan government.

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