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Bonn Conference Offers Few Details for Afghanistan Past 2014


Bonn Conference Offers Few Details for Afghanistan Past 2014

Bonn Conference Offers Few Details for Afghanistan Past 2014

The outcome of Monday's Bonn conference on Afghanistan was anything but clear.

Dozens of nations, including the United States, and organizations met on Monday to come up with a road map of support beyond the withdrawal of U.S. and other international forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

They pledged to stand by Afghanistan in the 10 years after the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for good governance. However, none offered any specifics.

For it's part, Afghanistan said it would require $10 billion annually over the next decade to shore up security and reconstruction.

Pakistan, a key player in the region, threw a curve ball at the conference by refusing to attend following a NATO strike that killed two dozen of its troops in a friendly fire incident along the border with Afghanistan in late November.

VOA Pasho language service reporter Ifthikhar Hussain spoke with Ahmad Majidyar, Senior Research Associate with the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, who believes Pakistan's absence dealt a serious blow to reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

Click here to listen to the entire interview

Ahmad Majidyar: "Pakistan is a great player in any end game in Afghanistan and so definitely the participation of Pakistan was necessary and could have been productive given that Pakistan has a lot of influence with the Taliban and could have played a key role in bringing the Taliban and the insurgents to the
table. Pakistan usually mentions that it wants to be part of the solution in Afghanistan, not part of the problem.

But unfortunately by boycotting the Bonn conference, Pakistan once again proved it does not want to be part of the solution and share partners with Afghanistan, and also the international community, to bring security and stability to the worn torn country. I also think that this is also a loss for the Pakistanis as well because they want to have a big share in any end game in Afghanistan, but by boycotting the conference, Pakistan marginalized itself as well."

Iftikhar Hussain: Given that the Taliban is big factor for Afghan efforts at reconciliation, did this conference make some progress on the process of talking to the Taliban or did it fall short of the key factor for the future of Afghanistan?

Ahmad Majidyar: "I don't think that this conference made any progress or had any achievements when it comes to reconciliation with the Taliban. We have seen that the Afghan government has engaged the Taliban over the past six, seven years, but it has produced no results. The Taliban is defiant, they
have increased their violence and given the fact that right now the Taliban thinks that the international community will leave Afghanistan in some three years and the government of President Karzai will not sustain itself, it will be difficult to expect that the Taliban will join any peace process now.

I think that parts of the Taliban will be willing to join the Afghan government only if they think that the world community will not abandon Afghanistan and the present system and the political structure will remain in place. Most of the conflicts around the world have ended with a political solution, rather than a military solution. But unfornately, the Taliban have shown no willingness to come to the negotiatiing table, so to have any high expections of any political settlement with the Taliban in any future is just fantasy and I don't think that will happen."

Another international conference on the future of Afghanistan is set to take place next year in Tokyo, Japan.

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