News / Asia

Bonn Conference Focuses on Afghan Transformation

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) holds private talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during an international conference on the future of Afghanistan, in Bonn, Germany, December 5, 2011.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) holds private talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during an international conference on the future of Afghanistan, in Bonn, Germany, December 5, 2011.

One decade ago, diplomats gathered in Bonn, Germany, to appoint a transitional government in Afghanistan. Now, with international combat forces set to leave in 2014, more than 100 delegations have come to Bonn for a conference on the future of Afghanistan.

The focus of the Bonn conference is to shift away from an Afghanistan in transition toward an Afghanistan transformation.

Delegates are discussing three key areas, including the transfer of security responsibilities from international to Afghan forces, political reconciliation and long-term international engagement, including aid and training.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle reflected on the decade since the initial conference in 2001.

“There have been setbacks. Not all of our objectives and expectations have been realistic. And yet, we have achieved a lot. Most [More] Afghans now enjoy more freedom, peace and security than at any time in the past 30 years," said Westerwelle.

Noting gains made

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai highlighted that Afghan women make up 20 percent of the civil service sector, more than a quarter of parliament, and nearly 40 percent of students in schools. Overall, school enrollment rose from less than one million in 2002 to more than 8 million now. The Afghan president added that more roads have been built in the past 10 years than in his nation’s history.

Karzai said he was grateful to the international community for its support, but he noted the fragility of the advancements.

“The challenges that remain are significant and have the potential to derail our progress and reverse our achievements. Poverty and underdevelopment are still our top challenges. Our young democracy remains fragile, and the Afghan people are yet to see their aspirations realized through strong, effective and accountable national institutions,” he said.

Karzai said the political process remains open to Taliban and other militants who renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution.

He added that his nation will require continued financial support through the next decade. An Afghan transition strategy paper circulating at the conference said the work of the past 10 years could come undone unless Afghanistan’s significant fiscal gap is addressed.

Clinton pledges ongoing US support

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will resume contributing to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. That funding was suspended earlier this year due to irregularities with the Kabul Bank that have since been addressed.

"The United States is prepared to stand with the Afghan people for the long haul to support this transition to sustainable stability and growth, and we recognize that the Afghans themselves, as the president has said, have commitments that they must meet, taking difficult decisions to embrace reform, lead in their own defense, and strengthen an inclusive democracy rooted in the rule of law.”

Clinton praised the Afghan president’s commitment to proceed with inclusive elections in 2014. She also said the United States and international partners must remain committed to training and advising Afghan forces.

Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan, was notably absent from the conference, declining to come in protest of NATO air strikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border.

Clinton said the entire region has a stake in Afghanistan’s future and Pakistan’s contributions to the conference would have been beneficial.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid