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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora