News / Asia

Karzai: Afghanistan on 'Long Journey to Self-Reliance'

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an opening session at the Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2012.Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an opening session at the Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2012.
x
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an opening session at the Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2012.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an opening session at the Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, in Tokyo, Japan, July 8, 2012.
VOA News
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his country is embarking on a "long journey to self-reliance."

Speaking Sunday at a donors conference in Tokyo, Karzai said Afghanistan is facing "years of hard work" as international troops stationed in the South Asian nation initiate their exit.  

Senior world officials are in attendance at the conference, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has offered assurance the United States will not abandon the Afghan people after U.S. combat troops leave the country in 2014.

She told the conference, "We must ensure that the transition is irreversible and that Afghanistan can never again be a safe haven for international terrorism."

Afghan Security Still Threatened

President Karzai said while Afghanistan has taken an important stride towards democratization with a new constitution, the country still faces a major threat to its security.

Karzai said, “Afghanistan continues to face grave risks from common threats, notably terrorism and extremism.  These threats do not affect Afghanistan’s security alone.  Indeed, the region as a whole, and the world beyond, will not be secure for as long as the menaces of terrorism and extremism persist, enjoying sanctuaries and support in some corners of the region beyond Afghanistan’s borders.”

Karzai said corruption in Afghanistan has undermined previous aid efforts and he promised to do more to bring it under control.

 “Corruption in particular is a menace that has undermined the effectiveness, cohesion and legitimacy of our institutions.  We will fight corruption with strong resolve wherever it occurs, and ask the same of our international partners.  Together we must stop the practices that feed corruption or undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of national institutions,” said Karzai.

U.N. Chief Urges International Support

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Afghanistan stands at a critical point in its history as it prepares for a transition to a more stable future.  He said Afghanistan need strong support through its transition.

“But let us be clear.  Transition must not translate into short-term measures only.  We should give the people of Afghanistan a long-term perspective and prospect of a better future, and ease their worries that Afghanistan may be abandoned,” said the U.N. chief.

Ban told the conference international donors should make their assistance reliable and predictable, without unreasonable conditions.

He said, “At the same time, it is of course Afghanistan itself that bears the primary responsibility to live up to its obligations to better serve its people in line with the commitments made in Bonn, Kabul and London.”

Before the conference started, Clinton announced that Washington has declared Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally, a step that will allow Afghanistan to receive more and faster help on security matters.  

Donors at the Tokyo conference pledged $4 billion a year in long-term civilian support, totaling $16 billion through 2015.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs