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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs