Bonn conference: Afghanistan assured conditional support for another decade

Published: December 5, 2011
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An overview shows the conference on Afghanistan at the former German parliament in Bonn, December 5, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

An overview shows the conference on Afghanistan at the former German parliament in Bonn, December 5, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

BONN: The NATO sponsored Bonn Conference on Monday pledged to sustain support to Afghanistan for another decade, in exchange for clear progress on good governance.

Participants including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon vowed to stand by Afghanistan as it struggles to establish security and stability.

“This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation,” the conference’s final conclusions said.

“The protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities.”

Afghanistan needs help for at least another decade: Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the conference that his country would need international help for at least another decade.

Karzai told around 1,000 delegates gathered in the western German city of Bonn for the one-day meeting that his government would battle corruption and work toward national reconciliation but it needed firm international backing.

“We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade” after the troops pull out, he said

The meeting came 10 years after another conference here put an interim Afghan government under Karzai in place after US-led troops ousted the Taliban in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

However, Pakistan and the Taliban – both seen as pivotal to any end to the bloody strife in Afghanistan a decade on — decided to stay away from Bonn, dampening already modest hopes for real progress.

Some 140,000 international troops are in Afghanistan, and all NATO-led combat forces are due to leave by the end of 2014, when Kabul will assume responsibility for the country’s security.

Bonn assures support beyond NATO pull out

The event’s host, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, insisted there would be no rush to the exit, even as a looming global recession threatens to distract the West from the enormous challenges facing the strife-wracked nation.

“We send a clear message to the people of Afghanistan: we will not leave you alone, you will not be abandoned,” he said, pledging help in comments echoed by Merkel in a brief address.

US ends Afghanistan funds freeze

Clinton announced the United States was ending a freeze on hundreds of millions of dollars in development funds due to financial reforms by Kabul.

“The United States is pleased to announce we will be joining other partners in resuming financial disbursements to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund,” Clinton told a conference on Afghanistan in Bonn.

US officials said that the decision would allow for the disbursement of roughly $650 million to $700 million in suspended US aid.

Officials said Washington took its cue from the International Monetary Fund’s decision last month to approve a new loan for Afghanistan after a year of difficult talks stalled by the massive Kabul Bank scandal.

Clinton laments Pakistan’s absence at conference

Rage over an air strike late last month by NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers led Islamabad to snub the gathering.

Clinton lamented the boycott in her speech to the conference.

“The entire region has a stake in Afghanistan’s future and much to lose if the country again becomes a source of terrorism and instability – and that is why we would of course have benefited from Pakistan’s contribution to this conference,” she said.

“We continue to believe that Pakistan has a crucial role to play,” she told reporters later, adding that she was encouraged by remarks by a Pakistani government official that it will continue cooperation, including in the fight against terrorism.

In a conciliatory gesture, the conference made special note of the strain on Pakistan and Iran in dealing with refugees from the war-ravaged country.

“We acknowledge the burden of Afghanistan’s neighbours, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghans in difficult times and are committed to further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return,” the conclusions said.

Peace process with Taliban to continue despite Bonn absence

The Taliban, leaders of the country’s brutal, decade-long insurgency, also stayed away from Bonn, saying the meeting would “further ensnare Afghanistan into the flames of occupation”.

National reconciliation, along with the transition to Afghan sovereignty and international engagement after 2014, had originally topped the conference’s agenda.

But such hopes soured after tentative contacts collapsed and the September assassination of Karzai’s peace envoy, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, which was blamed on the Taliban, derailed any prospects of progress.

Karzai insisted he remained open to talks.

“The political process will continue to be inclusive, open to Taliban and other militants who denounce violence, break ties with international terrorism, accept the Afghan constitution and defend peaceful life,” he said.

IMF tells Afghanistan to do more against corruption

Afghanistan will need to prove to donor nations that it can effectively manage the vast sums of assistance it says it requires years into the future, even as foreign troops go home, a top IMF official said on Monday.

“Even under optimistic scenarios, for the next decade Afghanistan will need an extraordinary degree of donor support to meet its financing needs for both security and development,” Masood Ahmed, the International Monetary Fund’s director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said in an interview.

“As the fiscal situation in many of the partner countries of Afghanistan becomes more difficult, it will become all the more important to be able to demonstrate that the money is being allocated in a way that achieves its intended objectives.”

Ahmed spoke on the sidelines of a major international conference in Bonn, Germany, on the future of Afghanistan, which is struggling with a bloody insurgency even as foreign troops gradually withdraw. One of the world’s poorest countries, Afghanistan remains heavily reliant on outside aid.

Karzai still ready to work with Pakistan despite boycott

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday he was still prepared to work with Pakistan despite its boycott of an international conference on Afghanistan and urged Islamabad to stop giving sanctuary to Taliban insurgents.

Karzai told reporters Pakistan had missed a good opportunity to discuss its own issues and the future of Afghanistan by not attending the Bonn conference. “But it will not stop us from cooperating together,” he said.

Asked what he wanted Pakistan to do to help bring peace in Afghanistan, he said: “Close the sanctuaries [for terrorists], arrange a purposeful dialogue with those Taliban who are in Pakistan.”

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Adil
    Dec 5, 2011 - 4:32PM

    Its official USA/NATO will stay till 2024. Ya Allah Khair

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  • Dec 5, 2011 - 5:00PM

    @Adil NATO-US are gonna attack at Pakistan’s Nuclear facilities soon, they will stay here until we are destroyed
    http://707monty.blogspot.com

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  • Dec 5, 2011 - 5:10PM

    In the current situation Pakistan desperately needs Russian support, and it is very important for the survival of Pakistan, China can compromise on its investments in Pakistan.
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  • Bhayia
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:13PM

    This is what Karzai wanted. . . . . .what about the Afghan people?

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  • Hussain
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:56PM

    and till then 2024 ISLAMIC Khilafa will be back INSHA-ALLAH. As USA and NATO cannot stay that longer in this region :)Recommend

  • shakrullah khan
    Dec 5, 2011 - 5:56PM

    Amazed at the unfaltering duplicity of discourse politicians-imperialists can sustain . In their rhetoric you can’t see even a glimmer of their real intentions and goals . The purpose of the Bonn conference , we are to believe , is the reconstruction of Afghanistan . What about the ruthless drive of the Americans to have a permanent military presence in Afghanistan with a financially dependent puppet regime , for geopolitical stranglehold over the region .

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:25PM

    @Adil:
    not if RUSSIA stopped their supplies too. NATO will hardly last for two weeks

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  • The Court of Justice
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:33PM

    Great Decision……now it’s time for Afghanistan to stand on its feet without looking for others…the world community must help them in positive respect……because for last few decades Afghanistan had been exploited, their culture, social system and everything had been destroyed by warssssssss of interests either from one side or other…….now it’s great decision and very important specifically for neighboring countries and generally for the world peace. I hope with the development and reconstruction of Afghanistan, South Asian peace and brotherhood will be return back and economic development will be more faster countries around. The reconstruction and Development of Afghanistan is in the best interest of whole world and specially South Aisa.

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  • Faiz
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:42PM

    @Umair: Russia will always side with Indian coz we can never have the amount of money
    India invests in Russia. To be honest i even dont see China saying something when their
    trade with India is 100 billion while with us is 7 billion.

    Right now Pakistan needs money to make itself strong. But our economic forecast for the next decade is very poor. We are in a lot of trouble now.

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  • Ali Ahmad
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:44PM

    We need to get our act straight. We should tell them if our concerns are not addressed we will
    boycott BONN 2021 meet. For god sake we are a nuclear power atleast give us a little if not full respect. Why are we treated as slaves. ( I am crying right now)

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  • Farhan Khan
    Dec 5, 2011 - 6:51PM

    Without Pakistan, Bonn Conference Holds any significance?? Future of Afganistan being decided with Out Pakistan.. Seems Like a Joke. ;)

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  • Adil
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:14PM

    @Hu Jintao: Dear brother.. there is no route through Russia. its just a trick by Americans to deceive us and give us a false sense that they are in trouble.

    the route they are taking even right now is FRANCE GERMANY POLAND UKRAINE [ NATO BLOCK ROUTE] BYPASSING RUSSIA THROUGH BLACK SEA TO ROUTE OF TURKEY ARMENIA AZERBJIAN AND THEN THROUGH CASPIAN SEA TO TURKMENISTAN AND FINALLY AFGHANISTAN

    Now i calculated the whole costs and this route is 4 and a half times expensive for them. But guess what they are the West and they control the money. They are not at a loss coz they have
    started reducing aid to PAKISTAN so that they spend it on this route.

    Finally i would say we are in a lot of trouble now. Allah khair farmaaye

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  • A. Khan
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:31PM

    @Hussain
    Stop living in cloud cuckoo land and work on improving literacy in Islamic world. That is the only way to reach the previous heights of Islamic civilization and be respected in the world. Education cannot be replaced by oil wealth, otherwise the Arabs would be rulers of the world.

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  • S!D
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:36PM

    @Umair
    They might have plan to attack pakistan but what threat you are posing, i think that is not gonna happen in near future atleast. US is more worried about Iran which is building its own nuclear facilities despite so many economic pressures. Iran poses more threat to US than pakistan.

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  • S!D
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:40PM

    @Ali Ahmad
    Dear repect is asked from some one instead it has to be earned. Pakistan has to earn it too by showing some integrity to the world.

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  • scorp
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:40PM

    @Hu Jintao: why would Russia do a thing like that,Russians don’t hate Americans as much as they hate Pakistanis,Pakistan’s efforts in Chechnya,soviet era Afghanistan have produced it’s own fruits,moreover they are with the northern alliance in Afghanistan so is USA/NATO,India and containing china is indeed in the interest of Russia ,India,Taiwan,Philippines….probably except Mongolia,if i remember correctly PM Putin ruled out any strategic or military relationship with Pakistan, so stop day dreaming

    here is additional info:http://rt.com/politics/russia-welcomes-coalitions-longer-839/Recommend

  • ali
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:46PM

    A conference to support a puppet, without Pakistan and Afghan Mujaheddin, this conference is just a big show.

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  • AK
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:49PM

    US is not in a position economically and politically to stay for more than another 2 years, they will have to retreat, no other choice, Afghanistan will be left with PK and pro PK Afghanis who will then run the country

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Dec 5, 2011 - 7:59PM

    Karzai said that Afghanistan “will need outside aid until 2025”. How much had Afghanistan received so far? The U.S. had spend $1 trillion there! And how much of it had found the way into the pockets of Karzai’s entourage? Afghanistan has huge deposits of minerals which would generate billions in revenues! The country needs education and modernisation.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 5, 2011 - 8:02PM

    The present economic condition of US is not as such that it can disburse 650 to 700 million dollars for reconstruction of Afghanistan after 9/11 attacks on Afghanistan.

    I don’t know if US has got so much of money that first US has to destroy a country completely and then spend taxpayer’s money to reconstruct the same country. US also assured in the same words to Iraq and till date the reconstruction of Iraq has not started as yet.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai should clean his own house first to eradicate corruption from Afghanistan.

    There are very serious allegation about his real brother who is involved in cultivating and exporting the dope to several countries, including US, what to talk about battling the corruption from the entire Afghanistan.

    I do not live in fool’s paradise and believe it on what is happening now.

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  • Muhammad
    Dec 5, 2011 - 8:08PM

    US/NATO presence in the region is not good for Pakistan but if they stay until 2015 US will be broke to smaller independent countries same like Soviet.
    In fact, previously west were destroying east and game is now reversed… US seeks a way to escape as they wont win this war and this is proved with non-popular 10 years long war with no result.

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  • pakistani baloch
    Dec 5, 2011 - 8:18PM

    @Adil: it cannot be possible 4 israel and americans to attack pakistan’s misslies … mind it ..they will fail …Recommend

  • faizal
    Dec 5, 2011 - 9:18PM

    @Mohammad ali Siddiqui, what makes you think US cant pay that money….they have saved 800 million from giving to Pakistan…there is more they have been paying to it in military and civil aid, they can redirect the same to Afghanistan…Moreover, irrespective of whether US pays or not….why are you bothered??? Lets take care of Pakistan first and think of its welfare.

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  • FawadTx
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:11PM

    Karzai is US/NATO agent.

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:27PM

    Afghanistan does not need financial support….they need ventilator support. With a president as corrupt as the pakistani counter part, give them as much as the international community wants most of them will go to the politicians personal accounts…. Afghanistan will remain as it is even after 100 years.

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  • korhimal
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:12AM

    @Faiz:

    Your analysis is correct, Pakistan is in trouble. But it has created this trouble for itself. A nation will not get respect just because it is a nuclear power. Being a nuclear power, it has to behave responsibly. Right from independence, Pakistan’s policies were flawed. Actually, though Jinna strived for partition on the basis of religion, he never wanted Pakistan to become a Muslim country. His views were secular and modern. The power-crazy leaders had other ideas. In stead of building up a strong nation, they filled the hearts of the common man with hatred for India on the basis of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan’s whole foreign policy was centred on Kashmir. Just because majority of the Kashmiris were Muslims, they thought Kashmir belongs to them. All other issues like development, poverty-elimination etc became secondary. India was considered to be an enemy. Pakistanis just forgot that till 1947, all of us belonged to one country. Being an Indian, I am proud of my country, but that does not prevent me from loving the Pakistani people. Many of my friends are Muslims, and they are proud to be Indians. In fact, India has almost the same Muslim population as Pakistan! Then, why should we be enemies? We are actually the same people. Our culture, history, religions, languages, even the way we dress are the same. It is time both India and Pakistan shed their animosity with each other (yes, there are some people in India who consider Pakistan as an enemy) and stand united. If we stand united, no power on the earth can stand up to us. I know, it can not happen all on a sudden. But at least we have to work for that. Let US and China and Russia wage their wars among themselves. But we have to give a strong message to he world that we are united and that we have a common foreign policy. I know it is a dream, but I sincerely hope and pray it becomes a reality. Jai Hind! Jai Pakistan!

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  • Parvez
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:17AM

    Karzai’s Retirement Plan – not bad !! Although I think he needs an Exit Plan more than this.

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  • West Sıde
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:43AM

    Do you think its a joke, you are messing with world’s strongest military alliance do you think you can win them before they distribute you into 4 countries. A country tiny as size of taxes cannot even whipe out their nose. run on US money.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:56AM

    @scorp:
    “…moreover they are with the northern alliance in Afghanistan so is USA/NATO,India and containing china is indeed in the interest of Russia ,India,Taiwan,Philippines….probably except Mongolia”
    Mongolia has been and still is squarely in the anti-China camp! Recently, Burma has switched sides and dumped China, rejecting all Chinese aid for a huge dam China was supposed to build for it. Small brush fires have started all around China. It is time for Pakistan to demand that all territorial transfers, especially in Kashmir, be reversed and stop betting on its “sweeter than the honey” alliance with China!
    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    *”US also assured in the same words to Iraq and till date the reconstruction of Iraq has not started as yet.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai should clean his own house first to eradicate corruption from Afghanistan.” *
    So, then what was all that noise about America going to Iraq for oil? Iraq does not need America’s help (financially) to develop herself. Of course technical help from US shall be forthcoming, naturally for a competitive fee.
    If Afghanistan has any sense, it should take full advantage of the ten-year window that has been opened for it. It will need a lot of focused hard work. For starters, Karzai ought to lose that silly cape of his and put some of his own elbow grease in the reconstruction of his country. If they don’t show seriousness of purpose, even its best and steadfast well-wisher, India, may not find it possible to continue!

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  • khattak
    Dec 6, 2011 - 3:45AM

    Afghanistan is on its way to become modern, educated, democratic & tolerant country. Halqis, Perchamis & Mujahideen are setting side by side in parliment & Jirgas. Thanks to US/West/China/India, they are establishing institutions like modern Army, Airforce, Police, hospitals, schools, colleges & Unis at great cost to thier tax payers. Time is up for semi literate molls better they become part of this wave of develpment or wear sucide belts to explode themselves. Afghan people do not want Mollas any more. The cycle of progress is irreversible

    Thanks to great leader Karzai, he is doing wonderful job. He has presented Afghanistan very well. This was not possible for one eye, semi literate Amil al Momin. I would not hire Molla Umer to become Imam of my village mosque.

    Pakistani people need not to become jealous of progress in Afghanistan and therefore, should not stand hurdle. A modern, progressive, democratic & strong Afghanistan is in the best interest of people of Pakistan(not Pak Army establishment). Please let us Pashtun live in peace on both side of Durand line. No more Molla monkey business. Stop Pashtun genocide.

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  • Blue eyed Indian
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:20AM

    @Muhammad: Your imaginations beat all the worst imaginations out there. “America will be broken into smaller states????????” No wonder why world treat you like a joke. Your absolute foolish thinking and imagination is what makes you and your country a big joke.

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  • Iron hand
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:25AM

    At the end, looking past all of the delusional theories put forth on this blog about the intentions of the US, the question is simple: Pakistan has become an extremist society. Will it reform itself and join the rest of the world in peace and modernity, or will it continue to chart the dead end course of al qaeda, at the ultimate cost of itself. That is the only question that matters.

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  • Imu
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:04AM

    A lot of sympathies goes out to the Afghan brothers. Have they even asked what the common Afghans want. Well . . . . if they suffer, than Pakistan has always welcomed them to share their bread with them.

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  • Muhammad Ilyas
    Dec 6, 2011 - 9:19AM

    @Blue eyed indian, Soviet broke into pieces isn’t a joke after 9 years of invasion of Afghan. History is repeating itself; its mine or your job to estimate or underestimate.
    When Soviet invaded Afghan, do you remember how many countries helped Al-qaeda, Taliban and other to fight Soviets in Afghanistan. US/NATO finally realised; they can not win this war because there are major opponents who support Taliban in the region and this is the reason Taliban still fights with US/NATO forces.
    When Soviet invaded; US, Israel, UK, Pakistan and many other allies support Taliban and when US invaded the same country imagine who will be supporting them.
    If you feel it like joke, than just google “Russia concern over anti-missile defence shield” and related counter measures taken by Russia. If it were joke, than US would never think of escaping from Afghanistan. US is not a baby they know what is going on.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:17PM

    @Muhammad Ilyas:
    You seem to be an eternal optimist when you are standing at the edge of a deep, yawning abyss right in front of you. You are a “lucky” man – or a totally blind man!

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