Friday, 13 April 2012
G8 Leaders Affirm Afghanistan Engagement
While NATO intends to handover security responsibilities to the war torn nation by 2014, the country obviously has several problems to overcome. Afghan Security Forces need to be paid, just as infrastructure requires funding. There will likely be some US/NATO troops left in Afghanistan, the scope and size, which is yet to be determined. This will also require a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
Afghanistan is a tribal nation, which will make governing from the centre virtually impossible unless local warlords and tribal leaders support a central government.
The meeting on Afghanistan, which was held at Blair House, chaired by Secretary of State Clinton. The G8 leaders renewed their support for an Afghan-led reconciliation process and vowed to help strengthen Afghan forces. A joint statement said:
“The ministers reaffirmed the agreement reached in Bonn for sustainable levels of financial support, consistent with the Kabul process, toward Afghanistan’s economic development and security-related costs as part of their enduring engagement with Afghanistan through 2014 and into the transformation decade (2015-2024).”
The statement acknowledged that significant progress had been made, however much more must be done on human rights, international terrorism, respect of the Afghan constitution and for the right of women.
“Reconciliation must contain the reaffirmation of a sovereign, stable and united Afghanistan; the renunciation of violence; the breaking of ties to international terrorism; and the respect for the Afghan constitution, including its human rights provisions, notably the rights of women."
While G8 leaders acknowledged the traditions and religion of Afghanistan, they said that it must coincide with international human rights and obligations under humanitarian law. They also urged the Afghan government to enact reforms to address corruption, enhance the rule of law and foster a business and legal environment conducive to private investment.
This may be a high order for President Hamid Karzai, who has been accused of corruption and election fraud. There is also still the issue on how to deal with the Taliban and the Pakistani government. Unquestionably relations with Pakistan will be the key to failure or success of the Afghan mission.
While there will be reduced costs for the military presence in Afghanistan, significant funds to prop up the government an economy will be needed for years to come, at least another decade.