Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Why the Brussels Donor Conference Should Recommit to Afghanistan - The National Interes

This week, the European Union and the Afghan government will co-host the third in a series of conferences in Brussels that will convene Afghanistan’s partners to discuss future foreign assistance commitments. At the 2012 Conference in Tokyo seventy international donors promised to mobilize $16 billion for Afghanistan in total foreign assistance over the subsequent four years, with the United States expected to cover about half of the amount. In Brussels, Afghanistan is hoping for a re-commitment to similar funding levels through 2020.

The donor countries and Afghan policymakers gather at a time when the security situation has deteriorated in the wake of the reduction of Western military forces in Afghanistan, attracting much media attention and concern. Security is certainly vital for success, but economic and social progress alongside good governance is also needed. Afghanistan’s partners seek determined leadership in Kabul and a consensus based on a process for achieving measurable progress. Afghanistan’s government and its people in return need partners that understand that progress will require another decade of engagement.

A stable and sustainable Afghanistan is in the interest of the United States, other international partners and the region. The costs of allowing a friendly government to collapse would be very high in a region that is volatile and susceptible to inroads by extremist groups. The 2014 reduction in foreign military support allowed a resurgent Taliban to gain control of at least one-fifth of the country, and some say more. The Brussels Conference is an opportunity to acknowledge the key role of development assistance in building a stable Afghanistan, since July’sNATO Summit in Warsaw focused on providing security assistance commitments of about $1 billion a year to the country through 2020. - Read More


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