Ignored Afghanistan

IN THE past one year or so, the world has been too focused on Iraq to care for Afghanistan. The `coalition of the willing' that began its `war on terror' in Afghanistan has been hopelessly grounded in Iraq.

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Published: Fri 21 May 2004, 12:15 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:42 AM

While unlike Iraq it is not all bad news in Afghanistan, the Karzai government has been finding the going tough on several fronts. The interim government can do with all the help it can get from the international community to ensure security and social-financial stability in the country. Although it does not face a totally hostile population as in Iraq, the interim authority requires greater security support from the United States forces and Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan to press ahead with reconstruction projects. Right now, the US forces and Nato troops operate independent of each other.

The Nato troops are particularly reluctant to leave the relative safety of capital Kabul. Their total involvement is vital if the interim government has to go ahead with the tasks ahead. Particularly important is the phase of first independent election that is slated for September. This requires a massive voter registration campaign in the war-ravaged country. In view of the years of political and social chaos, the election is not going to be the easiest of tasks for the Karzai government and its mentors in Washington.

That is why reconstruction efforts have to be accelerated. It is important to honour the commitments made by donors at the Berlin conference. Apart from committing sufficient resources to rebuild a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, the international community must launch concerted efforts to reinforce the government's capabilities to harness them for the people's well being.

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