Bonn meet opens with focus on rebuilding Afghan

Updated: 2011-12-05 19:41


  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

BONN, Germany - Delegates from over 100 countries and international organizations gathered in Germany's Bonn city Monday, attending an international conference on Afghanistan to draw up a roadmap for the war-torn nation's future.

Bonn meet opens with focus on rebuilding Afghan

An overview shows the conference on Afghanistan at the former German parliament in Bonn, December 5, 2011. The West wants to use the Afghanistan meeting on Monday to signal enduring support for Kabul as allied troops head home, but economic turmoil in Europe and crises with Pakistan and Iran could prompt doubts about Western resolve. [Photo/Agencies]

Ten years ago, a similar major Afghan conference was held in the same city, which reshaped the Afghan political framework after the western military forces toppled Taliban regime and Hamid Karzai became the transitional leader of the country and then win the election of president.

Ten years later, the world's focus returned to Afghanistan, a central Asian country that experienced year-lasting wars and terror attacks, while obtaining billions of dollars of international contributions but earning fragile achievement in public security, social welfare and national reconciliation.

The 2011 Bonn conference, hosted by Germany and chaired by Karzai, is aimed at "mobilizing the international community in support of Afghanistan, and that beyond 2014", when international combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said before the meeting.

Themed by "From Transition to Transformation", the conference is hoped to make progress in two aspects - to renew international community's commitment to maintaining long-term stability and development of Afghanistan after the troop withdrawal, and to promote the political process of reconciliation between the Afghan government and the insurgents.

"Internally Afghanistan needs a process of political reconciliation, while externally, it needs to be embedded in a good partnership with its neighbors," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview on Friday.

The chancellor also said Taliban, which did not send a representative to the Bonn meeting, could make a contribution to the peace process, if they cut all links to al Qaeda and renounce violence.

Merkel, Karzai and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are set to deliver a speech at the opening session, with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other some 60 foreign ministers as audience.

On Sunday, Karzai called on the world to keep its firework on stabilizing and flourishing his country for at least another decade after withdrawing the troops.

In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, the Afghan president said: "Afghanistan will certainly need help for another 10 years -- until around 2024."

"We will need training for our own troops. We will need equipment for the army and police and help to set up state institutions," he said. "If we lose this fight (with Taliban), we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before September 11, 2001."

Despite a large-scale attendance, the conference was overshadowed by a key regional player, maybe one of the most important, deciding to stay away from the meeting -- Pakistan has confirmed that it would boycott the meeting, outraged by a cross-border NATO bombing on the country's posts that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead two weeks earlier.

As Islamabad plays a key role in mediation between the Afghan government and the Taliban, observers said the boycott has severely dampened expectations from the conference and cast doubt over how the domestic reconciliation of Afghanistan could really be achieved in such an unfavorable and unpredictable atmosphere.

"The Bonn conference is turning into a farce," the Financial Times Deutschland said in a recent editorial. "If Pakistan's cancellation is maintained, then the conference will be virtually pointless on many issues."

   Previous Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page