By Ahmad Noor
On December 5 2011, there will be another significant event in the recent history of Afghanistan when the international community and Afghans will once again sit down together to mark the 10th anniversary of the decade long war. At this juncture of time, the international community and Afghans will decide the fate of this war-ravaged country as the transition process is already in progress in some provinces. Afghan security forces have taken over responsibility in some provinces at the same time as opposition forces are spreading tentacles in different areas of the country.
The second conference on Afghanistan in Bonn, the former capital of Germany at the Rhine river, is considered as a spectacular opportunity for the government of Afghanistan to devise a future strategy with the help of international community. As noted, there has been an increase in deaths among both Afghan and international troops. Targeted killing of high profile figures and the strengthening of the opposition forces have worsened the outlook for the country. In such a dismaying situation, no one is safe. Despite spending billions of dollars, most parts of the country lie at the mercy of insurgents, militants, drug traffickers and various other terrorist networks.
It is a well known fact that one of the major failures of the Bonn I Conference in 2001 was its inability to bring the Taliban into the political process and its failure to bind neighboring and other countries to a policy of non-intervention in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been the victim of external interference for a long time. Different players have been playing their games and pursuing policies in their own national interests. Unfortunately, their divergent interests have resulted in disharmony and conflict in Afghanistan.
Therefore the Bonn II Conference is a great opportunity for the Afghan government as well as for the international community to make a workable and acceptable future plan which will best suit the interests of Afghanistan and the region as a whole.
The agenda of the conference as declared by German Ambassador Steiner is the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan Government by 2014, further international commitment to Afghanistan after the handover and the political process of national reconciliation, including the integration of former Taliban fighters
The important question now is how to make Bonn II a successful and useful conference. The following steps should be considered:
The international community should give priority to the interests of Afghanistan rather than to their own interests and perceptions and plan from the view of people living in the region. First and foremost, the international community should decide how national reconciliation and negotiation should be started. The conference should discuss this issue and make their recommendations. Furthermore, a mechanism should be constructed to pursue the recommendations with full spirit.
The present Afghan government should give its complete strategy for an anti-corruption campaign. The big fishes both inside and outside government should be treated with an iron hand.
Justice should be rendered to all individuals or groups who have violated human rights including warlords, drug lords and especially corrupt government and non government officials.
The aid and assistance promised by the international community should be spent in a proper way and the poorest should be helped. The international community in cooperation with the consultation of the Afghan government should draw up a program for spending aid in an appropriate way,
In Bonn II, the international community and Afghan government should work together to create employment and educational opportunities for young Afghans. This will certainly promote the cause of peace and stability. It will also discourage Afghans from abandoning Afghanistan.
The government slots, cabinet and senior posts must be given to individuals who are well educated, nationalistic, patriotic and honest. The ministries should not be divided by the will and interference of donor countries, clan or family interest.
The Afghanistan National Forces should be organized and trained on a long term basis for many more years to come. More responsibility for organizing the army should be given to Germany and that of the police to Japan because both the countries are well respected due to their positive involvement. The process of recruitment in the army and police should be improved with more young educated Afghans selected. For this purpose army and police recruitment should be included at schools for the 12th graders who should be acquainted with opportunities for working there.
The international community must assure the people of Afghanistan that they are committed and want durable and prolonged stability in the country for another decade.
President Hamid Karzai must present a realistic road map to end the conflict in Afghanistan – ignoring this will put my country well on the way to another decade of crisis and chaos.
Dr. Ahmad Noor, Editor Afghanistan, World Security Network Foundation, holds Ph.D degree in International Relations from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan.