Afghanistan makes promises, but no guarantees

An Afghan pledge to take over national security by 2014 plays into the hands of Western supporters eager to pull their soldiers out of an unpopular war, but there are no guarantees of success.

Last Updated: Jul 21, 2010, 20:26 PM IST

Kabul: An Afghan pledge to take over
national security by 2014 plays into the hands of Western
supporters eager to pull their soldiers out of an unpopular
war, but there are no guarantees of success.

War-weary Western leaders have welcomed the latest
promises from Afghanistan to take responsibility for security,
control spending of billions of dollars in aid and broker a
peace process to end a nine-year Taliban insurgency.
But observers said the true focus for the West is pulling
their soldiers out of a war increasingly unpopular with
voters, also tired of pouring their taxes into the
impoverished country.

"Now the focus is very much on transition and donors
being able to tell their voters when their soldiers are coming
home," said Ashley Jackson, head of policy and advocacy for
Oxfam International in Afghanistan.

"I think this truly is the last strategy that will get
this kind of backing from donors. Patience and support are
running out," she told agency.

Tuesday`s Kabul conference drew representatives from
around 80 countries and organisations to endorse a proposal by
President Hamid Karzai that Afghan forces take over
responsibility for national security by 2014.

Karzai also won a concession for the Afghan government to
control within two years 50 per cent of aid, up from the
previous 20 per cent.
There was support too for his plan to talk peace with the
Taliban, and possibly include them in government, welcomed by
many in the West as a way to end a war increasingly seen as
bogged down in the insurgency`s favour.

PTI