Clinton to lead US delegation to the Kabul conference

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - 11:36

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton would lead her country`s delegation to next week`s
crucial Kabul conference, said to be the largest gathering of
international leaders in Afghanistan since 1970s.

A follow up to the London conference held early this
year, the Kabul conference is expected to reiterate the
international community`s commitment to Afghanistan, while the
Karzai government is likely to come up with its plan to lead
the country towards a self-sustainable and secured path.

The Indian delegation would be led by External Affairs
Minister S M Krishna.

A large number of Foreign Ministers are scheduled to
attend the conference including UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon.

In his interaction with reporters ahead of the Kabul
conference, Special US Representatives for Pakistan and
Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke clarified this is not a
pledging conference where countries would commit money or aid
for Afghanistan.

"This is not a pledging conference. It is a follow-on to
the January 28th conference held in London, and it was called
at the invitation of (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai. I`m
told it`s the largest gathering of foreign leaders in
Afghanistan since the 1970s. It`ll be an Afghan-led
conference," he said.

"The Afghan government has told us that they will present
their renewed commitments on security, governance,
development. And they will put heavy emphasis on their
programmes on reintegration," Holbrooke said.

He reiterated that there is no military solution to the
Afghan problem.

"In every war of this sort, there`s always a window for
people who want to come in from the cold. This is not a war
between two foreign nations; it`s a war between people who are
Afghans, some of whom may live next door and take sanctuary
next door, but they are Afghans. If they are willing to accept
the red lines and come in from the cold, there has to be a
place for them," he said.

The lack of this reintegration program, the lack of a
reconciliation policy, was to my mind the greatest single gap
in what we inherited. The only reason we didn`t have this
discussion with all of you 10-15 months ago was because last
year we were consumed by the presidential election, he added.

"In the context of the presidential election, it was not
possible for either the Karzai government or the international
community to move as rapidly on this programme as otherwise
would have been the case," Holbrooke said.

PTI




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