Afghan president Hamid Karzai says continued international support after foreign forces withdraw in 2014 will be crucial to the stability of his country. He was speaking at the opening of a global summit on the future of Afghanistan taking place in the German city of Bonn.
Karzai acknowledged the progress made over the past 10 years since the last such conference but warned that there is a lot more work to be done to secure the future.
He said his people are looking for clear commitment to economic transition as well as security: “The Afghan people are yet to see their aspirations realised through strong, effective and accountable national institutions. Chronic under-investment of state capacity building, the existence of parallel structures and the permeation of corruption and a culture of impunity, have undermined the development of institutions in terms of strength and credibility.”
Despite years of aid and billions of dollars chronic poverty and hunger are still widespread in Afghanistan. One man, a fruit seller in Kabul, called for the conference in Bonn to make the alleviation of poverty a priority.
He said” “We have not benefited from the past 10 years. Aid comes in to Afghanistan and the aid money goes into the pockets of Afghan ministers, mayors and government officials. It has not brought any changes to the life of poor Afghans. We hope that this conference will focus on poor Afghan society.”
It is estimated that at least five billion euros a year are needed up until 2020 if Afghanistan is to maintain current levels of development.