Long-term reconstruction of Afghanistan must take priority over emergency aid to its starving and homeless if it is to recover from 23 years of war, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a major donor conference in Kabul Saturday. "Humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan will not end if we do not gradually focus our attention from treating the symptoms to treating the cause of poverty and humanitarian need in Afghanistan," Karzai was quoted as saying. (AFP photo).
Afghanistan is starving and bordering on chaos. Little George "So What?"
Afghanistan is in chaos but they lack the oil that Iraq has and so no one is willing to help them to the extent they need help. Things have deteriorated so fast that President Karzai is saying that a lot of people are just going to have to suffer as humanitarian aid is funneled into rebuilding the infrastructure that little George blew up. The reality is the same old story, the people in power steal the aid for their personal use.
Eventually, the people who must suffer will gravitate toward Islam and join the holy war against the United States. It was the destitution that France and England imposed on Germany after World War I that brought about the rise of Hitler and the further devastation of World War II.
Little George got rid of the Taliban and helped set up a democracy and said "good luck". Afghanistan has been marked by decades of tribal wars and nothing has really changed. Little George does not have a clue as to how to resolve these problems but what is worse he has no commitment to making sure that terrorism does not again take over the country. The reason is simply because Afghanistan has no oil that can be exploited.
It will take the whole world to clean up the mess that little George created in Afghanistan.
Emergency Aid to Afghanistan Must Take a Back Seat: Karzai
Opening the two-day international meeting in Kabul, Karzai said that more than five billion dollars of funds pledged by the world community should be used to shore up the country's infrastructure rather than in direct help to its needy.
"Humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan will not end if we do not gradually focus our attention from treating the symptoms to treating the cause of poverty and humanitarian need in Afghanistan," he said as quoted by AFP.
More than 1.7 million refugees have returned to Afghanistan since last year's fall of the Taleban regime, with many facing a struggle to support themselves in a country ravaged by conflict and drought.
Karzai also urged donor nations to bypass the numerous United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) currently working in Afghanistan in an effort to streamline assistance.
"While we very much want the UN agencies and NGOs to receive funding for work in Afghanistan we also want to see donor countries begin to help Afghanistan with the reconstruction," he said.
The UN and NGOs have previously come under fire from senior Afghan officials for squandering relief cash on excessive overheads.
Karzai added that Afghanistan had a duty to learn to fend for itself despite the massive financial shortfalls it currently faces. "We recognize that help for our budget cannot and will not go on for ever, it has to stop sometime and it shall. It is for the Afghan people to stand on their own two feet and to make the bread and butter of their own hard work."
Afghanistan has received under half of a two-year, five-billion-dollar aid package pledged at a reconstruction conference in January, with many donors expressing reluctance to pour cash into a country beset by security problems.
Taleban fighters, backed by members of the Al-Qaeda extremist network still pose a significant threat to stability in a country also plagued by bitter political, ethnic and territorial rivalries.
An assassination attempt on Karzai in early September and a series of bomb blasts in Kabul culminating in a city center explosion which killed 30 people have underlined the volatile situation.
Nearly a quarter century of war only gave way to a relatively stable peace last December.
UN special envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi told the conference that unless aid was increased, not only violence but also the country's notorious drug trade would continue to hinder development.
"There has been significant international support; however it is not quite sufficient to bring back peace and stability to the country," he said.
"Micro level programs are well on their way, but without massive nationwide large-scale investment, the country cannot handle some of the most immediate peace-building tasks.
"Hundreds of thousands of jobs will need to be created to enable impoverished Afghans to earn a living and climb out of debt. "The massive flow of returning refugees must be accommodated, alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers must be found, fighters wishing to lay down their guns must be confident there is a job for them to go to."
Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel also on Saturday urged his regional neighbors to increase aid to Afghanistan at a ministerial meeting of the Central Asian trading bloc, the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). In an opening address, Gurel called on the organization's 10 member countries to provide more assistance for reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, which has suffered "two decades of troubles."
The organization was established in 1985 by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan as a trilateral organization to boost regional economic development.
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and five Central Asian states joined ECO in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Foreign ministers from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Tajikstan are attending the two-day meeting in the lead-up to Monday's meeting of the organization's heads of states.
The organization is focusing on improving transportation links between their 10 member countries and is also working on the creation of a regional economic bank.
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