Afghanistan: Beginning or End of Hope?

Afghanistan is at a turning point. The defeat of the Taliban in late 2001 was widely welcomed, but now there are signs of resurgence. The democracy project got a big boost from the successful presidential election last year but Afghans are anxious about the parliamentary poll they are about to take part in. With an economy dominated by the drugs trade and far too few trained professionals, there is a worrying lack of optimism.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Elizabeth Winter

Independent specialist on Afghanistan

Does the world still care about Afghanistan? The G8 foreign ministers, meeting in advance of their recent summit, acknowledged progress had been made but recognised the immense challenges ahead. They committed themselves to continuing to support ‘Afghanistan’s development effort, to achieve pro-poor growth ….. developing human and institutional capacity’. Afghanistan certainly needs long term commitment.

Parliamentary elections are planned for September 18, as the final stage of the peace process, begun at a 2001 conference in Bonn. But the security situation is deteriorating with a combination of criminality and insurgency that increasingly threatens those with resources and those seen to be supporting central government. Stability for ordinary Afghans is being undermined. This will discourage the investment the country needs if it is to reduce its aid dependency and make it impossible for those who want to help to do so.

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