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Letter to the Editor: Fixing Afghanistan

By M. Ashraf Haidari

Washington Times


In "Afghanistan strategies" (Commentary, April 6), Ronald E. Neumann correctly points out the fact that more new strategies and programs simply do not help fix the situation in Afghanistan. The international community needs to use and improve the existing Afghan strategy, while delivering the requisite resources to help the Afghan government implement urgent priorities and long-term projects. 

The Afghan people cite insecurity, weak governance, a poor economy and unemployment as the largest problems facing our country. In February 2006, the Afghan government responded by signing the Afghanistan Compact with the international community at the London Conference in England. The Compact's five-year benchmarks are supposed to help accelerate the process of reforming, equipping and paying the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police, while jump-starting the lagging judicial reform to improve overall security and governance at the district and village level throughout Afghanistan.

This June in the Paris Conference, the Afghan government will present our improved strategy--the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS)--which resembles the Marshall Plan in vision and scope. Any new strategy or plan should comply with the short- and long-term goals of the ANDS, which the international community needs to win the peace in Afghanistan.  Failure to do so will repeat more of the same--resulting in additional pet projects and ad hoc quick fixes without sustainability at all. Donors owe it to their tax payers to avoid wasting more of their relief and reconstruction money for Afghanistan. However, the Paris Conference gives the donors an opportunity both to pledge generously and to commit to channeling their aid resources through Afghanistan's national budget to ensure aid effectiveness.

M. Ashraf Haidari is the Political Counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington DC.

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