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Afghanistan Needs a Strong Commitment
22 Afghanistan specialists and former State Department officials
The Hill

We the undersigned group of Afghanistan specialists and former government officials are today sending a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to support actively and provide the appropriate level of U.S. funding to implement the Afghanistan Compact, agreed to last week by the United States and over 60 countries and organizations at the London Conference on Afghanistan.

Much has been accomplished in Afghanistan since the Taliban and al Qaeda were overthrown by U.S.-led military forces following Sept. 11, but Afghanistan is still a nation at risk, and success in turning it into a functioning democracy and an economically viable state is not assured, with serious national-security implications for the United States.

The London conference provided the international community another opportunity to match its stated commitment to see Afghanistan rebuilt with the resources necessary to accomplish that task. Two previous donors conferences fell short, generating less than half of the $28 billion the Afghan government (and the World Bank) believes is required for rebuilding.

We welcome Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s announcement in London that President Bush will ask Congress for $1.1 billion in reconstruction aid for Afghanistan in next year’s budget but believe that Congress should consider a 50 percent increase in this amount (to $1.6 billion) and signal that this new level of aid represents the floor, not the ceiling, for the annual U.S. contributions to the international rebuilding effort in Afghanistan over the five years envisioned by the compact.

The Afghanistan Compact is the latest manifestation of the international community’s commitment to helping that country overcome decades of war and destruction and never again become a haven for terrorists. But the security, governance, development and counternarcotics goals contained in the compact will not be achieved without the active engagement of the United States Congress. In the bipartisan spirit that has characterized U.S. policy toward Afghanistan since Sept. 11, we are now calling on House and Senate leaders and their colleagues to provide their support to the fullest possible extent.

The signatories: Dr. Walter Andersen, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, former State Department senior analyst for South Asia; Dr. Thomas Barfield, department of anthropology, Boston University; John S. Blackton, former mission director, U.S. Agency for International Development, Afghanistan; Dr. Stephen Philip Cohen, the Brookings Institution, former member, State Department policy planning staff; Stephen F. Dachi, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, retired Foreign Service officer; Ambassador James Dobbins, former special envoy to Afghanistan; Dean Thomas Gouttierre, international studies and programs, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Selig S. Harrison, Center for International Policy, co-author of Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal (1995); Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, Elliott School of International Affairs, former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs; David Isby, Committee for a Free Afghanistan; Dr. Elie D. Krakowski, American Foreign Policy Council and School of Advanced International Studies; Ambassador Dennis Kux, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former State Department South Asia specialist; Ambassador William Milam, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former ambassador to Pakistan; Ambassador Robert Oakley, Institute for National Security Studies, National Defense University, former ambassador to Pakistan; Dr. Barnett R. Rubin, Center on International Cooperation, New York University; Ambassador Howard B. Schaffer, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, former U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh; Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, South Asia program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, former director, U.S. Foreign Service Institute; Ambassador Grant Smith, former ambassador to Tajikistan; Dr. S. Frederick Starr, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, School of Advanced International Studies; Alex Their, U.S. Institute of Peace, former legal adviser to Afghanistan’s constitutional and legal commissions; Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum, Middle East Institute, former State Department senior analyst for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Dr. Larry P. Doogson, Army War College.
Affiliations are listed solely for identification.


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