Bonn summit a success, says US diplomat
WASHINGTON (PAN): A top Obama administration official on Friday said the recent Bonn conference was a success in which the international community committed itself to peace and security in Afghanistan.
“I think that the Bonn conference was a success. I hope that Afghans consider this as a success as well. It was successful because it laid out the vision for the international community's engagement and investment in Afghanistan after 2014,” the Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said.
“I think about this from Afghanistan perspective. If I was an Afghan, I was wondering what would be life like after 2014, would the international community still be interested in us. I think the answers to these questions came in Bonn,” Mark Grossman noted.
“If you allow me, I think, it is also important to take Istanbul and Bonn together. Istanbul conference, I think also a very important step forward. The neighbors and near neighbors of Afghanistan gave their vision of the future for a secure and stable Afghanistan. And then in Bonn the international community had an opportunity to support that vision. I think, taken together, I hope that the people of Afghanistan would consider that as a success,” Grossman said.
Identifying the 10 years after 2014 as a transformational decade for Afghanistan, Grossman said it would a time of investment and engagement by the international community. “But also that decade would be about Afghans taking responsibility for themselves. That’s what transition is about. That’s why I am interested in questions of private economy about Afghans. I think this transformational decade would be about international commitment and international engagement and it would be also about Afghans increasingly taking responsibility of their own society,” he said.
Grossman said the transformational decade would have several components. “First of all there would continue to be efforts to make sure that Afghanistan is a secure place. It is one of the reasons that we on the part of the United States of America are negotiating a strategic partnership document with Afghanistan. So security would continue to be an important part,” he said.
Funding of the Afghanistan national security forces, training of those forces, would be very important future efforts by the United States and the international community, he said adding that it is from the Bonn document that there is a commitment to the transformational decade, which is to say that people would continue to promote governance, economic growth and development in Afghanistan.
“That is what the transitional decade would be all about,” Grossman said.
“And third, I think, very important from the Bonn document is the very clear focus on the need to encourage private investment in Afghanistan. Because inevitably the official assistance level would go down; the military numbers would go down. That will happen between now and 2014. And, so one of the things that would have to be done to fill that gap is to have private investment in investment in Afghanistan. I thought, Bonn document spoke to those documents quite clearly as well,” said the top American diplomat.
Grossman said the US has great admiration for Germany, which hosted the Bonn conference. “We have great admiration for what the Germans did in Bonn. They had a plan which they executed throughout the whole year to bring all of the people together, 10 years after the original Bonn conference. I thought what they accomplished was great, because the document that they got in Bonn was a step forward and so we have great admiration for what they accomplished,” he said.
On the assassination of Prof Badruddin Rabbani, the top Afghan negotiator, who was killed in suicide attack in September, he said it did a grave damage to the reconciliation process.
“I tell you, whoever killed Professor Rabbani, knew what they were doing. They drove a wedge between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.
“They created a great set back to the peace process. It was an evil act, an act that had grave consequences,” Grossman said. However, he has no idea who were behind such an attack, he said.
“No. But I would say, whoever was behind it did great damage to Pakistan, to Afghanistan and to our efforts for Afghan-led reconciliation,” Grossman said when asked who were behind this attack.
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