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Wrong decision to boycott the Bonn conference


The Bonn Conference on Afghanistan opens today, it comes 10 years after an International Conference on Afghanistan, Bonn (2001), which was resulted in the adoption of the Document of the Bonn Conference , weeks after the Taliban fell from power. The focus is squarely on security, reconciliation and long term help for Afghanistan.

After the Pakistan decision to boycott the conference, now it won’t be able to directly interact with international community and put it’s message across in a moot where about 100 countries and international organizations will be represented to discuss Afghanistan’s future beyond 2014, with some 60 foreign ministers in attendance, among them U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but our policy makers civilian and non civilian have opted to stay out of a international forum completely. So we missed the bus again.

The important question is how this decision will help us? Simply it is a great mistake for Pakistan to isolate itself entirely from the whole world and thus weaken it’s position in the region. Our civilian and especially non civilian strategists made a great mistake in not joining the conference. It would have been good for the entire region. Lamentably we have chosen isolation over interaction.

My point of view: Instead of boycotting the 2nd Bonn conference in Germany we should have taken it as an opportunity to present our point of view and explain how we view end game i.e what kind of region viz a viz Afghanistan, an overall future scenario, a broadly-shared vision, an ideal picture of south Asia & Central Asia region, exactly, do Pakistani strategists want?

Not only we missed a big opportunity to engage with international community and explain our differences with endgame, but once again we failed to represent Pakhtuns, who have been and are to be ultimate sufferers if the state can’t present their case rightly. The PPP-Sherpao and the ANP are the parliamentary parties from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have showed reservation on the decision to boycott the Conference. Mostly countries and foreign press is viewing Pakistan as Taliban representative, so we would have dispelled this notion by representing Pakhtuns rightly & by presenting a broader peace, security and trade based agenda.

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, who had to spend 18 hours in a bunker to keep himself alive during September 13 raid on the American Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul—in which Haqqani insurgents besieged the compound with guns and rocket-propelled grenades, killing at least 16 people—said on Saturday it will be Pakistan’s loss if its government boycotts the upcoming international conference on Afghanistan’s future scheduled to start Monday in Bonn, Germany.

During an interview with VOA’s Afghan service, Ryan Crocker said that Islamabad’s absence from the conference will be “unfortunate.” But it cannot derail Afghan progress.

“Frankly, it will be their loss if they are not there, Crocker said. “It isn’t going to change the outcome of the conference.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has termed as “regrettable” decision to boycott the conference :

“Pakistan is one of the key countries in the region who can help peace and stability in Afghanistan and thus it would have been much better if Pakistan was present in the conference. I feel it regrettable that Pakistan has decided not to come,”

Germany calls Pakistan’s pull-out a “setback” for the meticulously planned conference. But organisers say they are confident Islamabad will also see itself as committed to the principles laid out in the meeting’s final declarations.

“We believe it is very much in Pakistan’s interest to attend the Bonn conference because the focus of that is all about trying to build a more stable and peaceful Afghanistan,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

The Express Tribune’s editorial, “An angry good bye to Bonn” describes the decision as an emotional rather than rational:

The national consensus in Pakistan is emotional rather than rational because the military, which is endorsed in its stance by this consensus, has not encouraged the political players to plan an appropriate strategy after the Mohmand attack. As its details came to light, Pakistan was expected to gain the moral high ground at Bonn and stood a better chance of pushing through its own proposals on post-withdrawal Afghanistan, and that is why attending it would have been a better option. The Americans might have been pressured after that to render to Pakistan the apology it needs to assuage its rage.

The West, which was supposed to contribute financially to post-withdrawal Afghanistan’s security and economic development, is today mired in its own economic crisis of historic proportions. The conference will probably end up exhorting the ‘concerned nations’ and Afghanistan’s neighbours to do their best to bring durable peace to Afghanistan on the basis of a peace process involving all Afghan factions. As for Pakistan, it is absenting itself because it is not sanguine about the conference’s outcome. However, the outcome it wants — which is mostly India-centric — has not found favour with the international community. Pakistan will have to face the outcome: it will have to continue to harbour important Afghan players, and the regional states led by India will go on looking at Pakistan as a troublemaker and will see to it that the Taliban don’t ‘conquer’ Afghanistan the way they did in 1996. Isolationism as an expression of anger at this point does not suit Pakistan.

"We regret the choice that they made because today's conference was an important milestone toward the kind of security and stability that is important for Pakistan as well as for Afghanistan," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

The world has high expectations of the conference at Bonn. But our voice will remain unheard at that international forum, given that our neighbour India goes into the event with the tag of being the only countrywith which Afghanistan has signed a security pact. While other neighbor countries including Russia appear to broadly support India’s interests.

The appeasement of right-wing lobby is just cultivating more and more isolation for us, furthermore, this policy is hurting our economic interests with shrinking space in the region.

The path we have chosen for ourselves & the region, which may be based on the popular opinion influenced by right wing scholars and leaders or by irresponsible media anchors, but it will certainly not be good for a country, which is continuously moving towards destabilization, religious extremism and isolation.

To overcome this potential negative decision & other ill-conceived policies in the past, we must try to understand the modern liberal democratic world and it’s priorities & universal ethical values and try to align ourselves with the global political democratic realities & trade oriented free market system.

Syeda Abida Hussain is the voice of sane reasoning yet again:

Videos:

CNN-IBN’s report on the Bonn Conference:

At Bonn conference, UN pledges support to help Afghans achieve peace and development:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks on Afghanistan:

The international community has pledged its support for Afghanistan until at least 2024. Delegates at the 2011 Bonn conference promised not to leave the country in the lurch after the withdrawal of NATO troops.

About the author

Junaid Qaiser

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  • Pakistan’s ISI has been supporting Al-Qaeda, talibans and global terrorism, so in this condition Pakistan could not sit with peace loving nations of the world. Hence Pakistan opted boycott rather than to participate.

  • MC GIRALD , iam surprised at your idiotic comment about peace loving shyt. The Nato and the americanos are not peace loving they are oil loving nations . these are the nations who ve caused ultimate havoc in the middle east and in asia .They ve killed innocent kids , raped women , and bomned innocents’ houses . Huh peace loving,

  • The world will see in near future Muslims will rule as they ruled in the past , but they wont treat u guys like u do to us . We are Gods nation . And God hates killings . the world will see , mark my words .

  • Very sensible article and I am glad that LUBP is still giving space to the voice of reason. Thank you Junaid for saying it as it is.

  • “A senior official in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led government said on the condition of anonymity that the security decisions are made by the army leadership, but when it comes to problems with the United States or the international community, the civilian government tends to be pushed out in front, forcing the government — and not the army — to bear the brunt of public protest against the United States and its allies.”

    Calling Pakistan’s boycott bluff

    Pakistan’s knee-jerk reaction to the fatal NATO airstrikes in Mohmand that resulted in the killing of 24 (some accounts suggest 26) soldiers is being seen in Pakistani government and diplomatic circles, behind the scenes, as a face-saving bluff on the part of the country’s security establishment. This “bluff” allows the military to dictate its terms to the United States while maintaining the appearance of a strong stance against the Americans by avoiding the Bonn conference on Afghanistan set to open Monday.

    Apart from the early days of the anti-terror war in the aftermath of the 9/11, Pakistan and the United States have never been completely on the same page in their fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants and restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan. Despite being allies in fighting al-Qaeda-linked militants, the two uneasy bed fellows never miss a chance to let the other down and squeeze the other, especially as their interests have increasingly clashed in neighboring Afghanistan.

    Indeed, the United States has pushed for action against the Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura Taliban and demanded cooperation in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan, while no one has paid heed to even some of the genuine demands and reservations of the Pakistani state with regards to Afghanistan, be they concern over Pashtun nationalism or India’s role across the Durand Line.

    The November 26 incident, though tragic, has provided an opportunity for Pakistan’s army to muzzle the chattering mouths accusing them of willful neglect in missing bin Laden’s presence in the garrison town of Abbottabad and pursuing a double game in fighting some militants in the tribal region of the country while giving others safe haven. The incident has proved ideal in averting international pressure and restoring, to some extent, the army’s image at home, allowing them to line up the Pakistani masses, whose anti-Americanism is well known, in the name of patriotism.

    The government’s decision to boycott Monday’s Bonn conference in Germany, as well as the halting of NATO supply convoys and the eviction of American personnel from the Shamsi Airbase have served this purpose quite well.

    A senior official in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led government said on the condition of anonymity that the security decisions are made by the army leadership, but when it comes to problems with the United States or the international community, the civilian government tends to be pushed out in front, forcing the government — and not the army — to bear the brunt of public protest against the United States and its allies.

    The same time, the official said, it is the military leadership and not the civilian government that has a major say in key decisions like the Shamsi Airbase or the silent approval or public disapproval of drone strikes. His comments carry some weight, as a senior Pakistan military officer briefing journalists on the Mohmand attack said, “the rules of engagement have to be formulated by the [civilian] government” when asked about why the Pakistan Air Force did not respond while the attack in Mohmand continued for four hours. However, reports last week indicated that Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had changed the rules to allow Pakistani forces to respond to incursions into Pakistani territory without seeking approval.

    The Shamsi airbase decision and the border closing are changes that make for catchy headlines in the Pakistani Urdu media, easy choices that appeal to the patriotism of common Pakistanis attracted to every slogan that goes against the United States.

    As for the third decision — to boycott the Bonn Conference — a number of key Pakistani politicians and analysts are of the view that Pakistan had nothing to offer at the summit being held to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

    When discussing the three major decisions following the November 26 incident, female parliamentarian Bushra Gohar says Pakistan’s foreign and security policies are always controlled by the army command. “Why did they [the army] did not show such reaction following the May 2 raid in Abbottabad?” she asked.

    In comments to this author, Gohar said some matters have been given undue importance, and it seems that Pakistan is at war with its own self. By this, she was referring to the widening gap between the army and the civilian government where the former is controlling the key policies but shifting the responsibility to the civilian authorities.

    Amidst the furor from jingoistic television anchors and panelists of the private television channels in Pakistan, some others raise a genuine question as why the single incident in Mohmand forced the Pakistani policy makers to a point of almost no return despite the fact that over 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed in incidents of terrorism and military operations in the past 10 years.

    The answer is simple: Facing humiliation both at home and on the international scene following the May 2 incident, the November 26 raid has provided an opportunity to the Pakistani security establishment to dictate its terms to the U.S. and NATO, who are struggling hard to get out of Afghanistan by announcing victory.

    To stage a comeback in the anti-terror alliance and become part of the peace efforts in Afghanistan once again, Pakistan is already working on a list of its future requirements as part of its relationship with the United States, said one government official.

    Some of the key demands are likely to be placed on the table by the Pakistani side before re-entering the partnership, including a written agreement with the United States on Pakistan’s cooperation in the war against militancy, an end to drone strikes (which have been the most lethal weapon against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants) and a bigger say for Pakistan and the pro-Pakistan Haqqani Network in any future set-up in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan is also asking for guarantees that attacks like the one on November 26 would not recur, and that India’s role in Afghanistan be restricted. All of those have long been the key demands and concerns of Pakistan, but the country was not in a position to explicitly push for them because of the widespread suspicions about its duplicitous role in the fight against terrorism.

    However, the November 26 raid has presented itself as an opportunity for Pakistan to press for its demands and concerns before re-joining the United States’ 10-year-old counterterrorism alliance.

    Daud Khattak is a journalist currently working for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Pashto-language station Radio Mashaal.

    http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/04/calling_pakistans_boycott_bluff#.Ttzhd8Aw6mI.facebook

  • Pakistan, Iran bear ‘burden’ of Afghan refugees: Bonn

    BONN: Afghanistan pledged at a major conference in Germany on Monday to step up the fight against corruption in return for sustained international support.

    “Afghan government institutions at all levels should increase their responsiveness to the civil and economic needs of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them,” Afghanistan and its international partners said in a communique after the Bonn meeting.

    “In this context, the protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all its forms remain key priorities.”

    Afghanistan was again named one of the world’s most corrupt nations in a global survey published this month by Berlin-based anti-graft watchdog Transparency International.

    Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told reporters as the conference wrapped up that the central government in Kabul had a commitment to its people, not just international donors and troop suppliers.

    “Fighting against corruption, good governance, that is something that Afghan people deserve to be given by the elected government,” he said.

    “Good governance is not only to make our friends happy — it is our democratic duty to give it to our own people.”

    The conclusions said that, in exchange for good governance, the international community was ready to stand by Afghanistan in the 10 years after NATO combat troops withdraw in 2014.

    “This renewed partnership between Afghanistan and the international community entails firm mutual commitments in the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and regional cooperation.”

    Both sides “solemnly dedicated themselves to deepening and broadening their historic partnership from Transition to the Transformation Decade of 2015-2024”.

    “In 2024 Afghanistan should not be a country in need of donors but also a donor country,” Rassoul said.

    The one-day conference, which brought together 1,000 delegates from around the world, made special note of the strain on neighbours Pakistan and Iran in dealing with refugees from the war-ravaged country.

    “We acknowledge the burden of Afghanistan’s neighbours, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghans in difficult times and are committed to further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return,” the conclusions said.

    Islamabad had boycotted the conference over a NATO air strike late last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, raising fears that the Bonn meeting would make little headway on issues crucial to Afghanistan.

    In the final communique, Afghanistan recommitted to “upholding all of its international human rights obligations” including the rights of women.

    Participants said they maintained the goal, first agreed at another major conference here in 2001 that established an interim government after the fall of the Taliban, that Afghanistan should never again harbour terrorists.

    “Our shared goal remains an Afghanistan that is a peaceful and promising home for all Afghans, at the centre of a secure and thriving region — an Afghanistan in which international terrorism does not again find sanctuary and that can assume its rightful place among sovereign nations,” they said. (AFP)

  • Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that boycotting the Bonn conference is the most sensitive and difficult decision taken by the government.

    He also claimed that the decision “was not taken by the Prime Minister.”

    So it’s clear that it was a decision taken by the Dangerous Daffers residing in Pindi and Aabpara.

  • The official closing communique of the International Conference on Afghanistan held today in Bonn has been issued. It states:

    The International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn
    5 December 2011
    Afghanistan and the International Community:
    From Transition to the Transformation Decade
    CONFERENCE CONCLUSIONS
    1. We, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the International Community, met today in Bonn
    to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2001 Bonn Conference, which laid the foundation of the
    ongoing partnership between Afghanistan and the International Community, and to renew
    our mutual commitment to a stable, democratic and prosperous future for the Afghan people.
    We honour all those, from Afghanistan and abroad, who have lost their lives for this noble
    cause. Afghanistan expressed its sincere gratitude for the steadfast commitment, solidarity
    and the immense sacrifices of its international partners.
    2. Afghanistan and the International Community expressed deep appreciation to the Federal
    Republic of Germany for hosting this Conference. Germany is a longstanding friend of
    Afghanistan and, in particular over the past ten years, alongside other members of the
    International Community, has been a steadfast partner in Afghanistan’s stabilization and
    development.
    3. Ten years ago today at the Petersberg, Afghanistan charted a new path towards a sovereign,
    peaceful, prosperous and democratic future, and the International Community accepted the
    responsibility to help Afghanistan along that path. Together we have achieved substantial
    progress over these ten years, more than in any other period in Afghanistan’s history. Never
    before have the Afghan people, and especially Afghan women, enjoyed comparable access to
    services, including education and health, or seen greater development of infrastructure
    across the country. Al Qaida has been disrupted, and Afghanistan’s national security
    institutions are increasingly able to assume responsibility for a secure and independent
    Afghanistan.
    4. However, our work is not yet done. Shortcomings must be addressed, achievements must be
    upheld. Our shared goal remains an Afghanistan that is a peaceful and promising home for all
    Afghans, at the centre of a secure and thriving region; an Afghanistan in which international
    terrorism does not again find sanctuary and that can assume its rightful place among
    sovereign nations.
    5. In today’s conference, chaired by Afghanistan, hosted by Germany and attended by 85
    countries and 15 International Organisations, the International Community and Afghanistan
    solemnly dedicated themselves to deepening and broadening their historic partnership from
    Transition to the Transformation Decade of 2015‐2024. Reaffirming our commitments as set
    out in the 2010 London Communiqué and the Kabul Process, this renewed partnership
    between Afghanistan and the International Community entails firm mutual commitments in
    the areas of governance, security, the peace process, economic and social development, and
    regional cooperation. 2
    GOVERNANCE
    6. Afghanistan reaffirms that the future of its political system will continue to reflect its
    pluralistic society and remain firmly founded on the Afghan Constitution. The Afghan people
    will continue to build a stable, democratic society, based on the rule of law, where the human
    rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, including the equality of men and women,
    are guaranteed under the Constitution. Afghanistan recommits to upholding all of its
    international human rights obligations. Acknowledging that on this path Afghanistan will
    have its own lessons to learn, the International Community fully endorses this vision and
    commits to supporting Afghanistan’s progress in that direction.
    7. We have taken note of statements by Afghan civil society organisations, including today’s
    statements by two of their delegates at this meeting. We all reaffirm that the human rights
    and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Afghan Constitution, including the rights of
    women and children, as well as a thriving and free civil society are key for Afghanistan’s
    future. Therefore, we underscore the further promotion of civil society participation,
    including both traditional civil society structures and modern manifestations of civic action,
    including the role of youth, in the country’s democratic processes.
    8. We recognise that building a democratic society above all entails enabling legitimate and
    effective civilian authority embodied in a democratically elected government and served by
    transparent and strong, functioning institutions. Despite significant achievements,
    Afghanistan needs to continue its work to strengthen state institutions and improve
    governance throughout the country, including through reforming the civil service and
    strengthening the linkage between justice reform and development of its security
    institutions, including an effective civilian police force. Strengthening and improving
    Afghanistan’s electoral process will be a key step forward in the country’s democratization.
    Afghan government institutions at all levels should increase their responsiveness to the civil
    and economic needs of the Afghan people and deliver key services to them. In this context,
    the protection of civilians, strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in all
    its forms remain key priorities. We will move this agenda forward, in accordance with our
    commitments under the Kabul Process in line with the principle of mutual accountability.
    9. Consistent with Transition, we reaffirm that the role of international actors will evolve
    further from direct service delivery to support and capacity‐building for Afghan institutions,
    enabling the Government of Afghanistan to exercise its sovereign authority in all its
    functions. This process includes the phasing out of all Provincial Reconstruction Teams, as
    well as the dissolution of any structures duplicating the functions and authority of the
    Government of Afghanistan at the national and sub‐national levels.
    10. We support the crucial role of the United Nations in Afghanistan. We express our gratitude to
    the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Staffan de Mistura for his dedicated
    service, and welcome the Secretary General’s decision to appoint Jan Kubis as his new Special
    Representative for Afghanistan. We note that the UNAMA mandate is currently under review
    in line with the increased capacity and ownership exercised by the Government of
    Afghanistan and consistent with the process of Transition that entails the assumption of
    leadership responsibility by the Afghan Government. We also take note with appreciation of
    the close collaboration of the International Contact Group with the Afghan Government and
    their work, and encourage them to continue their joint efforts.3
    SECURITY
    11. We welcome the determination of the Afghan people to combat terrorism and extremism and
    take responsibility for their own security and for protecting their homeland. We share
    Afghanistan’s vision for its national security forces to be built to modern standards and
    adequate capacity, so that they can effectively and independently defend Afghanistan.
    12. We welcome the successful start of the Transition process. Afghan authorities are assuming
    full security responsibility for their country and will complete this process by the end of
    2014. Correspondingly, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), authorized by the
    UN Security Council, has begun a gradual, responsible draw‐down to be completed by that
    time. With the conclusion of the Transition process, our common responsibility for
    Afghanistan’s future does not come to a close. The International Community, therefore,
    commits to remain strongly engaged in support of Afghanistan beyond 2014.
    13. We underscore that the international support for sustainable Afghan National Security
    Forces (ANSF) needs to continue after 2014. In assistance to the ANSF, the International
    Community strongly commits to support their training and equipping, financing and
    development of capabilities beyond the end of the Transition period. It declares its intent to
    continue to assist in their financing, with the understanding that over the coming years this
    share will gradually be reduced, in a manner commensurate with Afghanistan’s needs and its
    increasing domestic revenue generation capacity. In this context, we look forward to define a
    clear vision and appropriately funded plan for the ANSF, which should be developed before
    the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012.
    14. We recognise that the main threat to Afghanistan’s security and stability is terrorism, and
    that this threat also endangers regional and global peace and security. In this regard, we
    recognise the regional dimensions of terrorism and extremism, including terrorist safe
    havens, and emphasise the need for sincere and result‐oriented regional cooperation
    towards a region free from terrorism in order to secure Afghanistan and safeguard our
    common security against the terrorist threat. We reiterate our common determination to
    never allow Afghanistan to once again become a haven for international terrorism.
    15. The production, trafficking and consumption of narcotics equally pose a grave threat to
    Afghanistan’s security and the growth of a legitimate economy as well as to international
    peace and stability. Recognizing their shared responsibility, Afghanistan and the
    International Community reiterate their determination to counter, in a comprehensive
    manner, including by crop eradication, interdiction and promoting alternative agriculture,
    the menace of illicit drugs, including drug precursors, which causes widespread harm and
    suffering. We recognise that the narcotics problem is a global challenge which also requires
    tackling the demand side.
    PEACE PROCESS
    16. We stress the need for a political solution in order to achieve peace and security in
    Afghanistan. To ensure enduring stability, in addition to building up Afghanistan’s capacity to
    defend itself, a political process is necessary, of which negotiation and reconciliation are
    essential elements. In addition, the process of reintegration will pave the way for post‐
    conflict rehabilitation of Afghan society through improvement of security, community
    development and local governance. 4
    17. We condemn in the strongest terms the assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani,
    former President of Afghanistan and Chairman of the High Peace Council. The International
    Community welcomes and supports the undeterred peace efforts of the Afghan Government,
    particularly through the High Peace Council and the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration
    Programme. We also take note of the recommendations of the consultative Traditional Loya
    Jirga of 16‐19 November 2011, which provided a new impetus to the peace process.
    18. Mindful of the relevant UN resolutions, the International Community concurs with
    Afghanistan that the peace and reconciliation process and its outcome must be based on the
    following principles:
    (a) The process leading to reconciliation must be
     truly Afghan‐led and Afghan‐owned; as well as
     inclusive, representing the legitimate interests of all the people of Afghanistan,
    regardless of gender or social status.
    (b)Reconciliation must contain
     the reaffirmation of a sovereign, stable and united Afghanistan;
     the renunciation of violence;
     the breaking of ties to international terrorism;
     respect for the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, notably the
    rights of women.
    (c) The region must respect and support the peace process and its outcome.
    An outcome of the peace process respecting the above principles will receive the full support
    of the International Community.
    ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
    19. The International Community shares Afghanistan’s aim of achieving self‐reliance and
    prosperity through developing its human and resource potential on its path towards
    sustainable and equitable growth and improved standards of living, and welcomes the
    Afghan Government’s economic Transition strategy as elaborated in the document Towards a
    Self‐Sustaining Afghanistan. Shifting the strategy from stabilisation to long‐term development
    cooperation, the International Community will continue to support Afghanistan, including in
    the areas of rule of law, public administration, education, health, agriculture, energy,
    infrastructure development and job creation, in line with the Afghan Government’s priorities
    as specified in the National Priority Programmes framework under the Kabul Process.
    20. As the Afghan government sets priorities, embraces reform and meets its Kabul
    commitments, including strengthening transparent and accountable public financial
    management systems and improving budget execution capacity, its partners recommit to
    meeting the minimum targets set in London and Kabul for aligning international assistance
    with Afghanistan’s priorities and channeling a growing share of development aid through the
    government budget. We welcome the Government of Japan’s intention to host a ministerial
    conference in July 2012 in Tokyo, which will address, in addition to the coordination of
    international economic assistance through the Transition period, Afghanistan’s strategy for
    sustainable development, including aid effectiveness and regional economic cooperation.
    21. As Transition gathers momentum, we recognise the economic risks identified by the World
    Bank and the International Monetary Fund, including the economic impact tied to the
    reduction of the international military presence. We intend to mitigate this effect, including
    by increasing aid effectiveness, consistent with the Kabul Process. The International 5
    Community shares Afghanistan’s concern that a strategy to address the near‐term effects of
    Transition must also facilitate the goal of attaining a sustainable market economy in line with
    the social needs of the population.
    22. The intensive international effort in Afghanistan over the last decade represents a unique
    engagement. The International Community’s commitment, both to Afghanistan and to its role
    in international security, lasts beyond Transition. Transition will reduce the international
    presence and the financial requirements associated with it. We recognize that the
    Government of Afghanistan will have special, significant and continuing fiscal requirements
    that cannot be met by domestic revenues in the years following Transition. Therefore, during
    the Transformation Decade, the International Community commits to directing financial
    support, consistent with the Kabul Process, towards Afghanistan’s economic development
    and security‐related costs, helping Afghanistan address its continuing budget shortfall to
    secure the gains of the last decade, make Transition irreversible, and become self‐sustaining.
    23. Afghanistan’s long‐term economic growth will, above all, depend on the development of its
    productive sectors, notably agriculture and mining. The International Community commits to
    supporting the development of an export‐oriented agriculture‐based economy, which is
    crucial for Afghanistan to achieve food security, poverty reduction, widespread farm‐based
    job creation, and expanding the Government’s revenue generation capacity. Concerning
    mining, we welcome the growing interest of international investors in Afghanistan’s mineral
    wealth but emphasise the need for a regulatory framework to guarantee that this mineral
    wealth directly benefits the Afghan people. The International Community supports
    Afghanistan’s efforts to develop a transparent and accountable regulatory regime, consistent
    with international best practices, for collecting and managing public resources and
    preserving the environment.
    24. We recognise that a vibrant, private sector‐led economy in Afghanistan will require the
    development of a competitive service industry and a stable financial system, and achieving
    regional integration through expanding Afghanistan’s trade and transit networks, as well as
    its regional connectivity. The International Community commits to support Afghanistan’s
    efforts to put in place and enhance the infrastructure and the relevant regulatory
    frameworks for the development of trade and transit.
    25. We emphasize that attracting private investment, including from international sources, are
    key priorities for activating Afghanistan’s economic potential. The Afghan Government
    commits to improving conditions conducive to international investments, inter alia, by
    implementing the recommendations of the EUROMINES International Investors Forum in
    Brussels on 26 October 2011.
    REGIONAL COOPERATION
    26. We believe that a stable and prosperous Afghanistan can only be envisioned in a stable and
    prosperous region. For the entire region, the rewards of peace and cooperation outweigh
    those of rivalry and isolation by far. We endorse Afghanistan’s vision for building strong,
    sustainable bilateral and multilateral relationships with its near and extended neighbours.
    Such relationships should end external interference, reinforce the principles of good‐
    neighbourly relations, non‐interference and sovereignty, and further Afghanistan’s economic
    integration into the region.
    27. We welcome the outcome of the “Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan: Security and
    Cooperation in the Heart of Asia” of 2 November 2011. In particular, we take note of the 6
    principles concerning territorial integrity, sovereignty, non‐intervention and the peaceful
    settlement of disputes contained in the Istanbul Process, which we support as a valuable step
    towards building greater confidence and cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ region. We call for
    strict adherence by Afghanistan and its regional partners to these principles, and look
    forward to the follow‐up Ministerial Conference in June 2012 in Kabul.
    28. With a view to the long‐term prospects for Afghanistan’s development, we share
    Afghanistan’s vision of a well‐connected, economically integrated region, where Afghanistan
    can serve as a land‐bridge connecting South Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia and the Middle East.
    We support enhanced trade connectivity along historical trade routes to utilize Afghanistan’s
    economic potential at the regional level. In this context, we recognize the importance of early
    implementation of sustainable projects to promote regional connectivity, such as the TAPI
    gas pipeline, CASA‐1000, railways and other projects. In this context, we look forward to the
    5th
    RECCA conference to be hosted by the Republic of Tajikistan in Dushanbe in March 2012.
    29. We acknowledge the burden of Afghanistan’s neighbours, in particular Pakistan and Iran, in
    providing temporary refuge to millions of Afghans in difficult times and are committed to
    further work towards their voluntary, safe and orderly return.
    THE WAY FORWARD
    30. With a view to the future, we underscore that the process of Transition, which is currently
    underway and is to be completed by the end of 2014, should be followed by a decade of
    Transformation, in which Afghanistan consolidates its sovereignty through strengthening a
    fully functioning, sustainable state in the service of its people. This Transformation Decade
    will see the emergence of a new paradigm of partnership between Afghanistan and the
    International Community, whereby a sovereign Afghanistan engages with the International
    Community to secure its own future and continues to be a positive factor for peace and
    stability in the region.
    31. At today’s meeting, Afghanistan laid out its vision of the future: a country that is a stable and
    functioning democracy, a strong and sustainable state in the service of its people, and a
    prospering economy. Embedded in a region that is conducive to prosperity and peace, and
    enjoying friendly relations with all of its near and extended neighbours, Afghanistan aspires
    to becoming a contributor to international peace and security.
    32. With a view to realizing the above vision, the International Community and Afghanistan make
    firm mutual commitments to continue to working together in a spirit of partnership.
    Afghanistan reiterates its commitment to continue to improve governance, while the
    International Community commits to an enduring engagement with Afghanistan through and
    beyond 2014.
    33. Today in Bonn, we solemnly declare a strategic consensus on deepening and broadening the
    partnership between Afghanistan and the International Community founded at the
    Petersberg ten years ago. Building on the shared achievements of the past ten years, and
    recognising that the security and well‐being of Afghanistan continue to affect the security of
    the entire region and beyond, Afghanistan and the International Community strongly commit
    to this renewed partnership for the Transformation Decade.