Afghanistan after the Bonn Conference
The International Afghanistan Conference on 5 December 2011 in Bonn renewed Afghanistan's partnership with the international community and placed it on a solid foundation for the decade after 2014. One hundred countries and international organizations firmly committed themselves to mutual obligations for the future of Afghanistan.
Teilnehmer der Bonner Afghanistan-Konferenz
A decade of transformation, one of profound change, is to follow the transition phase that will end in 2014. In the transformation decade, Afghanistan will develop into a functioning, viable state in the service of its citizens. The Bonn Conference Conclusions, which were adopted by all 100 delegations in consensus, provide a foundation for the long‑term partnership between Afghanistan and the international community. Ten years after the first pioneering Bonn Conference in 2001, Germany has again played a central political role in efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and the region.
The Bonn Conference was a major diplomatic event. One hundred delegations – 85 countries and 15 international organizations – took part, 57 of them represented by their foreign ministers or leaders. It was the largest conference of foreign ministers that Germany has ever hosted. Opened by Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, it was presided over by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Germany was the host of the conference, Afghanistan its chair. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon held the other opening speeches. Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul chaired the debate.
The global community firmly supports Afghanistan
The central message of the Bonn Conference is that we will not abandon Afghanistan. Together we must protect what we have together achieved. All the effort and sacrifice will otherwise have been in vain. Therefore, international responsibility for Afghanistan will not end after these ten years of civil and military support. The government of Afghanistan will continue to work to push reforms forward and live up to its responsibilities to the Afghan people. The international community will continue to provide it with reliable support, even after the withdrawal of international combat forces by the end of 2014.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle opening the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn
© Jürgen Schwarz, photothek (Copyright)
The common goal for Afghanistan remains a stable democratic society based on the rule of law, in which human rights, including women’s and children’s rights, are guaranteed. Never again may any terrorist threat to the world emanate from this society. This requires future involvement focusing less on the military than on the civil and political fields. For in the end, the conflicts in Afghanistan can only be resolved politically. All Afghans must be able to find something to identify with politically in their country, including the Taliban, if they are willing to accept this responsibility.
The seven principles of Afghanistan's peace process
In Bonn, Afghanistan and the international community committed themselves to seven principles that are to make a peace possible, but did not commit to achieving peace at all costs. The international community will support a reconciliation that follows these principles:
The peace process must (1) be led by Afghans and (2) be inclusive, representing the legitimate interests of all the people of Afghanistan, regardless of gender or social status. The reconciliation must contain (3) the reaffirmation of a sovereign, stable and united Afghanistan, (4) the renunciation of violence, (5) the breaking of ties to international terrorism, and (6) respect for the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, notably the rights of women. Finally, (7) the region must respect and support the peace process and its outcome.
Progress has been made
Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai speaking at the International Afghanistan Conference on 5 December 2011
© Jürgen Schwarz, photothek (Copyright)
Much has already been achieved over the past ten years: the al‑Qaida terror network has been broken up, and the country is on the right path to ensuring security with its own forces. The 2001 Bonn Conference on Afghanistan paved the way for a peaceful and democratic future for Afghanistan.
There, the international community took on the responsibility of supporting Afghanistan on this path. It made great sacrifices and committed vast resources to this end. At the 2011 Bonn Conference, President Karzai thanked the international partners on behalf of the Afghan people and emphasized the tremendous progress that his country has been able to make over this period.
Much remains to be done
The government of Afghanistan has acknowledged that there are still deficiencies in some areas, for example in governance, and pledged to remedy them through staff training and fundamental reforms of the civil service. Fighting corruption at all levels of the civil service was in Bonn again confirmed as a political priority, as was the fight against the illegal narcotics industry.
Improving the securty situation
In terms of security issues, the Afghanistan Conference pointed to the relevant forums such as the NATO summit planned for May 2012 in Chicago. By then, a joint concept is to be developed outlining how Afghan security forces can organized, trained, equipped, and financed in the long term.
A soldier from the German ISAF contingent in Afghanistan
© dpa / picture alliance
As agreed, Afghanistan will assume responsibility for its security and thus come to fully exercise its sovereignty by the end oft the transition phase. This phase began successfully in 2011 – the security for almost half the Afghan people and a third of the country passing into the hands of the Afghans themselves. This phase will last until 2014.
At the end of 2014, the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan will have been ended in its current form and international combat troops will have left the country. International assistance will then concentrate even more on supporting and constructing state and civil institutions in Afghanistan, but, even after 2014, the international community will remain involved in improving security in the country, through training measures, for example.
Stimulating the economy
Afghanistan must develop its own viable economic prospects. The conference participants welcomed the Afghan government’s intention of becoming a regional trading hub by increasing cooperation and investing in infrastructure. The exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth is to play a special role in Afghanistan’s independent economic future.
- Conference Conclusions - International Afghanistan Conference Bonn 2011 PDF | 144 KB
Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the Afghanistan Conference in Bonn, 5 December 2011
- Afghanistan has a future
Last updated 27.12.2011