December 4, 2011

WE CAN ONLY AFFORD YOU SELF-DETERMINATION...:

What comes next: Afghanistan gets a rotten press in the West but the outlook is not all bad, particularly if the country's security forces, shown above, do what is hoped (The Economist, Dec 3rd 2011)

WHEN a bodyguard working for southern Afghanistan's most notorious power broker gunned down his boss in July, a medley of voices loudly declared the end was nigh for Kandahar. Ahmed Wali Karzai, head of Kandahar's provincial council and brother of Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, had long been accused of running a mafia-style criminal syndicate that excluded important tribes from influence, encouraging them to support the Taliban. Nonetheless, his death caused talk of a dangerous power vacuum. In fact, the city and province of Kandahar now look in better shape than they have for years. Roads in the province which were once laced with landmines, are far safer than they were and farmers from areas that were once war zones say they can drive their goods to market without fear.

Next week an international conference on the future of Afghanistan will be held in Bonn. It comes almost exactly a decade after the first, which was intended to launch one of the poorest countries in the world, torn apart by war for more than quarter of century, on a path towards stability, democracy and the rule of law. After numerous setbacks, the mood at next week's conference will be far less heady than it was ten years ago, just after al-Qaeda's Taliban hosts had been swept from power. But it will not be pessimistic. As the experience of Kandahar, once the centre of Taliban power, suggests, the news from Afghanistan is by no means all bad.

For a start, the fact that this conference is the first to be Afghan-led says something about the country's slowly growing capacity to organise (if not yet pay for) itself.

...the rest is up to you.

Posted by at December 4, 2011 5:30 AM
  

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