Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

The NUG Leaders to Attend Geneva Conference on Afghanistan

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The NUG Leaders to Attend Geneva Conference  on Afghanistan

Yesterday, the national unity government (NUG) leaders left Kabul to attend the two-day Geneva Conference on Afghanistan 2018 on November 27-28 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the United Nations Headquarters in Europe. This meeting is held under the framework of Tokyo Mutual Accountability Conference in which the Afghan government will attend with good achievements,” Zubair Joyenda, deputy spokesman for MoFA. The Afghan government and the United Nations are to co-host the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday and the world is expected to renew its commitment and solidarity with the Afghan people and the Afghan government in their bid for peace and security. The conference would provide a platform for the Afghan government and international community to demonstrate progress and commitment, and maintain the momentum for presidential elections and opportunities for peace and security. However, there is no certain fresh financial commitment to be addressed.
President Ghani is to deliver a speech at the conference and meet with representatives of participating countries and international organizations on the sidelines of the conference, quoted the Presidential Palace in a statement.  Facing a war-weary condition at home, he is expected to press regional countries to support the peace process but he has so far been kept on the sidelines by the Taliban’s refusal to talk to his government, which they consider illegitimate. His own future will be decided by presidential elections due in April 2018 but organizational and political problems have already hampered the vote with authorities admitting they are considering a delay of three months.
Overall, the Afghan government is expected to brief the international community about its performance towards attracting aid, global support to fight terrorism, and support for the private sector and Afghanistan’s long-term economic stability. According to government officials, government is also expected to discuss Afghanistan’s strategy for becoming self-reliant and of covering its own national budget by 2024. Participants are expected to show commitment for the Afghan government to renew its commitment to development and reform.”If government plans for economic growth enhancement, then there is a hope for sustainable economic development and some steps also have been taken in this regard. And if the plans fail, we will not achieve self-reliance by 2034,” the local experts said.
According to government officials, government has met almost 60 percent of its commitments made to the international community and the rest of the commitments are currently being implemented. we have had at least 60 percent progress - we still have two more years for the completion- in mutually agreed upon indicators, which include expanding the private sector, increasing exports, reforming the security sector and making the Afghan government more gender inclusive, quoted Haroon Chakhansuri, spokesperson to the president. “The Afghan government will gain the support of the international community for sustainable growth in Afghanistan,” quoted from the finance ministry spokesman.  On the contrary to the official claims, the Afghanistan Transparency Watch (ATW), denies the achievements expressed by the government officials.  The ATW accept only 33% of achievements saying these are consists of some basic paperwork needed to be performed.
Some of the experts believe that much of the focus will be on side meetings where officials from Afghanistan and regional and Western countries will have a chance to assess the efforts of U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. While the U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration would actively seek the peace deals with the Taliban. Currently they have some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, serving in the NATO-led Resolute Support training and advisory mission as well as in separate counter-terrorism operations against militant groups like Islamic State.
On the other hand, The Taliban fighting to drive out international forces and establish their version of strict Islamic law and will not be attending but will be closely monitoring the talks. According to Taliban officials, the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is the only way for maintaining peace and security “We hope the international leaders accept our demands and put pressure on the U.S. to withdraw all foreign forces from Afghanistan,” quoted a Taliban member. “Otherwise the conference will hold little significance.”
Anyway, the conference aims to emphasize the importance and the implementation of mutual commitments made by the Afghan government and the international community towards reform and development and in measuring results against the $15.2 billion committed by the international community for Afghanistan in 2016.  The conference will also be an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the development and reform agenda and the need to advance it as a constructive contribution to peace and security. This particular conference will also be crucial in measuring results against the $15.2 billion committed by the international community for Afghanistan in 2016. The conference will be divided into thematic side events on 27 November, the main conference on 28 November, and other meetings taking place in the margins of the two days.
In 2011 at the Bonn conference on Afghanistan, the international community agreed on a Transformation Decade for the country. During this period, Afghanistan was promised very considerable amounts of international assistance so that the country could achieve self-reliance by 2024. At the Tokyo Conference in 2012 a system of high-level periodic reviews was put in place with ministerial meetings every two years and senior officials meeting in the intervening years. The ministerial conferences in 2012 in Tokyo and 2016 in Brussels became major pledging conferences obtaining over $16 billion and $15 billion respectively for the years that followed. The next major pledging conference is in 2020.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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