The promises and commitments that were made in Tokyo Conference by the international community seem to be more than expectations of the Afghan government. However, the conditions set for the continuation of the support are out of the capacity or attention of the Afghan government, as well. The Afghan society and even the government suffer from rising corruption and it would be really a Herculean task to control it. The compromises and the mistakes made by Afghan authorities regarding the growth of corruption in the country are proving to be very much lethal and they are now in a situation where they would have to take actions against themselves to control the graft. Now, the questions is, "Can they be determined and honest enough to take such actions?"
There is no doubt in the fact that Afghanistan would need support in the post-withdrawal scenario, as the country has not yet fully developed its security arrangements, economic infrastructures and the political and democratic institutions and processes. The countries participating in the Tokyo Conference fully reiterated this fact and they emphasized that the assistance should be continued for Afghanistan for almost a complete decade (2015-2024), which is being termed as Transformation Decade.
Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese Prime Minister, emphasized that Afghanistan would not be able to solve its domestic problems unless the support from the international community persisted even beyond 2014. He in his opening remarks in the Conference said, "Financial aid was a matter of mutual trust and bilateral commitments, and such an opportunity should be availed by all Afghans, including militants… There has been a lot of progress with regard to nation building in Afghanistan and the country has reached a stage where it is going to assume the security responsibility on its own…
We see many signs of peace and hope, so we can sow the flowers of reconstruction in Afghanistan." Stressing on the same the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said that a decade of sacrifices of cash and blood would be lost if Afghanistan did not receive continued international aid after the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014. He rightly mentioned that problems could resurface in Afghanistan if concrete efforts were not made to ensure good governance, social justice and respect for human rights. Commenting on the necessity of support during such a crucial time, he said "In Afghanistan, we are passing through a historical phase. The Afghans are taking responsibility for running their own affairs, but they need help from the international community,"
The other important countries also accentuated that Afghanistan would require sustainable and reliable support to face the growing challenges. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in this regard said that US would continue offering assistance to Afghanistan. She also mentioned that Obama administration would seek Congress's approval to sustain its annual funding to help Afghanistan until 2017. "It has to be measured whether people have jobs and economic opportunity and they believe the government is meeting their needs and the US funds will help build Afghanistan's economy," she added. Canadian authorities in the Conference also revealed that Canada would support Afghanistan until 2017 in certain ways.
Canadian Parliamentary Secretary for National Defense Chris Alexander, speaking on behalf of International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino said, "Canada has already contributed significantly to progress in Afghanistan, providing millions of children with access to education and assisting in the transfer of responsibility for security and governance to the Afghan government. However, we must continue working with the people of Afghanistan to build a better, brighter future for people in need… Today's announcement reaffirms Canada's commitment to enhancing the well-being, security, and long-term prosperity of the Afghan people."
The commitments of international community in Afghan society have been really very much important and worth appreciation. It is because of the same commitment that there has been an announcement of about $16 billion aid for Afghanistan for the next four years. This announcement is really generous keeping in view the expectations. The expectations were really very low as the trust on Afghan government's efforts to curb graft has been debilitating in the last few years. Most of the assistance funds have been misused and they have not been able to bring about any change within the lives of common Afghan people.
However, it is important to note that the announced aid has been conditional and almost all the countries involved in providing assistance have emphasized that the rampant corruption must be dealt with appropriately and Afghan government must lead from the front in this regard. Most of the countries linked their development assistance to the performance of the Afghan government on reforms in areas such as strengthening the rights of women and girls, reduction of endemic corruption and upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
The members of civil society groups that were present in the Conference also emphasized that there should be strict measures to deal with the issue of corruption. A spokesman for the Afghan civil society groups that were participating in the Conference, Hayatullah Hayat, said that they had told Hilary Clinton that a joint network of Afghan government, the international community and Afghan civil society be created to monitor foreign aid and pressurize the Kabul administration to restart the long-delayed transition of justice process aimed at bringing war criminals to justice.
Samira Hamidi, another civil society representative, said that most Afghans were unable to comprehend the magnitude of the peace process as they lack awareness. Therefore, if the Afghan government wanted to win public support, it should provide information to people about the reconciliation plan, complaining Afghan women had totally been ignored to have their say in securing peace.
NATO on Monday, July 09, 2012, also emphasized that Afghan authorities must make efforts to use the aid in the best possible manner so as to strengthen its economy and security. NATO senior civilian representative's spokesman Dominic Medley said "Access to justice, fight against corruption, efficient distribution of resources and improved delivery of services are needed if Afghanistan is to make the most of the opportunity from Tokyo and many conferences before. All those areas require work by the government of Afghanistan and by the donors." The factors mentioned by NATO are really of immense importance and on this occasion mere verbal insistence on them will not be useful. Both Afghan government and international community have to take practical measure to solve the issues and make a difference in Afghanistan.