Keeping Karzai’s Feet to the Fire

On Tuesday, the Afghan government convened an international conference, bringing together more than 70 countries to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan. As in previous conferences, the Karzai government outlined an ambitious agenda to enhance aid coordination, reduce corruption, strengthen the justice system, support job creation and economic growth and more.

Unfortunately, most of these commitments are unlikely to reverse the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Even if they are implemented — far from guaranteed given unfulfilled promises in the past — most of the technical proposals made by the parties don’t address the key source of Afghanistan’s insecurity: its political crisis, which drives insurgent mobilization, contributes to declining support for the Afghan government, and lies at the root of Kabul’s failure to successfully implement past commitments. Increased aid coordination and more assistance for Afghan priorities will not change the deeply flawed political system, which relies on international aid and military support to survive on a narrowing base of Afghan public support.

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