Regional and International Support for Afghanistan

  • 16 December 2008

Afghanistan needs the support of its neighbors and the entire world to overcome the difficult and serious security and economic situation it is facing. This is the message of the Paris Conference on Afghanistan, which brought together Afghanistan's neighboring countries, the US, Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom, and of course the host country—France. The conference called for the consolidation of regional cooperation on Afghanistan, and concluded that its stability was key to the stability of its neighboring states.

Whereas Afghanistan needs greater international support at security, economic, social and humanitarian levels; it is in dire need of regional support from neighboring countries. In fact, events occurring within its territories would have an impact not only within its borders, but also in the neighborhood. Therefore, its stability is not merely crucial to its own interests but also to the broader interests of the region, especially with its geographic, ethnic and religious mix, which complicates the issues of extremism and violence within the region.

Afghanistan represents an important front in the war against terrorism and extremism in the Middle East and around the world. Victory in such a war would be seen as a regional and international triumph, and not just an Afghan success. However, defeat would have major international implications. Experience shows that the success of the forces of terrorism in imposing their ideology on a specific region gives them the motivation to spread their tentacles to other regions. Hence, these terror groups keep on moving from one region to the other, as part of its “attack and retreat” policy.

Afghanistan, as well as the entire world, is passing through a hard and critical phase in the war against terrorism and extremism. Indicators point to an escalation in violent incidents. Even, all the political and social progress made in the country in recent years is currently under threat. Therefore, it is high time that we act fast, and in a more efficient way, at both regional and international levels, in order to support Afghanistan, its people and leaders.

Afghanistan does not need security and military support only, but it also needs a comprehensive approach that deals with all the aspects of the Afghan issue, in order to address the roots of extremism. Terrorism should not be countered just in its most apparent manifestations, because extremist forces have taken several years to spread their ideology within the Afghan society. Yet, some positive indicators in the form of proposals and initiatives have been launched by militaries and politicians, directly concerned with the situation of Afghanistan. They have called for the adoption of a comprehensive approach for handling this situation, but it would be more important implement such measures in times to come.