Secretary Clinton: Afghanistan Must Make Reforms

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 8:25 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is ready to support Afghanistan, but the South Asian nation must carry through on reforms, take responsibility for its own security, and build a democracy rooted in the rule of law.

Clinton spoke Monday in the German city of Bonn at a global conference on Afghanistan's future.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the conference that after the withdrawal of NATO troops from his country in 2014, Afghanistan would still need international help for at least another decade.

Mr. Karzai told the conference delegates Afghanistan does not want to remain a burden on the generosity of the international community. However, he said to make “our success certain and our progress irreversible,” the Afghan people need “your steadfast support” for another decade.

Delegates from more than 80 countries are in Bonn to focus on charting a course for war-torn Afghanistan after the 2014 withdrawal of international combat troops.

Pakistan, considered vital to any prospect of stability in Afghanistan, is boycotting the meeting in response to a cross-border attack by NATO late last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The talks getting under way in the former German capital are expected to address three key areas, including the transfer of security responsibilities from international to Afghan forces, reconciliation with the Taliban, and long-term prospects for international aid.

On the eve of the conference, Afghan President Karzai criticized Islamabad for its lack of help in achieving reconciliation. In an interview Sunday with the German weekly Der Spiegel, Mr. Karzai said that “until now Pakistanis have refused to help with talks with the Taliban leadership.”

The Afghan leader also warned that “if we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before September 11, 2001.”