The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

26 June 2002

Armitage: Progress Made In Afghanistan, But More Needs To Be Done

(Says U.S. contributions to Afghanistan exceeded amount pledged) (1240)
Recent developments in Afghanistan indicate that progress has been
made in meeting humanitarian, political and security needs of Afghans,
but more work needs to be done, said Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage.
"It is no longer the country it was on September 11," said Armitage in
testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington
June 26.
Although progress has been made in meeting the humanitarian needs of
Afghans, the new Transitional Authority faces major challenges in the
process of reconstruction, said Armitage.
"The Afghan government predicts a $390 million budgetary shortfall
this year," Armitage said, adding that refugees "are returning at a
faster rate than expected."
"U.S. contributions to Afghanistan have already exceeded the $297
million pledged earlier this year in Tokyo," Armitage added. Official
American assistance to Afghanistan has exceeded the amount promised at
the Tokyo Donor's Conference and totals over $900 million for Fiscal
Years 2002 and 2003 combined, said Armitage.
In addition to providing humanitarian assistance, the United States,
in close coordination with the international community, is also
focusing on "fostering Afghanistan's internal governance."
According to Armitage, "Afghanistan has also made large strides in
opening up its politics and improving its governance."
Armitage noted that significant progress has been made in establishing
an inclusive political process. The Afghanistan Interim Authority
(AIA) followed by the Emergency Loya Jirga brought together "Afghans
from all ethnic groups, religions, and political persuasions to
discuss Afghanistan's future."
Armitage said that the AIA was successful in reopening schools,
reintegrating women and ethnic minorities into society, starting the
foundation for building national security institutions, establishing
judicial and human rights commissions, and initiating the
implementation of the ban on opium cultivation and harvesting.
Following is the text of Deputy Secretary Armitage's statement to the
Senate as prepared for delivery:
(begin text)
As Prepared for Delivery
Statement by the Deputy Secretary of State
Richard L. Armitage
To the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
June 26, 2002
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify before the
Committee on recent developments in Afghanistan. We have a good story
to tell. For hope is returning to Afghanistan. It is no longer the
country it was on September 11 -- a haven for terrorists, suffering
from tragic social decline and serious abuses of human rights,
especially women's rights.
There is still much work to be done but, as President Bush has
emphasized, the United States is committed to Afghanistan for the long
haul. We will continue to work closely with the international
community to help the Afghans help themselves in building a stable,
broadly representative Afghanistan that can never again be a haven for
terrorists.
Our focus in Afghanistan continues to be on conducting the war on
terrorism, putting in place security arrangements, fostering
Afghanistan's internal governance, and providing humanitarian and
development assistance.
Let me briefly review each in turn.
The war on terrorism is based on bringing the international
community's combined strengths to bear against terrorism in its many
manifestations throughout the world. In Afghanistan, Operation
Enduring Freedom is not over and will not be finished until the last
remnants of al-Qaida and the Taliban are flushed out and destroyed.
Still, we are already taking up the tasks that will ensure that
Afghanistan is never again a base for terrorism.
With respect to security arrangements, the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) is performing a very positive role by helping
provide security in and around Kabul -- through joint patrols with
local police; security for special events, such as the Loya Jirga; and
the rehabilitation and operation of Kabul International Airport. ISAF
includes some 5,000 troops from 19 countries, with Turkey having
recently taken the lead from the United Kingdom.
The backbone of Afghanistan's future security structure must be the
new Afghan National Army (ANA). The United States has taken the lead,
working closely with ISAF, the French, and other coalition partners,
in training and equipping troops for the ANA. Germany has the lead,
with U.S. and other international assistance, on developing a viable
police force.
Afghanistan has also made large strides in opening up its politics and
improving its governance. The Afghan Interim Authority (AIA), which
governed for the six months before the Loya Jirga, was a multi-ethnic,
broadly representative government that succeeded in establishing a
basis for a central government that will remain responsive to the will
of the Afghan people.
The AIA ably performed the role that the Bonn Agreement laid out for
it. It was responsible for many successes, such as reopening schools,
including schools that educate girls; putting in place the starting
points for building national security institutions; establishing
judicial and human rights commissions; reintegrating women and ethnic
minorities into society; and announcing and beginning to implement a
ban on opium cultivation and harvesting. We will continue to work with
the Afghan Transitional Administration to protect the rights of women
and encourage their effective participation in civic life.
Significant progress has also been made in creating an inclusive
political process that generates incentives for groups and individuals
to give up armed struggle for political goals. The Emergency Loya
Jirga began the process of healing the country's wounds by bringing
together Afghans from all ethnic groups, religions, and political
persuasions to discuss Afghanistan's future. It elected Chairman
Karzai to continue to lead Afghanistan for the next two years, the
cabinet has been selected, and steps have been taken toward creating a
National Assembly.
Nonetheless, the road ahead is long, as demonstrated by the sharp
political disputes at the Loya Jirga and continuing concerns about the
security of international assistance workers, particularly in northern
Afghanistan.
There has also been progress in meeting the humanitarian needs of
Afghans and beginning the process of reconstruction, but gaps remain.
The new Transitional Authority faces major challenges, beginning with
the need to fill the gap between needs and pledged resources. The
Afghan government predicts a $390 million budgetary shortfall this
year.
The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UNDP estimate
reconstruction needs of $1.7 billion over the next year, while
humanitarian and security assistance needs could raise this figure to
$2.9 billion. The long term costs of this project over the next five
years are going to be tremendous, perhaps as much as $10 billion.
Refugees are returning at a faster rate than expected more than one
million to date, with up to two million expected by the end of the
year. While this is a welcome sign of the return of normality, UN and
other agencies tasked with helping refugees and displaced persons are
facing potentially crippling funding shortfalls as the higher refugee
inflow has driven costs faster than predicted.
U.S. contributions to Afghanistan have already exceeded the $297
million pledged earlier this year in Tokyo. Appropriated funds for
Fiscal Year 2002, plus requested funds for FY 2003 and a $250 million
supplemental request currently before Congress, would boost official
American assistance to over $900 million for FYs 2002 and 2003
combined. This does not include funding for U.S. military operations.
Mr. Chairman, the United States, the Afghan people and the
international community have undertaken an enormous job, but one that
I believe is critical to our national goals and well worth the costs.
We must stay the course, and with your continued support, Mr.
Chairman, and that of this Committee, I am confident we will succeed.
Thank you.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list