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Interview: More Investment Will Bring Security to Afghanistan

Council on Foreign Relations

Interviewee: Mahmoud Saikal, Former Deputy Foreign Minister, Senior Advisor on the Afghanistan National Development Strategy
Interviewer: Greg Bruno, Staff Writer

June 9, 2008

When Hamid Karzai greets donors in Paris on June 12, the Afghan president will officially unveil Afghanistan's first national development strategy. A focal point of the package is its price tag—$50 billion—a hefty sum for a country with a tenuous record managing its own redevelopment effort. But Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan's former deputy foreign minister and an adviser on the national strategy, says the international community must look past concerns about corruption and insecurity and invest in his country's future. "If we invest more in Afghanistan, chances are we will bring security," he says. "The two go hand in hand." Saikal says the national development strategy, two years in the making, will serve as Afghanistan's blueprint to guide itself from decades of war and conflict.

Let's start with a brief outline of the Afghan National Development Strategy. Help us understand what this document is and why it's needed.

The Afghanistan National Development Strategy [ANDS] is the immediate-term development strategy for Afghanistan. It also serves as a poverty reduction strategy paper which has been proposed to the World Bank and the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. It has been prepared by using the PRSP, or Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper methodology, which means that it had to have a poverty focus, sound macrofinance work, sector policies, a consultative process and so on. The ANDS is Afghanistan's overarching strategy for promoting growth, generating wealth, and reducing poverty and vulnerability in general.

Why is it needed?

In late 2001, when the Bonn Agreement [on the makeup of a post-Taliban government] was signed by various parties, it chalked out a political strategy for putting things together for the next few years.

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Copyright 2008 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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