Taliban could return, Karzai warns Bonn conference
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2d row L), Afghan President Hamid Karzai (1st row L), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2dR) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon (R) listen to a speech during the Afghanistan Conference
December 5th, 2011
05:46 PM ET

Taliban could return, Karzai warns Bonn conference

By CNN Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott

The Taliban could make a comeback and take over Afghanistan again, the country's President Hamid Karzai warned Monday at an international conference on Afghanistan's future.

"If we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before September 11, 2001," Karzai said.

There has been progress in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in the wake of the hijacked plane attacks on the United States, he said.

But, he warned, "Our shared goal of a stable, self-reliant Afghanistan is far from being achieved."

Karzai chaired the meeting in Bonn, Germany, aimed at discussing the state of affairs in Afghanistan and pushing for international contributions and support.

Pakistan did not take part.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said it was "regrettable" that Pakistan was not represented. "Pakistan told me this weekend that it wished to see this conference a success," he said.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul also expressed "regret" about Pakistan's decision, and said, "I'm sure that our friends in Pakistan would be happy to see an Afghanistan which is driving toward a peaceful, stable, and democratic country."

Pakistan said it boycotted the conference to send a message.

State-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit explained that Pakistan "wanted to assure the importance of its sovereignty."

Speaking to Pakistan TV, Basit cited recent NATO airstrikes on two posts near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The incident made it "impossible for Pakistan to take part" in the conference, the Associated Press of Pakistan report said.

Pakistan wants to see a peaceful Afghanistan, Basit added.

Bonn hosted a similar summit 10 years ago, after a U.S.-led war toppled the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

Karzai, at the meeting Monday, asked NATO to remain committed to Afghanistan after the pullout of foreign combat troops in 2014.

"Your continued solidarity, your commitment and support will be crucial so that we can consolidate our gains and continue to address the challenges that remain," he said.

"We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade," Karzai said. "We will need training for our own troops. We will need equipment for the army and police and help to set up state institutions."

Afghanistan also pledged to step up its fight against corruption.

Critics worldwide have assailed Karzai as being a part of the corruption in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representing the U.S. government at the conference, vowed that the United States is "prepared to stand with the Afghan people for the long haul."

"We have no illusions about the enormous obstacles that remain ahead in Afghanistan," Clinton said, according to prepared remarks.

She warned that the international community has "much to lose if the country again becomes a source of terrorism and instability."

Clinton expressed concern that Pakistan had not sent a representative to Bonn, saying it is "imperative" that all of Afghanistan's neighbors support the reconciliation process with the Taliban and other insurgents.

"We could, of course, have benefited from Pakistan's contribution to this conference," she said.

Clinton later added, "We expect Pakistan will be (a) partner going forward and we expect them to continue to play a constructive role."

She said the entire international community has responsibilities to shore up Afghanistan, including the Afghans themselves, who have "more work to do to strengthen their democratic institutions."

She acknowledged that this is a difficult time to be asking for more money for Afghanistan. "Many countries here in this hall understand that the international community faces new fiscal constraints," she said.

But she announced the United States will join other partners in resuming financial disbursements to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund, after suspending them when the International Monetary Fund halted its own programs over concerns about it. The fund is administered by the World Bank.

Iran, meanwhile, used the conference to speak out against troops from the United States and other Western nations keeping any kind of long-term military presence in Afghanistan.

"Certain Western countries seek to extend their military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 by maintaining their military bases there. We deem such an approach to be contradictory to efforts to sustain stability and security in Afghanistan," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

"We believe that any international or regional initiative to restore peace and security in Afghanistan could only be successful if they discard the presence of foreign military forces and especially ... the founding of foreign military bases in Afghanistan."

The original Bonn conference in 2001 consisted of U.N. representatives facilitating the meeting of a group of Afghan exiles and leaders.

But this time, members of 85 delegations from various countries and 15 international organizations joined Afghans in the discussions.

Their goal is to take stock of accomplishments over the past decade and assess continued challenges in Afghanistan, as well as to plot a partnership with the Kabul government amid plans to withdraw all foreign combat troops from the country by 2014.

In recent years, Afghanistan's economy has grown, albeit it at a slow rate.

The country has moved away from the repressive extremist rule of the Taliban and toward a more democratic political system in which Afghans vote for their leaders.

And the status of women - strictly controlled under the Taliban - has improved with a constitutional commitment guaranteeing equality. Three million girls are now in school.

Foreign Minister Rassoul, speaking to reporters at the end of the conference, said the Afghan government is "very satisfied with the outcome," and was glad to hear from other countries a "commitment of strong support and assistance" during a transformative decade ahead.

"The Bonn conference also has given us an opportunity to look back at our history-making achievement in the past decade," he said. "At no other point of our history have the Afghan people enjoyed better access to education and health care or seen expansion of the political right, including those of Afghan women.."

Clinton, who has pushed for women's rights worldwide for decades, also praised progress for women in the country.

"Women and civil society have achieved considerable progress over the last 10 years, and we don't want anything that we agree to or do to undermine that progress or to turn the clock back on human rights for women and men," she said in prepared remarks.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Breann Theuret

    Good post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is truly the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thank you 🙂


    March 6, 2021 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  2. Christena Haggan


    March 4, 2021 at 11:20 am | Reply
  3. ClarkClurn

    b8fl1 i0ena 95j3

    March 1, 2021 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  4. Yelena Teroganesyan

    I and my buddies appeared to be reviewing the best secrets found on your web blog and then the sudden developed a terrible feeling I never expressed respect to the web blog owner for those techniques. All the men are already for this reason joyful to read through them and have now certainly been taking pleasure in them. Appreciation for being considerably kind as well as for obtaining variety of outstanding subjects millions of individuals are really wanting to learn about. Our own sincere apologies for not saying thanks to you sooner.


    January 28, 2021 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  5. Nedra Gorum

    Thanks for helping me to attain new thoughts about computer systems. I also contain the belief that one of the best ways to maintain your laptop in excellent condition is by using a hard plastic-type material case, as well as shell, that will fit over the top of the computer. A majority of these protective gear are usually model specific since they are manufactured to fit perfectly across the natural outer shell. You can buy these directly from the owner, or from third party sources if they are available for your notebook computer, however not all laptop can have a covering on the market. Again, thanks for your ideas.


    January 11, 2021 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  6. Oswaldo Kurkowski

    Simply wanna remark on few general things, The website design is perfect, the subject material is rattling superb. "To establish oneself in the world, one has to do all one can to appear established." by Francois de La Rochefoucauld.


    January 11, 2021 at 1:45 am | Reply
  7. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    I say we let them so we can bomb them as affordably and conveniently as we did in the beginning of the war.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  8. Raymond Babcock

    i can hear you for saying you would side with any one aginst america you ungreatful hipocrit we ned to drop you like a cheap suit

    December 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.