The world community should realize their moral
responsibility to rebuild the country
From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI
Jan-28 - Feb-03, 2002
The two-day International Conference on Afghan
reconstruction concluded in Tokyo last week with a total pledging of 4
billion US dollars against an estimated requirement of over $15
billion for the reconstruction of that war ravaged unfortunate country
over the next 10 years.
An amount of about $4 billion was committed for the
next 5 years by over a dozen countries including the European Union,
Japan, United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, China, Iran, World
Bank, ADB and Pakistan which committed to contribute $100 million
despite its meagre resources.
Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai issued an
emotional appeal for help to the delegates from 60 countries and donor
agencies. He also sought cancellation of the debts run up by
Afghanistan's previous regimes.
The commitment of funds made by the nations and
donor agencies for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of
Afghanistan at the Tokyo conference represents a deep sense of
humanitarian responsibility on their part towards the Afghan people,
who have long endured death and destruction as a result of over two
decades of foreign occupation, fratricidal war and Taliban's misrule.
Afghanistan is in ruins in the physical and infrastructure terms.
Earlier the acting Chief of the World Bank Mr. Abid
Hussan had told the newsmen that the multilateral lenders have
estimated that US$15 billion would be needed for the reconstruction of
war-hit Afghanistan over the next ten years. He said that "We
expect that there will be need of about US$60 million to 80 million
for primary education, $40 to 50 million for power sector, $90 to 100
million for health services, $100 to 140 million for building of
hospitals, $50 to 100 million for water supply projects and $25 to 50
million for irrigation system on immediate basis to reconstruct
Afghanistan." While addressing a one-day conference on the
prospects for Pakistan's trade and commerce in the reconstruction and
development of Afghanistan, organised by the Ministry of Commerce, he
said that the world community provided 30 dollars per capita to
Cambodia, 40 dollars to Lebanon, $70 to Mozambique and $60 to Rawanda
in reconstruction efforts and this experience will help a lot to
"Afghans will need around US$ 1 billion to 2
billion in a year which translates into $10 to 15 billion in next 10
years for provisions of putting in place basic infrastructure."
He also mentioned suggestions of recently-held Afghanistan
Reconstruction Conference of Islamabad and said that agriculture,
education and health would remain main areas of the all reconstruction
The pledges of financial assistance made at the
Tokyo conference will help make a beginning of gigantic task of
rebuilding a country from a scratch. The amounts pledged is too small
to rebuild Afghanistan which is virtually in ruins. The expectations
are high in keeping with size of the task that will need to be
undertaken to restore the basic infrastructure, but given the
reluctance of the coalition partners to keep their promises, it is
unlikely to be anywhere near the huge amounts bantered about. The
20-year was almost totally demolished all that was constructed over
the centuries, including some of the country's historic structures.
All that was history is not likely to be restored but much needs to be
done to rebuild the civil works that are essential. Besides there is a
monumental problem of resettlement of at least a third of the
population which has been displaced, including the millions that
continue to live in squalid conditions in neighbouring countries. They
would have to return home some day.
The world community specially the coalition partner
should realise their moral responsibility to help generously to
rebuild Afghanistan into a economically viable country. That alone can
guarantee that Afghanistan does not once again become the sanctuary of
terrorist and safe haven for maphia engaged in illegal activities.
All the more important is that what has been
pledged should be delivered immediately without any further loss of
time. Kabul has repeatedly complained of the failure of the coalition
partners to provide even a little of the sumptuous assistance they
have promised. With the government servants without pay for months and
no funds to meet emergency expenses the interim set-up is facing a