Paet Underlines 'Civilian Component' in Stabilizing Afghanistan

Streets of Kabul Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
12/5/2011 3:10 PM
Category: Politics

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the international community confirmed its dedication to building up Afghanistan in Bonn today, where 60 foreign ministers and 17 international organizations met to discuss the country's future after 2014.

Paet, who is participating in the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn, said the goal of the international community is for Afghanistan to never again be a source of international terrorism.

“In order to achieve this we must focus on three areas: helping the Afghans develop their own international security forces, aiding [them] to build up a nation that functions in the interests of its citizens, and supporting endeavors to shape a political process that involves everyone,” Paet said.

“In addition to the contribution of the international community, it must become apparent that Afghanistan itself is fulfilling the obligations it has accepted and is including all groups of society in the building up of the nation. Without the trust of the local people, all this effort will not yield results,” he said.

According to Paet, increasing the stability of Afghanistan has a direct bearing on Pakistan, which in turn helps to inhibit the activities of rebels crossing the borders. “Afghanistan and Pakistan must achieve cooperation in order to be able to address threats to their residents and the stability of the whole region,” Paet said.

Paet said that development aid for Afghanistan would have to continue for years to come. He argued that the civilian component is extremely important in helping the society reach the point where Afghans can manage their country on their own and do not rely as heavily on donor help. “Currently Estonia is tied primarily to health care, education, and promoting good administrative practice in Afghanistan,” Paet said.

Estonia has also sent police officers to both the EU Police Mission EUPOL as well as the NATO Training Mission. “We [also] plan to send experts to the police mission soon,” Paet said. "Our health care expert will continue to work on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand Province and our special mission will remain in Kabul," he said.


Erkki Sivonen


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