Kabul Conference: Karzai calls for Afghan control by 2014
The Kabul Conference’s final communiqué essentially puts an international stamp of approval on the Karzai government’s existing plans to have foreign troops out by 2014.
(Page 2 of 2)
How big was this conference?
Afghanistan and its international backers used words like “historic” and “landmark,” to describe the conference, which organizers said was the first major conference in Kabul since the 1970s. Meanwhile, security was provided by a near total lockdown of the central parts of Kabul.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Both Monday and Tuesday were declared holidays and temporary checkpoints and blockades around the city shut off a number of normally busy thoroughfares in a perimeter around the Foreign Ministry, where the conference was held. The Kabul airport was closed for civilian flights on both days.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the NATO-led umbrella for the war effort here, said a number of Taliban members planning to attack the conference were killed or captured on Monday night.
Tight security appeared to prevent a repeat of the attempted Taliban attack on the country’s “peace jirga” in early June, when a rocket landed near the tent where Afghan delegates had gathered to discuss ways to reach out to insurgents during Karzai’s opening address.
Enter Iran and a complicated dance
This time, the only fireworks at the conference were perhaps provided by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, who blamed international forces here and “elements” in Afghanistan and Pakistan for training the Sunni militants who carried out an attack last week on a mosque in Zahedan, near the Afghan border, which killed 30 people.
Last week, Clinton condemned the attack as terrorism. Mr. Mottaki's presence at the conference was a reminder of the complex diplomatic dance that will be required to see a negotiated end to the war.
Iran and the US regularly trade bellicose rhetoric over the country’s nuclear program, and US and Afghan officials have alleged that the country has occasionally supported Taliban fighters here.
Pakistan’s lawless border regions with Afghanistan continue to be a resupply haven for Taliban fighters, and both US and Afghan officials say that the intelligence services in the US ally continue to provide support to the Taliban and allied groups like the Haqqani network.
Iran, like the US, has also been flexing its soft power here, contributing to building projects and extending commercial links, particularly in cities like Herat in Afghanistan’s west. And so has India, another close US ally but longtime enemy of Pakistan. India financed the construction of a highway last year that links the Afghan province of Nimroz to an Iranian port, in an effort to reduce Afghanistan’s reliance on the Pakistani port of Karachi.
More on Afghanistan:
- The other, powerful Karzai boss in Afghanistan
- What Kandahar residents say about the Afghanistan war: It's complicated
- Afghanistan news coverage