The sum of 20 billion dollars was planned at the London Conference for the next five years. The fourth part of this money is a responsibility of Washington. In the future, this money must go directly to the coffers of the government of Afghanistan. Therefore, we expect the money to be better used. Up to now, the money was for NGOs and the Afghans and international experts are right when they say it is mainly in the hands of the so called advisers and not used in projects. Anyway, nothing guarantees the promised money has been given.
One of the challenges is the security of the country: the Afghan security forces are not ready yet to control the Talibans which get stronger every day. The United States expects to reduce its troops and even is NATO increases its troops to 6 000 soldiers –half of them British- the current situation won’t change much. As usual in the history of the country, the power of the central government is restricted to Kabul. Outside Kabul, it depends on the alliances established with the local “Lords of the War”.
These local chiefs live thanks to another element the London Conference did no dare to discussed: the cultivation, fabrication and marketing of drugs. It’s true Kabul agreed to fight the opium trafficking but Afghanistan is the world largest producer of drugs and nothing will change as long as the cultivation of the poppy plant is more profitable than that of cereals and tomatoes. Everybody benefits –from the Talibans to the Lords of War- and nobody will give this financial manna up. NATO does not have the means to prevent the cultivation of the poppy plant, a problem that is still unsolved. On the Talibans’ side, this makes the opposition to the government of Hamid Karzai stronger whereas the West does not have a valid alternative to offer.
Despite these problems, some almost insoluble, something should be done and Afghanistan should not be abandoned in London. After decades of tyranny and war, this country can not be turned into a modern and healthy democracy in only five years. The failures of the last five years should not encourage us to leave. We must persist in Afghanistan even when, at first, getting this country out of the difficult situation it has may seem an interminable operation.

Deutsche Welle (Germany)

«Geld allein wird Afghanistan nicht helfen», by Peter Phillip Deutsche Welle, February 1st, 2006.