By Robin Gomes
The United Nations is garnering support from the international community to help realize the yearning of the Afghan people for peace and security through development in a country laid waste by nearly 4 decades of war and strife.
Development, peace, security
A high-level 2-day international conference on Afghanistan that concluded at the UN in Geneva on Wednesday, is meant to show solidarity for the war-torn country’s people and help strengthen government efforts to promote development, along with wider peace and security.
Speaking to journalists at the start of the Nov. 27-28 Geneva conference on Afghanistan, senior UN official Toby Lanzer, Deputy Special Representative for the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said that everyone he had met wanted a solution to stop the violence.
“2019 will mark the 40th anniversary – four decades of instability - in Afghanistan,” Lanzer said. “For the vast majority of the country, they have grown up knowing conflict and nothing else, so there is a tremendous hunger for peace.” “I have only met people in Afghanistan who want the violence to end so the United Nations will be doing what it can and offering its support in that regard.”
“Our hearts go out to all Afghans who have been affected by conflict, trauma and suffering,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday in a video message to the Geneva conference. He hoped the event will be able to “generate further efforts to achieve the stability for which Afghans have yearned for so long.”
“As the international community, we must come together to enable the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process…and sustain that solidarity once a peace agreement has been reached,” Guterres urged.
The conference is being attended by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, its Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and numerous foreign ministers, including from Russia, Turkey and the European Union.
The meeting noted that progress has been made but said more is needed, especially in areas of security, anti-corruption and the push to launch peace talks with the Taliban. The conference is also taking stock of the Afghan government's use of billions of dollars in foreign aid for education, health care, humanitarian support and needs since 2016.