Regional role in Afghan transformation, opportunities and challenges highlighted at Herat Conference

25 Oct 2012

Regional role in Afghan transformation, opportunities and challenges highlighted at Herat Conference

HERAT - The role of regional countries in contributing to peace and stability in Afghanistan post-2014, the transition process and the upcoming elections were the key areas discussed during a two-day international conference in Herat jointly organized by the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) and the Delhi Policy Group (DPG).

The conference, held between 18-22 October, brought together foreign diplomats, the United Nations, international and civil society organizations, as well as government and other officials in a wide range of panel discussions that focused on challenges and opportunities for Afghanistan and the region moving forward into the Transformation decade post-2014.

“This was the second round of our conferences on peace and stabilization in Afghanistan. We think that as 2014 approaches the region must commit to contributing to peace and stabilization in Afghanistan. That would make for a better transition and also contribute substance for the Transformation decade,” said Dr Radha Kumar of the Delhi Policy Group (DPG).

Civil society representatives and legislators highlighted that the 2014 Afghan election would be key to a successful and stable future for the country. The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom also highlighted the elections and reiterated that the UN was ready to support the electoral process.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of elections that yield a credible result for Afghanistan,” Mr. Haysom told the delegates. He said the UN would engage in all inclusive consultations to ensure elections are held with transparency and integrity.

Several panel members in the focus groups emphasized the determination of Afghans to build a better future for the younger generation and to improve regional relationships, however they also acknowledged that the country had become a battleground for competing interest groups.

“Afghanistan has become a battlefield for conflicting interests and powers and has also become a black security hole for the international community,” said Dr Moradian, a university scholar representing the newly formed Afghan think-tank AISS.

“The purpose of this conference is to present Afghanistan as an investment opportunity, as a bridge, as an integrator, as a connector. The new Afghan generation has found its destiny, the destiny of a peaceful nation.”

Herat Governor Dr. Daoud Saba said it was a great honour that the city had hosted the conference, adding also that it was a positive sign particularly for the younger generation.

“I think that what has been discussed here is an inspiration for our youth about the future of our country,”