European Conference “Afghanistan after 2014”
Discussing the past, a glance to the future perspectives
On 14 December 2013, representatives of more than a 130 cultural, social and political organizations from Afghanistan, Germany, Holland, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the United States and Afghanistan gathered in an international conference about Afghanistan held in the DFD Hall in the city of The Hague. This conference discussed the developments since the fall of Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the existing perspectives and threats in the economic, social, judicial and security area that may arise in the aftermath of the 2014 planned withdrawal of the majority of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
The conference was inaugurated by the Chairperson of the Federation of Afghan Refugee Organizations in Europe, who, prior to her opening speech, observed a minute of silence to mourn the deaths of tens of thousands of political detainees killed by the communist and other groups governing Afghanistan during the past three-and-a-half decades. Special attention was paid to the deaths of 5000 political prisoners during 1978-1979 named in the list of deaths published recently by the Attorney-General of the Netherlands.
After summing up the situation in Afghanistan, the Chairperson spoke about FAROE’s activities from the 2011 FAROE conference in Bonn to the 2013 conference “Afghanistan after 2014”, in particular emphasizing that Afghanistan had experienced a certain level of reconstruction and social development in some areas in the past 12 years. These developments remained, however, on the surface and did not meet the fundamental needs of the people of Afghanistan. The fact that the Afghan government and its allies prioritized their own interests over those of the people of Afghanistan had resulted to this situation.
Other speakers of the conference discussed the current political, economic and social situation of Afghanistan, the urgent need for transitional justice and the perspectives in these areas after 2014. Subsequently, the representative of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) explained the activities and viewpoints of the SCA in current and future years in Afghanistan.
Participants debated in four separate workshops the economic, security, women and transitional justice situation in Afghanistan. They explored the actual information they had about the situation in Afghanistan in order to make the debate as relevant to the existing situation on the ground. Finally in plenary session, participants discussed the results of the workshops and approved the following resolution, comprising nine sections, with overwhelming majority.
Resolution “Afghanistan after 2014”
The participants of the “Afghanistan after 2014” Conference,
Reaffirming its previous resolutions on Afghanistan,
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan,
Stressing the fact that Afghanistan continues to face significant challenges in its reconstruction process and that basic human rights and needs of its people still have not been met,
Deeply concerned by the fact that war criminals and human rights abusers still dominate the legislative, executive and judiciary powers of the State of Afghanistan, and that the refection of this bitter reality is more obvious in the provincial and district levels,
Convinced that the existence of a small number of tolerated technocrats does not change the nature of those institutions,
Bearing in mind that the withdrawal of foreign troops will be completed in 2024 if not in 2014,
1. Recommends self-sufficiency while the proud nation plans its future;
2. Encourages to bring the current multi-dimensional dependency of Afghanistan on foreign aid to a gradual end;
3. Strongly believes in the capacity of the Afghan people to function as a powerful engine in pushing forward the constructive developments, and in preventing the unwanted tendencies and developments, may they occur in the aftermath of 2014 withdrawal of foreign combat troops;
4. Reaffirms the great responsibility of the young generation of Afghanistan in this regard, consisting of more than 60 to 70% of the population of Afghanistan;
5. Further reaffirms that the talented young generation can, under the guidance of its educated and highly qualified members and exploring its scientific, management and technological capacities, change the process ahead to a systematic and modern progressive process;
6. Calls upon Afghan intellectuals and professionals abroad to establish connection channels with this generation for the exchange of knowledge and experience on professional and other matters concerning our national interests.
Reaffirming that security is the basic need of the Afghan people,
1. Stresses that the culture of impunity and extreme fraud in security and judicial departments form the internal basis for insecurity;
2. Stresses also that the external reason behind the insecurity of Afghanistan is the proxy war organized by the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) using the Taliban against the people of Afghanistan and against international peace and security;
3. Deeply regrets that one of the causes of the continuation of war is the decline in trust of the people in the government of Afghanistan;
4. Strongly condemns the possible role of double game policies of different foreign intelligence agencies in the region in this regard;
5. Expresses its grief that the majority of the victims of war belong to Afghan youth and reaffirms that by rejecting their participation in the proxy war, youth can contribute in the peaceful removal of insecurity in Afghanistan.
Reaffirming the close interrelation between law enforcement, social peace and transitional justice,
Reaffirming also that the reluctance in the application of transitional justice has led to the current culture of impunity for powerful members of society and that this culture of impunity has given criminals of all sorts, including war criminals, a free hand to continue terrorizing society, break its laws, norms and values and plunder private and public properties,
Stressing that unpunished war criminals are founders and leaders of all mafia groups in the country,
Stressing also that the application of transitional justice will lead to the draught of the roots of the existing mafia groups and in addition to this will gave different parts of the Afghan society the possibility to close the bloody pages of the past three and half decades in a manner acceptable to all groups in the society,
1. Deeply regrets that the Afghan government and its international supporters are engaged in some sort of collaboration with warlords and war criminals;
2. Strongly condemns that, as a consequence, the Afghan government is therefore not ready to give a green light to the publication of the 800-page rapport written by commissioners and officers of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and is reluctant to accept responsibility for bringing the perpetrators of war crimes and human rights abuses to justice;
3. Affirms that only a strong movement of justice-seekers can force the government and its allies to take serious steps towards application of transitional justice;
4. Emphasizes that the lists of more than 5000 political prisoners killed in 1978-1979 by the communist regime, published recently by the office of the Attorney-General of The Netherlands, are a strong document for victims living within the European Union;
5. Calls upon Afghan communities in all Member States of the European Union to ask the authorities of their host countries to recognize the killings of these 5000 political detainees as a crime against humanity, and to bring the criminals residing in the Member States of the European Union to justice.
Mindful of the fact that Afghan farmers across Afghanistan have criticized the small projects of the “National Solidarity Program” as being applied in the absence of economic infrastructure and that they requested the international community to pay serious attention to the infrastructures of the economy,
Acknowledging the vast efforts and investments of the international community in rebuilding roads, bridges and infrastructure for the distribution of electricity,
Mindful however that agriculture, as the main traditional source of income-generation, has received little attention,
1. Recognizes that the current economic system in Afghanistan is based on the neoliberal thoughts and that application of these thoughts in Afghanistan has brought the national economy on the eve of collapse, without consideration to the fact that economic thoughts and methods have to be applied in a creative manner in Afghanistan;
2. Urges that the way out of this deadlock is the application of a National Strategic Plan based on relative self sufficiency, multiple products economy, basic necessities, stimulation of the production of tax-free export articles, plans for stimulation of industries and prevention of transfer of surplus value abroad.
Deeply concerned that foreign embassies of some countries based in Kabul have unlimited freedom in hiring spies and bribing media for creating internal conflict among different ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan,
1. Calls upon the duty of Afghans inside and outside Afghanistan to neutralize these plans by remaining loyal to the national unity of all Afghans;
2. Reaffirms that media inside and outside Afghanistan have a moral responsibility to observe and stimulate national unity in their broadcasts and should be held to the highest professional standards of journalism and ethics.
Alarmed by the fact that reforms introduced in the last 12 years to improve the situation of women have had little viable results due to the lack of a comprehensive national educational program for changing the mentality of the people over the role and rights of women, as well as the absence of a national plan for supporting the economic independence of women,
1. Recommends the following additional points to provide women with legal, social and physical security:
(a) Incorporating legislation of international treaties on women, including CEDAW, in domestic law;
(b) Reinforcing the ‘Law on violence against women’;
(c) Encouraging more public awareness by media and civil society and providing basic information on the rights of women;
(d) Encouraging Afghan Women groups in Europe to play an active role in putting pressure on the governments of their host countries to condition their foreign aid to the government of Afghanistan on taking real steps towards the improvement of the status of women.
Reaffirming that the existence of a young generation as the absolute majority of the population has given Afghanistan the privilege of having a young population consisting of men and women enjoying modern education, professional capacities, motivation and energy,
Reaffirming further that the youth are the saviors of the favorable values and achievements of Afghanistan,
Hopeful that the Afghan people and its young generation have the capacity to overcome the challenges ahead,
Underlining the awareness of the young generation that it owes its existence to the people and their common interests and that seeking a solution for the challenges this generation is faced with is a priority for the people of Afghanistan,
Mindful of the fact that chronic unemployment among the youth is caused by the lack of governmental plans to generate work for them and the reluctance of the international community in financing big infrastructural projects,
Deeply concerned by the repercussions of unemployment, which has forced a small part of the youth to use drugs, join the armed opposition or leave the country,
Recommends urgent attention to this situation.
Deeply regrets that more than one thousand historical monuments and landmarks are exposed to destruction, as recently confirmed to foreign donors by the Minister of Information and Culture,
1. Affirms the role and responsibility of the Government of Afghanistan to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the country and to manage the security and renovation of the priceless historical monuments and landmarks;
2. Urges the Government to set priorities, make an achievable plan and start implementing the plan as soon as possible.
Noting the great achievement that millions of Afghan children again have the opportunity, after 12 years, to go to school,
Recognizing that more and sustained efforts are needed in this regard, particularly in view of the 5 million children who are still deprived from education, including thousands of street children who became victims of abuse, including sexual abuse and abuse by drugs mafia groups,
1. Takes note of the fact that basic reform of the human rights situation of children can take years, provided that a balanced national development plan pays sufficient attention to children;
2. Expresses its appreciation to those who have made donations to orphanages in Afghanistan;
3. Calls upon the Afghan diaspora to make donations to orphanages in Afghanistan, which will contribute to other efforts for short-term solutions.
Approved by the participants of the
“Afghanistan after 2014” Conference
The Hague, The Netherlands, 14 December 2013.