Afghanistan – nothing gained?

Die Frieden ist noch unsicher
Peace is still volatile

Last NATO troops leave Afghanistan these days. Afghanistan is facing a big step and a huge challenge. The last foreign troops will leave the country by the end of this year. They will hand over responsibility to the Afghan forces. The official ceremony took place today.
ISAF commander Campbell reminded of those  3300 soldiers who lost their lives in the past 13 years in which NATO forces supported Afghan troops. Some say, it was an important task, some say, nothing was gained in those years.

Spending a week in the country end of October and talking to many people I know that many Afghans feel progress. They take pride in having had free elections and now having a new President, Ashraf Ghani. They have trust in a positive development.

Expats have come back to Kabul, bringing with them experience, knowledge and contacts from other countries. What a great potential!
The Afghan population is young – more than half of them under 20 years old – what a potential!
Structures have been set up in the past years, security forces, police, military – quite a different state from when NATO troops came in 2001.
There is a lot of good potential for further improvement without foreign forces. A lot will depend on how well the Afghan President Ghani will get his work done, and how much the international community will give well coordinated support in very basic fields, such as education – reading and writing, and setting up schools for girls, boys and adults! One out of three Afghans cannot read or write.

There are hopes and chances for improving the lives of 30 million Afghans who have been shaken by civil war already 30 years. Something has been gained. But it needs futher efforts not to loose it again: 13 000 trainers and advisors will come for another 2 years.

More pictures:

Street scene in Kabul

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